Friday, March 1, 2024

Starting over in the garden after the freeze — what an opportunity!

By Liz Moyer

Our Denton County Master Gardener Association Help Desk has been flooded with questions about damaged shrubs. Shrubs were caught in a perfect storm this year with many Indian hawthorns reaching their life expectancy of about 20 years and the winter freeze in mid-February.

Here are some tips to help you give your landscaping a makeover:

Site Planning

Look at your landscape:

  • Provide an 18-24” gap between structures and shrubs for maintenance access
  • Look out the windows of your home and select plantings that give a pleasing view from inside
  • Strive for a sense of natural growth, plant in odd number groups or drifts
  • Plant a variety of shrubs in each drift to avoid disease problems and provide biodiversity.

Shrub Species Selection

Now for the fun part, selecting your new shrubs. These are all native or adapted and will do well, no matter the weather:

  • American Beautyberry, Callicarpa
  • Coralberry, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
  • Flame Acanthus, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii
  • Pavonia (Rock Rose), Pavonia lasiopetala
  • Texas Sage (Cenizo), Leucophyllum frutescens
  • Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis
  • American Elderberry, Sambucus Canadensis
  • Agarito, Berberis trifoliolata
  • Rough-leaf Dogwood, Cornus drummondii
  • Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria
  • Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii
  • Texas Mountain Laurel, Sophora secundiflora
  • Shrub alternatives: a large bunch grass with a boulder or a long, low trellis or a vine like coral honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirensor Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempervirens
  • Oak-leaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia
  • Dwarf Pomegranate, Punica granatum var. nana
  • Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis

There are many websites with more lists of native and adapted plants:

Native Shrubs for Denton County by the Trinity Forks Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas:

The AgriLife EarthKind Plant Selector:

“Outstanding Shrubs for Texas”, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension:

“Texas Superstar Plants” Texas AgriLife Research:

“Top 100 Plants for North Texas” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension:

Check your choices against the list at

Happy Gardening!

Liz Moyer is a Flower Mound resident and volunteer at the Denton County Master Gardener Association and Native Plant Society of Texas.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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