Timely Tips: February 2015
Plant: Fruit, pecan trees, berries and grape vines. Plant only varieties adapted to your county. Contact your county Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office for a list of the best types. (Tune in to Neil’s live program with TAMU fruit and pecan specialist Dr. George Ray McEachern this Sunday, Feb. 1, WBAP 820 AM or www.wbap.com). Complete all digging and transplanting of native and landscape trees, shrubs before new growth begins. Cool-season flowers and vegetables three to six weeks prior to last killing freeze date in your area. Summer- and fall-flowering perennials are divided this month.
Prune: Peach and plum trees to remove vertical limbs and maintain open bowl shapes. Grapevines to remove as much as 80 to 90 percent of cane growth. Maintain canes on permanent trellises or wires. Complete dormant-season pruning of shade trees, but do not “top” trees (crape myrtles included!). Evergreen shrubs, summer-flowering shrubs, as needed to shape. Retain natural form. Bush roses by half, always pruning just above buds facing away from the centers of the plants. Educate yourself as to what rose rosette virus damage looks like on roses, and should you see it, remove affected plants immediately, roots and all. Last chance to remove mistletoe-infested branches from trees. Shorten nandinas by removing as many as one-third to one-half of tallest canes completely to the ground. “Scalp” lawngrass late in month, if browned by winter freezes, by setting mower down one or two notches. Collect clippings and use in compost. Wear good-quality goggles, respirator.
Fertilize: High-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer weekly to pansies and other winter color. Liquid root stimulator monthly to new plants that were bare-rooted or balled-and-burlapped. Add complete-and-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to new cool-season annual flowers, vegetables. Cool-season grasses like fescue and rye mid-month with high-quality, all-nitrogen plant food. Wait to fertilize warm-season grasses.
On The Lookout: In answer to a very frequently asked question: Apply pre-emergent weedkiller granules Halts or Dimension late in month in South Texas to prevent crabgrass, grassburs. Applications farther north will come in March. Repeat 90 days later. Watch for another warm spell to apply broadleafed weedkiller spray (not weed-and-feed) to control henbit, dandelions, clover and other non-grassy weeds. Follow label directions closely. Treat scale insects on trunks, leaves of hollies, camellias, photinias, euonymus, shade and fruit trees (horticultural oil applied before growth begins).
If you like having this type of schedule near at hand, you need a copy of Neil’s new book. Chapter Two of Neil Sperry’s Lone Star Gardening devotes four pages per month, a total of 48 pages, to when to plant, prune, fertilize and spray all of your plants. Click for more information.