Welcome to the website of the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners! This site is intended to provide up-to-date information on our organization including educational and gardening activities, volunteer opportunities in and around town, and the latest news of NWLAMG.
The mission of the Louisiana Master Gardener volunteer program is to support the LSU AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension Service by using research-based information to help educate the public on best management practices in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship.
We hope you will find our site provides you with resources, inspiration, and encouragement for your gardening projects.
Call the Master Gardener Hotline at 318-698-0010.
How do I become a Master Gardener?
For more information about Louisiana Master Gardeners and statewide programs you can go to
How to protect your plants in the cold weather coming to Louisiana.
Horticulturist, Dr. Kiki Fontenot of the LSU AgCenter.
December 16, 2020 ·
There are always questions about how to handle citrus trees during winter cold. Here is information those of you with citrus trees will find helpful. This freeze will not be cold enough to bother citrus trees - no need to harvest all of the fruit.
WHEN AND HOW TO PROTECT CITRUS FROM WINTER'S COLD
Louisiana has its coldest temperatures in January but freezes can begin as early as November and occur well into early March (sometimes later). Protection of citrus trees becomes important when severe freezes occur. It is difficult to pin point a "threshold" temperature at which it becomes necessary to protect citrus trees. The biggest difficulty in making such a determination is the difference between various types of citrus in their tolerance of cold.
Satsumas, for example, do not need protection until the temperatures approach 20 degrees F. Lemons, limes, and oranges generally need to be protected when the temperature dips below 26 degrees F. However, theses trees may be killed or damaged at these temperatures if they are not sufficiently hardened with enough pre-conditioning cold temperatures to halt their growth.
The length of time citrus trees are exposed to sub-freezing temperatures is also significant. Exposure to sub-freezing temperatures for more than 24 to 36 hours can be devastating. But, if the temperatures moderate to above freezing prior to this time, damage is usually light.
All ripe fruit should be harvested from trees prior to a significant freeze event. Temperatures cold enough to damage the tree will also ruin the fruit. It takes temperatures in the mid- to low 20s five to 10 hours to freeze the fruit.
Three factors which are basically involved in determining freeze susceptibility of citrus trees are:
1) The type and age of the citrus. Satsumas are the most cold hardy of the commonly grown citrus species in Louisiana. Kumquats follow with just a slight less amount of cold hardiness. In order from most cold hardy to least cold hardy: satsuma, kumquat, orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime.
A citrus tree increases in hardiness as it gets older. Trees with larger, denser canopies deal with the cold better as they trap more heat.
2) Threshold temperatures are approximately 20 degrees for satsumas and kumquats, and about 26 degrees for all other citrus.
3) The duration of the sub-freezing temperature is very significant. If the temperature is below freezing for 24 to 36 hours, damage can usually be expected.
Generally, when freeze injury occurs, damage is inflicted mostly to cell membranes by freezing and thawing. The least cold hardy tissues of citrus trees are new buds, flowers, and small fruit. The more cold hardy part of the tree is the mature wood of major branches and the trunk.
If a citrus tree is gradually exposed to cooler temperatures, a process called hardening occurs and trees become more tolerant to freezing temperatures. Citrus trees are evergreen and never become full dormant, but trees that are slightly dormant (pre-conditioned by gradual cold) are less likely to be damaged by cold. So, chilly but above freezing nights (30s and 40s) that occur during fall and early winter before major freezes make the trees more cold tolerant. Severe freezes taking place when only mild weather has occurred previously are more likely to cause significant damage.
The best way to lessen cold damage to citrus is to maintain healthy trees. Cultural practices that tend to induce and maintain dormancy in winter should be used. These methods include no late summer or fall fertilization or pruning. Vigorous trees may recover from cold injury. Weak trees that are showing disease, insect damage, or nutritional deficiencies are the ones most severely damaged and are the slowest to recover after freezes.
Seven steps are suggested to reduce freeze damage:
1) Clean cultivation under the canopy of a tree, mechanically or by herbicides, prior to winter is recommended. Grass, weeds, and straw mulches prevent heat from entering the soil during the day; therefore, less heat energy is stored in the soil under the tree for release at night.
2) For trees too large to cover, banking the lower trunks of trees with soil or using tree wraps of bubble wrap, foam rubber or Styrofoam will help prevent cold damage to the trunk. This must be done before the first killing freeze and can be left on through the winter. Trunks should be treated with a copper fungicide before wrapping or banking to prevent foot rot. Or, the coverings may be applied during freezes and removed during mild weather. Although tree tops may still be lost during freezes, a tree can recover if its trunk and root system are intact. Banking or wraps should be removed in the spring.
