HOUSTON Some local homeowners have plants that appear to be dead and gone thanks to the last cold snap. However, landscaping experts said chances are the plants are still alive and well.

You can kind of spread the middle out and see some green down in there, said Carnahan Landscaping expert Scott Dodez.

He said the easiest way to tell if a plant is alive is to look for green.

Down in the plant, you ll start to see some green leaves coming out in the middle, he said as he examined a small bush in a backyard in The Woodlands. The upper part of this plant is toast.

Dodez and other landscapers said you can scrape a plant s stem with your thumb and if there is green showing underneath the bark, the plant is alive. Landscape experts said do not cut away any part of the plant until early Spring, about the first week of March. Dodez said as an added bonus, the dead foliage around a plant will act as an insulator against the next cold weather blast.

The ugly appearance of the freeze damaged plants is something that does not bother homeowner Ed Rosenquist.

No, I lived up north and it looks a lot worse this time of year, he said.

As for sprinklers systems, some broke even though the pipes were wrapped said Carnahan Landscaping marketing director Mike Carnahan.

What the cold weather got to was the metal pieces. It froze those metal pieces and it cracked the ball valve inside right there, Dodez said.

The good news is, Dodez said, is that the sprinkler system fix is easy because the broken part comes as one piece, but a professional has to install it. All told, the cost would be $250 to $300, he said.

In addition, to wrapping sprinkler system pipes, homeowners also need to make sure to cover the metal pieces and plastic top, Dodez said. A dish towel works nicely, he said.

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