Gardening This Weekend: January 3, 2019
Let’s get ready to garden! Better weather is on the horizon. Here are the pressing tasks of early January. At least give them a quick scan.
• Native and established landscape trees and shrubs you want to dig and transplant. This must be done while they are dormant (winter). Maintain a ball of soil firmly around each plant’s roots to give it the best chance of surviving the transplanting. Prune to compensate for roots lost in the digging and water immediately after replanting. Stake and guy as needed.
• Fruit trees and vines. Find a list of varieties recommended by Texas A&M for your part of Texas and buy accordingly. Local independent retail garden centers are most likely to have stocked the best types for your area. National chains usually buy from regional or national sources and may not sell varieties that are well suited for your locale. Order online or by mail from Womack Nursery in DeLeon, TX and Texas Pecan Nursery in Chandler, TX.
• Cool-season annuals, including pansies, violas, pinks and snapdragons in Central and North Texas. In South Texas the list can also include sweet alyssum, stocks, ornamental Swiss chard, wallflowers and larkspurs.
• Onions in Deep South Texas. Central and North Texas plantings will go in in two to three weeks.
• Peach and plum trees to establish strong scaffold branching 24 to 30 inches from the ground. Remove all strongly vertical shoots each winter.
• Grapes to remove 80-85 percent of the cane growth. Without this pruning the vines will overproduce and fruit quality will be poor. Maintain the vines on their scaffold wires.
• Evergreens to reshape, but avoid formal shearing. Hand shears and loppers give the most natural-looking results. See related story on pruning nandinas this issue.
• Pansies, pinks and other winter annuals with a water-soluble plant food each time that you water them.
• Liquid root stimulator to newly transplanted trees and shrubs monthly for first year they are in their new homes.
• Asparagus beds in South Texas with all-nitrogen fertilizer in next 10 days. Wait until late January in Central and North Texas.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Insect pests on houseplants, including spider mites, scales, mealybugs and whiteflies. Populations build when plants are indoors, away from their natural predators. Your local independent retail garden center will have the best materials to control any type of outbreak.
• Extreme cold. It can pop in with little notice. Buy frost cloth ahead of the rush and panic of the next bad cold front and have it pre-cut and ready to put out over your vulnerable plants. You know you’ll need it. You might as well have it on hand.
• Mistletoe from tree branches. Smaller clumps at the ends of twigs can be removed by clipping the entire twig from the tree. Larger clumps on mature branches can only be clipped back flush with the bark. They will regrow, but you’ll slow them down. There is no spray that will eliminate mistletoe without harming the host tree.