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Domestic Violence and Abuse

Freeze Damage Part 5-Cacti and Succulents


– Here we have a
typical Las Cruces cactus, the prickly pear. I am going to step in here. This is typically what
happened after the freeze, the whole cactus collapsed. Right after the freeze,
this thing was green, and people thought it was alive. The reason for that is
because it was frozen. But now that it’s all
thawed out, they collapsed. They have no woody
tissue to hold them up. They just dropped right down. So this will all
have to be removed. Now, whether there’s any green
living tissue underneath, I’m not going to dig
in there right now. There’s too many spines. But there might be some
green living tissue possibly, but possibly not. I’m thinking this species
comes from Zacatecas, Mexico. There is probably no
living tissue left to it. There are native cactus
prickly pears from this area or from farther north. They do just fine
through the winter. But some of these really
beautiful ones that we like to have, they’re gone. Here we are standing in what
was once a beautiful cactus garden in Las Cruces. Now I’m surrounded by
a lot of dead cactus. So what are we doing? How do we know whether
they’re alive or dead? If you could smell,
if had Smell-O-Vision, you could smell
what I’m smelling. Smells like rotten potatoes. There’s still a lot
of dead cactus here. This at one time was a
beautiful Argentinean saguaro. And it has died to the ground. The freeze was just
much too intense at 5 below for it to survive. However, we do have one I’m
going to show you over here in a little bit
that did survive, and we’re very
fortunate to have that. Also, there were a lot
of aloes throughout here. A lot of them took
a real bad hit, and they froze to the ground. But here we have some
flowers actually, and we have aloes poking
through the dead foliage. Let me move through here. We have Mexican grass
tree coming back. Here, we have some aloes
that are obviously dead. If you can pull them out
of the ground like this, you can see they’re all rotten. Here’s another one. The roots are all rotten. Underneath, there’s no
signs of it recovering. Now, look over here. We see this aloe, much bigger. There’s actually some new growth
coming back, some flowers. This variety will recover. Here’s another one. Obviously, new
growth coming back. The trick with keeping
these alive at this point is to keep them dry. Don’t water them very
much, very little. Get rid of all this
rotting tissue. Get it out of here. Clean this away. Get rid of these dead leaves. You don’t want any
of that, because they keep it all nice and dry. The dead cactus, remove
them, because they’re a hazard for stepping on. Again, the smell is pretty
intense of rotting potatoes, same as rotting cactus. Let’s move over here. We have a Hetchtia, which
is a Texas false agave in the bromeliad family. That’s a pineapple
family as well. It made it through. So what made it through and what
died is kind of a hit and miss. Here we have a number
of different things. We have a native cholla. No problem, it’s
getting ready to flower. Native sotol, absolutely
no problem growing. We have here a Queen
Victoria agave. It made it through
the cold just fine. It’s unusual. I’ve seen a lot of them really
actually take a lot less cold and be damaged. 5 below 0, this one did
just absolutely fine. Nice bit of color here
of things that came back, a South African ruschia. That will grow all the
way up into Santa Fe. Look at this. It’s blooming. It came back,
absolutely no problem. A lot of people think that’s
ice plant, but it’s not. It’s actually a low-growing,
flat-growing shrub. It goes right on the ground. If you look just
right underneath it, here we have a partridge
aloe, partridge breast aloe coming right back. And I want to point
out over here– get back here in
all this thorns, use my pruning shears to point. This here was a
silver torch cactus. Look at that. This whole top is
pretty crunchy– pretty crunchy. This is a blackfoot
daisy, a native plant, doing just fine, but way
down underneath this– you clip this off a little
bit here, this is dead. But however, underneath
here, there’s a bit of it that survived. This plant will grow back. So you’ll have this beautiful
silver torch coming up. It will get about 8
feet tall eventually. We’ll get rid of
all this dead stuff here and allow room for
this new one to come back. 4 feet away, we saw cactus,
the Argentinean saguaro that did not survive the cold. But here we have one. It looks like it’s about
7 and 1/2 feet tall. It survived the cold,
the 5 below freezing. It’s doing really well. We were very concerned about it. Right after the freeze, it
seemed to have lost color. It looked like it may have died. But now 2 and 1/2
months later, it’s strong and growing healthy. When you know you’re
going to have a freeze, and it’s going to
be really cold, one of the things that
you can do with a cactus is you can cover them. But you need to cover them
with a blanket or with a tarp. You don’t want to cover
them with plastic. Plastic does not stop the cold. It’s not good for it. Another thing you can do is
take the old-fashioned Christmas lights, not the LED lights. LEDs don’t put out heat. But light bulbs,
old-fashioned light bulbs wrapped around the cactus
will provide some heat energy for the cactus to keep
it just above freezing. Here we have another cactus,
America’s most beloved cactus, the most popular cactus
in the United States, the golden barrel cactus. And these can be easily
found in most stores. This is a very large one. They don’t start blooming
till about 14 inches across. This one took a severe hit
in the freeze at 5 below. You can see there’s
massive damage on one side. On this side, there’s
still green on the top here, massive damage. Whether it’s going to recover
and live is anybody’s guess. All you can do is
wait, wait and see. Keep it dry. Cactus are much
smaller than this on the barrel, the golden
barrel, froze flat out. They did not survive,
totally gone. And this is a Trichocereus here. Trichocereus have become very
popular in the Las Cruces in the Southwest, mainly because
they have these incredibly beautiful flowers, and there
are some of them that survived and some of them died. It’s all a matter of genetics,
what they were hybridized with, or what their species were. So some survived. Some didn’t. But I’m not seeing any
real good green growth. However, if I push this back
way down deep under here protected by all
this dead stuff, a tiny little piece of green. There’s a little tiny
piece of it that survived. So if you remove all this,
and if you’re careful, that little piece
will grow back. This was a beautiful
orange-flowering cactus, absolutely gorgeous. Back here, we have one of the
typical agaves that froze. You can see the center bud
was actually protected. It’s still being
held tightly shut. What we need to do
is go back in here, open this up so it
can grow, pull off a lot of this dead tissue. So that center bud can
be exposed to the air and stay dry, and regrow,
and come back out, and get rid of all
that dead tissue. Cactus are beautiful. The big problem
is all the spines. You got to be careful. You need to wear gloves when
you’re going through this. Even the agaves, these
tips are all really sharp. They’re beautiful architectural
forms, but they are sharp, and there’s no reason to not
want to grow them in your yard, because they’re sharp, because
they’re really quite beautiful. So let’s move around here and
take a look at this other side.

Cesar Sullivan

10 thoughts on “Freeze Damage Part 5-Cacti and Succulents

  1. He was saying -5 F, another idea is an edison style light bulb under a heat resistant blanket since 60% of the energy of the bulb is heat.

  2. February 2nd , 2011 had record cold temperatures in Las Cruces , New Mexico, where this was filmed. It was as cold as -5 f, which is minus five Fahrenheit, which is the same as five below zero Fahrenheit, which is equal to -22.55 C , which is minus twenty two Celsius. The wind chill factor was much colder, about minus twenty five Fahrenheit. The temperature in some parts of the area were as low as minus ten Fahrenheit. ~ Iā€™m very surprised that many of these plants survived.

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