Gardening This Weekend: March 9, 2017

Back when I had an office job, I loved coming home to work in my garden once Daylight Saving Time kicked in. Longer evenings meant more time to enjoy my hobby. Well, that time rolls in this Sunday morning at 2, so it’s time to garden hearty. Here are the details.


• Leafy and root vegetables in the northern 75 percent of the state.
• Warm-season vegetables in South, Central and North Central Texas through the I-20 corridor west. I checked the 15-day forecast this morning, and it looks like clear sailing. Of course, there’s still that chance of a late frost, so no guarantees. You’re still rolling the dice, but at least they’re loaded in your favor.
• Spring-flowering trees, shrubs and vines while nurseries have their best supplies. Protect all nursery stock from highway winds by wrapping them or carrying them in a closed trailer. You simply cannot drive slowly enough.


• Spring-flowering vines and shrubs if needed to remove errant growth, but avoid formal shearing wherever possible.
• Winter-killed leaves and stems from palms, sago palms, oleanders, Asian jasmine, star jasmine and other vulnerable plants. You should be able to see new growth beginning on most plants that will be able to recover.
• Mow your lawn regularly, even if all you have is rank weeds. Many of them will be eliminated simply by mowing. If your lawn is still quite brown from the winter, you may want to drop the mower down by one notch and “scalp” it to remove the stubble. Put the clippings into the compost or use them as mulch beneath shrubs. Do not send them to the landfill.


• Lawns in South Texas with high-quality, high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen lawn food. Half or more of that nitrogen should be in slow-release coated or encapsulated form. Wait two or three weeks to fertilize in North Texas.
• Flowers and vegetables with the same high-nitrogen fertilizer. Soil tests from almost all parts of Texas show soils to be excessively high in phosphorus, middle number of the three-number analysis. It can accumulate to almost toxic levels.
• New flower, vegetable and groundcover transplants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer for quickest establishment and new growth.


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• Application of pre-emergent granules Team, Dimension or Halts must be made to lawn almost immediately if you expect to prevent germination of crabgrass and grassburs. I have been suggesting that the application date be moved earlier by one week for several weeks now due to the very warm late-winter weather.
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) can be applied to kill existing non-grassy weeds such as clover, dandelions, chickweed and plantain. Read and follow label directions carefully for best results.
• Fruit spray program begins as trees are in bud and bloom. Your local county Extension office is the best source of information on timing for your locale.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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