Gardening This Weekend: November 19, 2020
• Daffodils and grape hyacinths now. Leave tulips and Dutch hyacinths in the refrigerator at 45 degrees until mid- to late December. The “pre-chilling” will fool them into thinking they’ve had a real winter. Some nurseries (a few!) really help you by offering tulips and hyacinths that they have pre-chilled for you. They let you buy them, and in many cases, put your name on them, then pick them up at the proper time for planting in late December.
• Cool-season color, including pansies, violas, pinks, snaps, ornamental cabbage and kale, and in protected areas, sweet alyssum, Iceland poppies, wallflowers and “hardy” cyclamen. Let your local Texas Certified Nursery Professional guide you as to the best types for your locale.
• Nursery stock. These plants may be in the very back of the garden center, way behind the newly arriving Christmas trees, and if they are, odds are that the trees and shrubs will have been marked down considerably. Except for types that are tender in your area, planting at this time is just fine.
• Remove rose bushes that have been infected with rose rosette virus. This fatal disease is most prevalent in the DFW Metroplex and its surroundings, although it has spread across Texas as well. If you want to see what it looks like, I have left information I have written and photos I have taken archived on my website. Click to go there.
• Continue mowing your lawn at the recommended height to remove fallen leaves. If there are too many to mulch back into the lawn, blow them onto the driveway, then mow them to shred them. Bag them and use them as needed over the winter to protect pansies and other tender flowers, also to slow growth of weeds beneath shrubs.
• Pansies, pinks and other winter color with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food to keep them growing vigorously. Failure to feed adequately is a common cause of poor plant performance.
• Houseplants monthly with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food at half the recommended rate. Your goal for the winter is to maintain them status quo, not to encourage them to grow while they’re in the darker conditions indoors.
• Ryegrass and fescue (cool-season grasses) are growing well at these cool temperatures. Feed them now with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen lawn food. Water immediately after feeding.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray on a sunny, warm and relatively still day to kill cool-season broadleafed weeds before winter moves in. Read and follow label directions.
• A couple of spring diseases of fruit trees are actually prevented by spraying in fall: bacterial stem canker of plums and peach leaf curl of peaches. Apply a copper-based fungicide now that trees have lost their leaves.
• Fire ant mounds that may have sprung up following rains of a few weeks ago. Treat with one of the extended-control, area-wide baits for best results.