How to handle plants damaged during Tucson's cold spell

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucsonans are enjoying much warmer temperatures this week, but if you look around your yard, it's easy to see just how cold it got last week.

"A lot of trees and other vegetation took a hit," said Peter Warren from Urban Horticulture from Pima County.

The cold weather from last week not only caused people to lose gas. It also caused damage to many people's plants. But don't panic, experts say time is on your side.

"I guess the biggest piece of advice is to don't over react and give it a little bit of time, because a lot of the plants that are damaged appear to be dead might actually come back," said Warren.

Peter Warren is the Urban Horticulture representative for Pima County. He says the damaged parts of those plants will provide cover if there's another freeze in the future.

"It's not too late to have another freeze or frost and so by leaving the plants alone right now, even that damaged material on the top will provide protection in case we get another hit," said Warren.

One huge concern for residents were their citrus plants. Warren has some tips to make sure your crop survives the cold temps.

"Cut back on the watering a little bit, don't fertilize, because with fertilizer it sometimes inspires new growth and that's the stuff that's going to get hit the hardest," said Warren.

If there's a situation where the leaves on the plant have fallen off, it's time to break out the paint brush.

"You might want to white wash the trunk and the big branches the scaffolding branches so that they don't suffer from sun burn, because that can cause cracks and disease get in through those cracks," said Warren.

Here's something to make those citrus plant owners smile.

"Next year we will probably have a bumper crop in response the plants usually respond in the year afterward come back with a bigger crop," said Warren.

Warren tells the last "frost date" in Tucson is March 15. If your plants haven't responded by then, it might be time to replace them or get help from a nursery or the Pima County horticulture department.