Gardening This Weekend: February 2, 2017

Like an old-fashioned locomotive, things are really picking up steam in gardening across Texas. Here are this week’s prime tasks.


• 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.
• Finish transplanting any established trees and shrubs that need to be relocated. This must be done before they start leafing out in the spring.
• Bare-rooted and balled-and-burlapped shade and fruit trees.


• Evergreen shrubs as needed to reshape. If you’re having to prune them repeatedly, consider replacing them with something more compact.
• Peach and plum trees to remove strongly vertical shoots and encourage spreading habit.
• Grapes to remove 80 percent or more of cane growth.
• Bush roses by 50 percent, with each cut made just above a bud facing out from the center of the plant.
• 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.
• Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) by half to keep plants from becoming lanky and unattractive.


• 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.
• Asparagus with all-nitrogen fertilizer. In this one case, ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) is good.


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• 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.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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