Gardening This Weekend: February 1, 2018
As I sat down to write out my list, I was amazed at how much there is to get done right now. Here are this week’s prime tasks.
• Bare-rooted and balled-and-burlapped shade and fruit trees immediately.
• Finish transplanting established trees and shrubs that need to be relocated. This must be done before they start leafing out in the spring, and it will be amazing how quickly that can start to transpire.
• Onions in North Texas as soon as you can. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and Irish potatoes in southern half of the state.
• Cold-tolerant annuals such as larkspurs, sweet alyssum, English daisies, wallflowers, ornamental Swiss chard, stocks and others.
• Peach and plum trees to remove strongly vertical shoots and encourage spreading habit. Do it soon. They are among the first plants to bud out and start growing.
• Grapes to remove 80 percent or more of cane growth.
• Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) by half to keep plants from becoming lanky and unattractive. Do so soon. They start growing, blooming early.
• Evergreen shrubs as needed to reshape. If you’re having to prune them repeatedly, consider replacing them with something more compact.
• Bush roses by 50 percent, with each cut made just above a bud facing out from the center of the plant. Remove plants afflicted with rose rosette virus.
• Roses-of-Sharon, crape myrtles, trumpetcreepers and other woody, summer-blooming plants as needed to shape. Never “top” a crape myrtle for any reason. It is never a good idea.
• Asparagus with all-nitrogen fertilizer. In this one case, ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) is good.
• Cool-season grasses (rye and fescue) to promote vigorous growth in warming spells of late winter. Use high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen food, with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form.
• Winter annuals with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage vigorous growth, blooms.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Broadleafed (non-grassy) weeds can be treated with appropriate broadleafed herbicide. Read and follow label directions carefully.
• Horticultural (dormant) oil spray to reduce populations of scales and overwintering insects.
• Have frost cloth handy to cover annual flowers and vegetables, also flowering shrubs should freezing weather return. If it’s still in place from prior cold snaps, leave it there another week or two. It’s not hurting anything.