Gardening This Weekend: January 2, 2020
Here are what I’d deem to be the most pressing plant tasks of the few days ahead.
• Dig and relocate any trees and shrubs you need to move during the winter.
• Cool-season annuals, including pansies, violas, pinks and snapdragons in Central and North Texas. In South Texas list can also include sweet alyssum, stocks, ornamental Swiss chard, wallflowers and larkspurs.
• Onions in South Texas in the next week or two. North Texas plantings will go in in three or four weeks.
• Fruit trees, vines and bushes. 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 bought for your area. National chains usually buy from regional or national offices and are not usually dependable about having types suited to your area. Mailorder sources in Texas include Texas Pecan Nursery in Chandler TX and Womack’s Nursery in DeLeon TX.
• Summer-flowering shrubs and vines, but do so cautiously. Over-pruning can reduce bud production dramatically.
• Do not top crape myrtles for any reason. It is a barbaric act that has no purpose. See related story this issue.
• Evergreens to reshape, but avoid formal shearing. Hand shears and loppers give the most natural-looking results.
• 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.
• 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.
• Peach and plum trees to establish strong scaffold branching 24 to 30 inches from the ground. Remove all strongly vertical shoots each winter.
• 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
• Cover tender plants with frost cloth any time extreme cold is forecast. It’s best to have it on hand before you really need it.
• Houseplants for mealy bugs, spider mites and scale insects. Treat at first evidence. Populations can build quickly since there are no predators indoors.