The crazy cold weather/snow last month here in Texas has left my bamboo almost entirely yellow and three large woody shrubs/trees in my side yard looking bleak. Is there any hope for either? Should I cut back the woody plants?

Photos can be found here: https://i.stack.imgur.com/zlpDh.jpg.

I am not sure what the woody plants are called. Thank you so much in advance.

2 Answers 2


Maybe ; I think the best one can do is wait and see what comes back and what is dead. It seems to be rather unpredictable ; I have 5 gardenias , 1 shows green when the bark is cut ,the other 4 are brown ( dead ). Most azalea and camellia bushes are alive with some dead branches . However , I have a few of each that appear dead. My running bamboo weeds have come back strongly from roots. Trees seem good, redbuds are blooming . I have some unusual California live oaks that dropped all their leaves while the TX live oaks did not.


Your trees look like they got frozen with their leaves still on them. They are probably dead, but it's worth looking more closely for signs of life.

Start by bending the smaller twigs. If a twig is brittle and snaps easily, that twig is dead. Check several twigs on the same branch; if they're all brittle, check the branch as well.

If a twig seems flexible and resists being bent, that twig might not be dead. You can also check for signs of life by cutting back the bark on a flexible twig. The outer layer of bark is always made of dead tissue, but on live branches the inner layer is made of live cells. Live inner bark is often green, and you may see signs of sap. Don't cut any more bark than you need to; ideally after checking one or two twigs in this way, you'll be able to recognize other live twigs without cutting their bark.

Once you know which branches are dead and which are alive, prune out the dead parts. Here's a link to a good pruning guide. If your tree has lost the main, central stem (or "leader"), you'll want to train a new leader, like so:

When a tree's leader is lost due to storm damage or disease, replace it by splinting an upper lateral on the highest scaffold to a vertical position. Prune all laterals immediately below the new leader. Use wood or flexible wire splints, removing them after one growing season. (source)

If all the branches are dead, it's probably not worth keeping the tree even if the trunk or roots are still alive. Sure, it might regrow, but it'll be several years before it gets as large as it was before the storm.

The above-ground portion of the bamboo looks pretty thoroughly dead. Trim it down to the ground. It might regrow from the roots. Or it might not. Time will tell.

Tip: dead bamboo stems make great garden stakes.

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