3) If the weather has been dry, several days in advance of a cold front the soil beneath citrus trees can be irrigated. Good soil moisture acts as a cold buffer, and trees that are drought stressed may experience more cold damage. This must be done well in advance of the freeze. If this is done at the time the front arrives, evaporation may occur and result in colder temperatures near the tree.
4) If pruning is needed, it should be done in spring to allow tree growth to mature before winter. Do not prune in the late summer or fall. Cuts should be made at branch crotches leaving no stubs. Prune to maintain a full, dense canopy. Trees need good leaf canopies to cut wind speed through the canopy and reduce the rate of cooling. Leaves radiate heat to each other. Outer leaves may be lost to a freeze, but complete loss of inner leaves is averted by a thick canopy.
5) Fertilizer should be applied to citrus trees in late January or early February. A complete fertilizer such as 8-8-8 at the rate of two pounds per year of tree age may be used. Stop increasing the rate when you reach 15 pounds. If using 13-13-13, the rate is one and one-half pounds of fertilizer per year of tree age. Stop increasing the rate when you reach 10 pounds. Spread the fertilizer around the edge of the branches in the area of the feeder roots. Apply a subsequent application of nitrogen when good soil moisture exists in June. Late summer or fall applications of fertilizer should be avoided as they can reduce the hardiness.
6) Oil sprays used to control insects and mites decrease cold tolerance and should not be used later than August 15.
7) To protect a single smaller tree, construct a simple frame over trees and encase the tree with one or two layers of translucent plastic. This is generally most practical for smaller trees. In southeast Louisiana, such an extreme practice would be needed only on a few severely cold nights.
Before covering, the tree could be generously draped and wrapped with small, outdoor incandescent Christmas lights to provide additional warmth and increase the level of protection. Incandescent Christmas lights will not damage the tree even if they come into contact with it.
The frame and cover can stay in place indefinitely, but will need to be vented. Air temperatures within should not be allowed to go above 85 degrees to 90 degrees F. Venting should be provided on sunny warm days to prevent overheating and to maintain a supply of fresh air.
Have you thought about becoming a Louisiana Master Gardener?
Now is the time to make your plans and apply for the next class of the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners held here in the Shreveport area. Deadline to return your application is November 20th.
Click on this link for the application.
NWLA Master Gardeners!
It is time to fill out your renewal form and send in your dues for the new year. You must send this in before the end of December to be included in the directory. Click here to go to the fillable form.
LSU AgCenter Covid 19 Recommendations
Mark A. Wilson
Assistant Extension Agent – Horticulture Specialist
Northwest Region recently sent this email to NWLA Master Gardeners
At the close of business today(Monday, March 16) LSU AgCenter will be closing all Offices AgCenter offices to visitors effective March 17, 2020, until further notice.
I am closing the horticulture office as part of this mandate. That being said I would strongly recommend you all as Master Gardeners do the same for your office. I will be changing the message on the answering machine to reflect the closing of the office.
Meetings Canceled most likely until April as the Randle T. Moore Center is closed through April, 2021.
As we process through the Covid 19 Pandemic, check back to see when events are returned to the calendar.
Do You Know Where Master Gardeners Volunteer?
Randle T. Moore Center is the home of the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners
2020 Superplants Announced by LSU AgCenter
A few of the Superplants
A catalog of the Louisiana Super Plants since 2010.
Each spring and fall the LSU AgCenter announces a new list of plants deemed worthy to be Louisiana Super Plants. These are reliable and beautiful plants selected for superior performance under Louisiana growing conditions. Click this link to see the list from the LSU AgCenter.
Plant of the Month
Plant of the Month for November-December
Proud Berry (Proven Winners) Coral Berry
Proud Berry® Coral BerrySymphoricarpos sp.
EXPOSUREPART SUN TO SUN
The optimum amount of sun or shade each plant needs to thrive: Full Sun (6+ hours), Part Sun (4-6 hours), Full Shade (up to 4 hours).
Summer and Fall
36 - 48"
36 - 48"
I recently saw this shrub in a garden and it was so beautiful with the pretty shade of pink berries. It is on my list for spring planting. Now is the time to start planning!
Wondering What is Wrong With Your Plant?
Thanks so much for coming!
The Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale was a great success, Saturday, April 3, 2021
For more pictures, click here
The Shreveport Rose Society suggests waiting to prune.
Wait to prune until after the freezing temps this next week. Come out to the American Rose Center for our pruning volunteer days which has been moved to the 19th and 20th.
Northwest Louisiana and East Texas were hard hit with the winter freeze in the middle of February 2021. So much damage was done to gardens that several sources have made suggestions on how to care for plants after the freeze and when to cut back.
LSU AgCenter horticulturist Heather Kirk-Ballard encourages everyone to hold off on pruning freeze-damaged plants in the landscape! View this short video on what to do about freeze damage and to determine if you plants might be okay.
Here are suggestions from Greg Grant, TAMU Agrilife Extension horticulturist.
