Gardening This Weekend: February 8, 2018
Depending on where you are in our state, spring is only inches away. Time is quickly running out on the things you have to accomplish while plants are dormant. Let’s make a list.
• Frost-tolerant annuals, including pinks, snaps, primulas, wallflowers, 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.
• 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.
• Grape vines to remove up to 85 percent of their cane growth. That will result in fewer clusters, but of far greater quality. This must be done in order the keep the vines manageable.
• 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. Trees that are not trained will grow too tall for easy harvest. Heavy fruit loads will also be more likely to break limbs.
• Bush roses by 50 percent. Each cut should be just above a bud that faces outward from the center of the plant. If you’re in DFW, confirm that your plants do not have rose rosette virus before you start pruning. See the information I have left archived on my website.
• 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.
• Ryegrass and fescue with high-quality lawn fertilizer. Since rye is commonly used to oversee permanent turf, I often apply this February feeding at half the recommended rate. That way the ryegrass roots will pick up most of the nutrients. I’ll add nitrogen to my St. Augustine or bermuda turf later on in April.
• Apply high-phosphate liquid root stimulator to newly transplanted trees and shrubs. Your independent nursery professional will have a couple of brands.
• Pansies, pinks, snapdragons and other cool-season annual flowers with a high-nitrogen food. Water-soluble types give quickest results.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) will kill clover, dandelions, chickweed, plantain and other non-grassy weeds. Check the directions as they relate to temperature restrictions. 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.
• Dormant oil spray applied to peaches, plums, euonymus, hollies and other shrubs and trees will help kill scales and overwintering insects.