CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The big freeze affected the Coastal Bend more than two months ago, but people are still dealing with problems caused by it, especially with tropical plants.
The city has crews trimming palm trees of dead leaves in the downtown area, including along Ocean Drive. The project started April 1, and is expected to last through the end of the month. Lisa Oliver, the Interim Assistant Director with Parks & Recreation said 1,478 trees in the downtown area will be trimmed through the current project. The contractors working on the project already had a contract with the city to trim the palm trees, so the project will not cost the city any additional money this year.
“In working with the contractor, they were able to utilize that same service agreement, and begin the trimming of the palm trees sooner than expected, to be able to address the damage that we have,” Oliver said.
Trees that were trimmed at the beginning of the month already have started to grow back, but the expectation is for it to take up to six months for the trees to bloom similarly to where they were before the freeze.
“The trimming of the trees helps to regenerate the growth of the trees. So, they’re also evaluating the trees, if there are some that aren’t going to survive, we won’t know until after the initial six months,” Oliver said.
The palm trees on Ocean Dr. are a notable part of the Bayfront, and having them not in bloom is disappointing for some tourists who are visiting the area.
“It makes me feel sad, because we used to come here as kids and they used to be real pretty, they were green. They look sad, instead of happy,” said Vivika Vallego, who is visiting Corpus Christi from Littlefield with her family.
Samir Mazharuddin, who is visiting from Houston, had the same issue with his palm trees when the big freeze hit, and had to hire gardeners to trim to dead leaves off his tree.
“Of course they don’t look as good as if they were alive, and green, and in bloom,” he said about the trees on the Bayfront, “but I understand it takes some time for crews to come down and clean them all up. But, they definitely will have to for these palm trees to live.”
Vallego is hopeful the trees will return to their former glory after they are trimmed.
“I hope they go back to how they used to be, so we just have to keep faith,” she said.
Oliver too is hopeful the trees will bounce back from the freeze.
“The palm trees just add to the ambiance of our community, and what we’re known for. So, having the palm trees trimmed, and being able to assist in their growth after the freeze will be a benefit to residents and tourists alike, who like seeing the palm trees,” she said.