Gardening This Weekend: February 9, 2017
Parts of this week have been warm across Texas, and it looks like it may get warm (and wet) again. Time is quickly running out on the things you have to accomplish while plants are dormant. Let’s make a list.
• Cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower) from potted transplants.
• Irish potatoes from eyes. Cut “certified seed potatoes” from the nursery or feed store so that each piece has several eyes, or buds. Let the cut pieces air-dry for a couple of days before you plant them.
• Frost-tolerant annuals, including pinks, snaps, stocks, Iceland poppies, English daisies, larkspurs, sweet alyssum and others.
• Bare-root fruit and pecan trees, grape vines and bramble berries immediately.
• Finish all transplanting of established plants before buds start to break into new growth.
• Peach and plum trees before they come into bud and bloom (hopefully you’re not too late). Your goal is to remove strongly vertical shoots so you can encourage horizontal branching.
• Grape vines to remove up to 85 percent of their cane growth. That will result in fewer clusters, but of far greater quality.
• Much as you’ll want to, it’s best not to prune cold-damaged plants just yet. For some of them, only the leaves will have been hurt. If the stems are mush, or if they’re dried and shriveled, you can certainly prune to remove those. See related story this issue.
• Do NOT top crape myrtles. It ruins their natural growth forms forever. However, if they have branches that need to be removed entirely, this is the time to do so.
• Bush roses by 50 percent. Each cut should be just above a bud that faces outward from the center of the plant.
• Pansies, pinks, snapdragons and other cool-season annual flowers with a high-nitrogen food. Water-soluble types give quickest results.
• Ryegrass and fescue with high-quality lawn fertilizer. Wait until mid-spring to feed warm-season grasses.
• Apply high-phosphate liquid root stimulator to newly transplanted trees and shrubs.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Dormant oil spray applied to peaches, plums, euonymus, hollies and other shrubs and trees will help kill scales and overwintering insects.
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) will kill clover, dandelions, chickweed, plantain and other non-grassy weeds. Annual bluegrass and other winter grasses cannot be sprayed at this point. Mark the calendar to apply pre-emergent granules the first week of September to prevent them next time around.