Gardening This Weekend: February 20, 2020
Pay close attention. You don’t get second chances this time of year. Either do things at the right times or forget about doing them at all. Texas is a big state. I’ll do my best to give good guidance in a few words.
• Plant Irish potatoes immediately in Central and North Central Texas. Next week along the Red River and a week or two from now in the Panhandle. (It’s very late in South Texas.)
• Ditto for planting cabbage and broccoli. Both of those mature fairly quickly. Brussels sprouts and cauliflower take longer and may be even more challenging than usual in most of the state.
• If trees and shrubs you wanted to dig and relocate have already started to leaf out, you’re too late for this year. If they haven’t, better get with it this weekend!
• Evergreen shrubs have started to grow. If you missed pruning them, you may need to do so, but you will have to be careful not to trim them so drastically that you set them back excessively. Lopping shears are the safest way to avoid that issue.
• Wait to prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines until just after they finish blooming.
• Wait to prune oaks until mid-July. Spring is the season when the oak wilt fungus is active. If you must prune now, seal each cut with pruning paint immediately.
• Cool-season annual color with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food.
• Rye and fescue cool-season turf with all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of its nitrogen in slow-release form. Wait to fertilize warm-season turf for 3-4 weeks in South Texas and 6 weeks in North Texas.
• Apply the same all-nitrogen food to shrub and groundcover beds now to promote vigorous start to spring growth.
On the Lookout
• Pre-emergent herbicides now or soon. See related story this issue.
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray containing 2,4-D to eliminate non-grassy weeds such as clover, dandelion, chickweed and others. Read and follow label directions for best results.
• Aphids on tender new growth of flowers and vegetables. There are many labeled insecticides, or you may be able to knock them off with a hard stream of water.
• Peach and plum fruit spray schedule while trees are in bud, but before blooms open. That advice may be too late in South Texas. (Hopefully you have already begun your spray program if that’s where you live.) The second application of malathion or other labeled insecticide would come when three-fourths of the petals have fallen. That spray would be made in late evening, after bee activity has ceased. Repeat the sprays on 10-day intervals until harvest. This is to prevent entry of the plum curculio worms into stone fruits.