Question of the Week Number 3: January 23, 2020

“Things seem to be so far ahead due to warm weather of the mid-winter this year. What can we do about plants that are budding? Does this change our dates for pre-emergent applications?”

I’ve been asked each of these questions dozens of times in the past two or three weeks.

About plants that are budding early…
When it comes to trees and shrubs that are in bud and bloom weeks ahead of their appointed times, there simply isn’t much we can do to slow or protect most of them.

If they’re small types, or if you have annuals and perennials, you could cover them with frost cloth if it gets really cold between now and “real” spring. Otherwise, as is usually the case, we’re kinda in God’s hands.

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And then there are the pre-emergents…
For most of Texas it’s still a bit too early to pass judgement on these applications. Remember that you’ll be applying them for summertime weeds, primarily crabgrass and grassburs.

Normal application dates for those come 2-3 weeks before the average date of the last killing freeze for your area.

Here is the map I have in my latest book, Neil Sperry’s Lone Star Gardening. To determine the normal date to apply pre-emergent weedkiller granules where you are, move back (earlier) on the calendar by 2-3 weeks.

In Deep South Texas, you might want to move your application date up by one week. I live on the other end of the state (Metroplex), and I am not offended if you in South Texas ask a Texas Master Certified Nursery Professional at an independent retail garden center for a more localized opinion.

In North Texas, however, please hold off by a few weeks and check back here or on my Facebook page. It’s too soon to know what lies ahead.

Remember that pre-emergent products are effective for about 100 days. We have a growing season that is much longer than that, so a second treatment 90 days after the first is essential. You don’t want to be late with the first one, but you also don’t want to rush it.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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