Gardening This Weekend: December 28, 2017
Pay close attention to upcoming weather forecasts. It looks like the first few days of next week are going to be unusually cold. As I advised several weeks ago for the hard freeze we had then:
• Water any plants that are dry before cold arrives.
• Disconnect and drain all hoses before temperatures drop below freezing.
• Cover tender plants, including pansies and other flowering annuals, with frost cloth that you have secured to the ground with weights. If precipitation is forecast, have some means of propping frost cloth up and off the plants.
• Remember any sub-tropical plants you may have moved outdoors for a few days and bring them back into protection for the duration of the cold.
• Be certain your greenhouse heater is working, and have a back-up source of heat if power should go out.
• Make provision for your pets to be warm and have food and water.
• Put seed out for the birds. Black oil-type sunflower seed is a favorite with almost all species.
Those few guidelines now covered, here are the more standard things for this time of the year.
• Those tulip and hyacinth bulbs you’ve been pre-chilling in the refrigerator for 6 weeks or longer. They must go in the ground now. This will be your final reminder.
• Fruit trees, grapes and blackberry plants as they come into local retail nurseries. Shop while supplies are at their best. Texas Pecan Nursery in Chandler TX and Womack Nursery in DeLeon TX both grow and sell varieties recommended by Texas A&M fruit and pecan specialists.
• Mistletoe from small tree branches. Allowing it to stay will let it begin to root into the limbs until it becomes a serious problem.
• Grapes, peaches and plums. Granted, this can wait, so more on it in upcoming weeks.
• No need to fertilize flowering Christmas plants such as poinsettias, amaryllis and Christmas cacti in any big hurry. They have enough nutrients in their potting soil already.
• High-phosphate, liquid root-stimulator fertilizer at time of planting bare-rooted and balled-and-burlapped fruit trees and landscape trees and shrubs.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Weakened tree branches, trunks that might split during a winter ice or snow storm. This might be a good time to have a certified arborist inspect your trees carefully.
• Overgrown shrubs can be pruned anytime in the next 5 or 6 weeks, but more on that another time.