Gardening for this Weekend — February 18, 2016

I was walking into a McKinney fast food restaurant with our 6-year-old grandson a couple of days ago. I showed him a bed of daylilies. In our area, they are listed as “dormant” types (die to the ground over the winter). These plants, however, look like mid-April. They’ve never died back at all. That’s outside DFW, and I know you have stories just about the same from your own part of Texas. Here are my suggestions of the most critical things you need to get done this weekend.

(Note: important information on pre-emergent dates is below!)

• Plant Irish potatoes immediately unless you’re along the Red River or in the Panhandle. (You may be too late in South Texas.)
• Ditto for planting cabbage and broccoli. Both of those mature fairly quickly. Brussels sprouts and cauliflower take longer and may be even more challenging than usual in most of the state.
• If trees and shrubs you wanted to dig and relocate have already started to leaf out, you’re probably too late for this year. If they haven’t, better get with it now!

Once a shade tree such as this ginkgo has started to bud out, it’s too late to dig and relocate it until next winter’s dormant season.

• Finish all dormant-season pruning of shade trees, fruit trees, grapes, evergreens, bush roses and summer-flowering trees and shrubs now. (Don’t top crape myrtles!) Do not prune climbing roses, spring-flowering shrubs and vines now. It would be better to hold off on pruning oaks until mid-July or later to lessen chance of spread of oak wilt.
• Scalp lawn if desired, to remove winter-killed stubble. Wear high-quality goggles and respirator – it’s a nasty job.
• Fertilize cool-season annual color with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food.

Sweet alyssum can be planted now, and established plantings should be fertilized at this time, too.

Sweet alyssum can be planted now, and established plantings should be fertilized at this time, too.

• Rye and fescue cool-season turf with all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of its nitrogen in slow-release form.
• Spray non-grassy weeds with broadleafed weedkiller containing 2,4-D.
And finally, the information everyone has been asking for! Application date is moved up by one week: apply pre-emergent weedkiller in South Texas now to prevent germination of grassburs, crabgrass. Your application time is about to run out. Wait one more week in North Texas. A cool-down is expected early next week. Repeat the application in 90 days for full season of control.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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