Gardening This Weekend: January 26, 2017
For a couple of months we’ve had a little slack in getting things done. The schedule is tightening up now, however. There are jobs that simply can’t wait more than a few days. Let’s take a look.
• Asparagus, English snap peas and onions as soon as possible in most of the state.
• Irish potatoes, cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) in South Texas. In North Texas plant in mid-February.
• Frost-hardy annual color in southern half of state, including ornamental Swiss chard, larkspur, stocks, sweet alyssum, Iceland poppies and others.
• Freeze-hardy annual color in northern half of state where hard freezes can still roll in, Pansies, pinks, snapdragons.
• Bare-rooted or balled-and-burlapped fruit trees, grapes and blackberries.
• Dig and transplant established native or landscape shrubs and trees that need to be moved. (See related story this issue.)
• Grapes to remove 80 to 85 percent of canes in effort to limit numbers of fruit and improve overall quality. Professional viticulturists follow some very precise techniques, but suffice to say that if you remove unwanted canes as you train your vines to grow on their supports the quality of your yield will be greatly improved.
• Peach and plum trees to outward-growing buds to encourage horizontal growth. Apples and pears to remove dead or damaged branches, also (with apples) to remove strongly vertical shoots called “water sprouts.” Figs only as needed to remove frozen tissues.
• Bush roses by half. Each cut should be made directly above a bud that faces away from the center of the plant. That encourages full, spreading growth. (Remove all rose bushes infected with Rose Rosette virus. This is especially a problem in the DFW area, and infected plants must be removed immediately, roots and all. The disease is fatal and leaving the old plant in place will only serve to spread it.
• Evergreen shrubs lightly as needed to shape. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible.
• Summer-flowering shrubs and vines to reshape, but remember that extensive pruning will lead to strong vegetative growth and fewer flowers.
• Do not ever “top” your crape myrtles. It’s a message I’ve carried for 45 years, and I’ve yet to see a justifiable reason.
• Asparagus beds with all-nitrogen fertilizer to promote vigorous new spears.
• Newly transplanted trees and shrubs with liquid root-stimulator monthly this year.
• Winter color plantings with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food each time that you water.
• Ryegrass and fescue plantings with all-nitrogen or high-nitrogen fertilizer, half or more in slow-release form.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Aphids on tender new growth, starting in South Texas during warm days. They can be vectors for plant viruses. Most insecticides will eliminate them, or you can wash them off the plants with a forceful stream of water.
• Scale insects on fruit and shade trees, hollies, camellias, euonymus and other plants. Apply horticultural oil (“dormant oil”) spray according to label directions. Your time for this treatment is quickly running out, especially in South Texas.
• Broadleafed weeds in any type of turf. Apply a broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D) according to label directions. Be patient. It may take a week for it to do its job.