Gardening This Weekend: December 31, 2020

Here are the assignments for the start of the New Gardening Year.

If you’re planning on transplanting established trees and shrubs from one spot to another, this is the time to do so – while they are dormant.
Cool-season annuals such as pansies and pinks, especially into pots for your patio and entryway. Your nurseryman can suggest other types that will do well in your area. If you find wallflowers such as the Sugar Rush types featured this week, give them a try, too.
Onion sets in Deep South Texas. Wait 3-4 weeks in North Texas.
Fruit trees, grapes, blackberries and pecans. Local independent retail garden centers often have varieties recommended for your part of the state. National chain stores usually will not. They can also be ordered by mail from Womack Nursery in DeLeon TX. (Womack’s is an advertiser on my DFW-area radio programs.)

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Peach and plum trees to maintain a spreading growth habit. Remove vertical shoots. Pears and figs should not be pruned other than to remove dead or damaged branches.
Grapes by removing 80 to 85 percent of their cane growth. Maintain the vines on their scaffold branches.
Evergreen shrubs. Do so to maintain their natural growth forms. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible.
Summer-flowering shrubs and vines, but remove as little as possible. Pruning stimulates regrowth, and rampant regrowth will be less likely to bloom this coming summer. Do not ever “top” crape myrtles for any purported reason. There is no defense for the practice.

Houseplants monthly with diluted water-soluble plant food. You’re trying to maintain them in a healthy condition, not encourage new growth during the dark days of winter.
Liquid root stimulator to newly transplanted trees and shrubs monthly for the first year they are in their new homes.
Pansies, pinks and other winter annuals with a water-soluble plant food each time that you water them.

Houseplants for insect pests. Because they have no natural predators indoors, populations of scales, mealy bugs, whiteflies and spider mites can build quickly indoors. Let your nursery professional guide you as to the best controls.
Have frost cloth cut and set aside, ready to pull across plants you know to be tender to cold weather. Once put over the plants, it can be left in place for several weeks without risk of damage.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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