Dealing with Freeze Damage on Plants
Greg Grant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
(February 27, 2021)
There is no way of currently knowing the extent of the damage or whether your plants will survive or not. It will take weeks or months to know, if or when, they start to resprout and what part of the plant resprouts.
1. Evergreen Woody Shrubs, Vines, and Groundcovers (Asian jasmine, azalaeas, camellias, confederate jasmine, eleagnus, fatsia, fig ivy, gardenias, Indian hawthorns, ligustrum, loquat, loropetalum, oleander, pittosporum, privet, roses, sasanquas, sweet olive, Texas sage, wax myrtle, etc.): Wait until they start to resprout from the existing stems or the ground, then cut away dead and leave what is alive and growing. There will most likely be no blooms this year and all old foliage will most likely fall off. Many of these plants are from milder parts of southern Asia and simply aren’t used to zero degrees. Most broadleaf evergreens prefer milder climates while narrow leafed evergreens and deciduous plants are more adapted to colder climates.
2. Palm Trees and Sago “Palms”: Many will be damaged or dead but do nothing but cut off the dead fronds for now. It will take months to see if they resprout. Historically the only palms reliably cold hardy here in northeast Texas and the only ones to survive zero degrees in the 1980s were Mexican/Texas sabal palms, Brazoria palms, dwarf palmettos, and a number of windmill palms. All others froze and died. Sagos aren’t true palms, are less cold hardy, and back then were only cold hardy from I-10 south.
3. Perennials: Cut away the dead mush (wait until April 1 if you can stand it) and wait till mid spring to see what comes up. Many perennials are cold hardy but many we grow in the South are more tender and tropical (confederate rose, Mexican heather, Mexican petunia, and lots more) and may not make it when the ground freezes.
4. St. Augustine and Centipede lawns: There will possibly be dead areas and freeze damage. Mow as normal but avoid pre-emergent herbicides which can damage injured grass. Do not fertilize until nights are warmer in mid-April and do not water until June, July, and August, once per week, one inch per application. Watering in the spring contributes to gray leaf spot and brown patch. Most folks water too often and cause their own problems.
5. Crapemyrtles: There will be different amounts of damage on different cultivars in different microclimates. Don’t do anything until they start to sprout then cut back to where new growth is occurring, even it’s at the ground. They will grow back vigorously. In the 1980s Lagerstroemia fauriei froze and died, ‘Natchez’ and many hybrids froze to the ground, and there were varying degrees of damage to most older indica cultivars.
6. Fruit trees: Most are cold hardy except citrus, pomegranates, olives, and figs which will have varying degrees of damage and death. Once again, do nothing for now and prune back to live growth when they sprout. Open flowers and fat buds on blueberries, peaches, and pears froze but the trees should be alive and sprout as normal. Unfortunately fruit production will be limited. I’d think blackberries will be fine.
7. If plants are green and not withered, they are most likely fine. It all has to do with their evolutionary and geographical genetics as to whether they can survive zero degrees. Bust just because they are brown doesn’t mean they are dead. It’s possible that the stems or roots may still be alive. Give them time.
8. Most deciduous plants will be fine although they may have lost their bloom buds. Spireas appear fine. Mophead and lace cap hydrangeas may have different degrees of damage. Once again, only prune away what is dead once they sprout. Oakleaf hydrangreas are probably fine.
9. Most conifers including pines and cedars will be fine although they may be damaged and broken from snow and ice. Saw off the broken branches close to the truck or nearest major branch wherever you can.
10. Bulbs (corms, rhizomes, etc.): Although the foliage has been damaged and many blooms lost on spring bulbs, most should survive with possibly reduced bloom next year due to less foliage this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if many heirlooms produced more foliage and bloomed almost normal next year. Note due to their geographic genetics, narcissus are the least hardy, jonquils more hardy, and daffodils the most hardy. Some daffodils may still bloom. However anything that already had buds won’t bloom this year. Tulips seem OK. Spider lilies (lycoris) and oxblood lilies lost their foliage but will be fine with possibly reduced bloom this fall. Cannas and Hymenocallis may have rhizome and bulb damage if the ground froze.
11. Live oaks: All foliage will be lost which would have been lost when the new foliage came out in spring anyway. There however many be varying degrees of damage including death like there was in Dallas during the 1980s when all the bark eventually popped off, but once again nothing you can do right now but take a cold tater and wait. Live oaks are coastal trees not used to zero degree weather. Friend Neil Sperry says they’ll be fine so we’ll all hope for the best!
12. Herbs: Many herbs like rosemary and lavender will be dead and will need to be replaced, certainly those in pots which are always less cold hardy than those in the ground. Some rosemary cultivars are more cold hardy than others but very few can survive zero degrees. Most herbs are Mediterranean and prefer mild winters and dry soils.
