Gardening This Weekend: January 14, 2021

I’ve made a list of the critical tasks as we approach mid-January. Try to tend to these as time and weather allow.

If you have established trees and shrubs in your landscape that you’re planning on moving, you have about one more month to get that job done. Dig them carefully, holding balls of soil in place around their roots as you do.
Onion slips in South Texas. Snap peas in Deep South Texas. Your time will come in a couple of weeks, North Texas gardeners.
Fruit trees and vines, bramble berries and pecans. Choose varieties carefully, sticking with those types recommended by Texas A&M for your part of the state.

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Evergreen shrubs as needed, but retain natural growth forms as much as possible.
Summer-flowering shrubs and vines, but do not “top” crape myrtles ever for any purported reason. There is no valid reason to do so.
Peach and plum trees to maintain their scaffold branching structure and horizontal habit.
Grapes to remove 80-85 percent of their cane growth.

Pansies, violas and other winter annuals with water-soluble, high-nitrogen plant food.
Asparagus with all-nitrogen fertilizer to promote new late-winter spear growth.
Newly transplanted trees and shrubs with liquid root stimulator monthly.

Houseplants to control whiteflies, mealybugs, scales and spider mites. Your nursery professional can show you the appropriate controls.
Scale insects on hollies, euonymus, fruit trees, oaks, pecans and other shade and fruit trees. Apply horticultural oil. Read and follow label directions as they pertain to rain and temperatures. For the record, crape myrtle scales do not respond well to oil sprays. They are treated with systemic insecticides in May.
Watch trailing junipers for signs of damage from spider mites, especially in South Texas. The mites that attack conifers are active in cooler weather. If your plants begin to take on a drab, gray-green look, it may very well be the effects of spider mites. Take one of the twigs and thump it over a sheet of white paper. If you see almost microscopic brownish-red specks start to move, those are the mites. Spray with an insecticide that is also labeled for control of mites.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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