Gardening This Weekend: November 29, 2018
This time of year finds our time filled with family, church, school and holiday activities. I’ll polish our list of gotta-do things down to the minimum. And here it is.
• Daffodils and grape hyacinths right away. Wait another couple of weeks to plant tulips and Dutch hyacinths you’ve been chilling in the refrigerator.
• Pansies, pinks, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage and kale and other cool-season annual plants. Redo soil from summer plantings before you set new transplants out – add 2 or 3 inches of organic matter and rototill to 8 to 10 inches.
• Living Christmas trees, but ask plenty of questions ahead of time. Many types sold as such don’t really do well in Texas. And don’t keep it indoors more than 8 or 10 days. Plants dry out and also become acclimated to warm conditions indoors.
• If you can now see tree branches that have sustained damage over the summer, have a certified arborist assess the damage and take any necessary corrective action.
• Trim chrysanthemum, Mexican bush salvia, fall aster and other frozen perennial plants back to within 2 to 3 inches of the soil line now that they have all finished blooming.
• Holiday greenery from evergreens, hollies, etc. It won’t last more than a week or so indoors, so wait as long as you can to harvest it. Putting the cut ends into vases of water will prolong their lives by a week or two.
• Winter annuals with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food each time that you water them.
• No need to fertilize potted poinsettias, cyclamen and other winter-flowering container-grown plants. They have been given a slow-release plant food by the grower. Similarly, adding any kind of sugar, bleach or nutrients to a Christmas tree stand is wasted effort, and it risks doing damage to the floor should it all spill.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Protect peach and plum trees from leaf curl (peaches) and bacterial stem canker (plums). Apply a copper-based fungicide now. There is no treatment that will help in the spring.
• Clover, dandelions, henbit, chickweed and other non-grassy weeds can be controlled by a spray of a broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D) if applied soon, before winter’s cold sets in to stay. Read and follow label directions.
• Houseplants for scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies and fungal gnats. Talk to your independent retail garden center for advice on the best controls.