13. Pines: Pine in some areas have turned brown. This is mostly likely just freeze damage to the needles but the buds and stems should be fine. Our native pines along with all our other native plants have learned to survive periodic Arctic blasts. Note that nature made sure that short leaf pine occurred further north, loblolly pine with medium length needles occurred farther south, and longleaf pine occurred the most south. It’s all about holding up to ice and snow but all have always been cold hardy here for thousands of years.
14. Vegetables: Most were frozen and will need to be replanted including onions, potatoes and cool season greens. It’s still too early for tomatoes and peppers and I wish folks would quit putting them out for sale. Never plant them before March 15.
15. Native Plants and Wildflowers: Most are perfectly fine as they evolved to deal with periodic Arctic blasts and blue northers.
16. House plants (aloe vera, Christmas cactus, croton, diffenbachia, peace lily, philodendron, ponytail palm, sanseveria, etc.): If they were left out outside, they should be dead, even if covered. Count it as a minor miracle if not. These plants aren’t designed to withstand 32 degrees much less 0!
17. Succulents (Agaves, opuntia, manfredas, yuccas, sedums, etc.): Some of these guys are very tender and will be dead while others are more-cold hardy and will be fine. When it warms up and the mush dries, peel it away and see what comes back.
18. Tropicals (allamanda, bananas, bougainvillea, elephant ears, esperanza, mandevillea, purple fountain grass, tropical hibiscus, etc.: Cut away the dead mush and stems (wait until April 1 if you can stand it) and wait till mid spring to see what comes up. The general rule on tropicals is if the air freezes the tops die and if the ground freezes the whole plant dies. Those left outside in pots are probably dead and should be replaced in April/May when the nights warm up.
19. Bamboo: Most have at least top damage. Some, like timber bamboo are cold sensitive and will be dead; some types like golden bamboo and Green Goddess will most likely freeze to the ground and resprout, and a few like our native switch cane will be unscathed. All you can do is cut the frozen dead stems to the ground now and wait to see what comes up. You’ll know by early summer whether they are growing back or not.
20. Ornamental Grasses: With the exception of purple fountain grass, lemon grass, napier grass, and vetiver, most are cold hardy and will sprout back from the crown. Go ahead and cut them back to the crowns now and wait until early summer to see what comes back.
21. Genetics, provenance, and acclimation: Cold hardiness has much to do with the genetics and evolution of a species (Who’s your daddy and where are you from?); what part of the historic range the seed sourse was from (live oak seed from colder Virginia or live oak seed from warmer South Louisiana); and how warm it was and how actively the plant was growing before it froze (plants freeze much more easily when they are growing than when they are dormant). This explains why National Arboretum crapemyrtles never froze in Washington D.C. and more northern climates but have frozen numerous times in Texas over the years.
There is absolutely nothing you can do to speed up this freeze damage/healing process. Watering, pruning, or fertilizing won’t make it happen any quicker. Most work now is purely cosmetic. The solution is warm nights, warm days, and longer day lengths. Once the plants start to grow (or not), we will know the answer and what parts to cut away or which plants to replace. Some damage doesn’t show up for months and some plants that appear dead come back to life from the root system. Some plants with green stems like roses will show what’s dead even quicker and can be cut back sooner.
A great outside activity in March!
As Covid-19 persists, organizations and businesses are promoting activities and ideas about keeping gardening going.
Master Gardeners are to earn all of their hours as education hours if you can not complete your 20 volunteer hours. A total of 26 hours are required.
Mark Wilson, our LSUag Center agent has compiled a great list. Click here to see the list that is on the Educational Opportunities page.
You can check out the LSU AgCenter for past articles and videos if you want new ideas or how to correct garden problems.
Go to facebook and check out the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners site for information and you can also go to most universities' websites that have agriculture programs for more information.
Recently, I have been watching videos by the Tarrant Region Water District and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension where I watched a video of the facebook live of Gardening in the Gulf Coast. You can find these by checking on facebook for the great gardening programs.
Also, very short but informative are 10 minute Daily Dose of Hort by Dr. Gary Bachman, horticulturist/professor from MSU Extension Center (Mississippi) on facebook.
Become a friend of Allen Owings, Senior Horticulturist at Bracy's Nursery and horticulturist at Clegg's Nursery (Emeritus Professor at LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Stations and LSU Department of Horticulture) who keeps us all up to date on the gardening world!
One of my favorite past times is to watch Laura's videos on facebook or youtube, Garden Answer. She usually posts a new video each day.
I am sure that each of you have found many more sites to check into so have fun planning, planting and pruning!
Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners can record volunteer hours and education hours online at the LSU AgCenter website here. Click here.
Check the NWLA Master Gardeners' Calendar for interesting gardening activities taking place around North Louisiana!