Gardening This Weekend: January 7, 2021
Let’s get ready to garden. Our first checklist for 2021!
• Onions in Deep South Texas. Central and North Texas plantings will go in in two to three weeks.
• Fruit trees and vines. Find a list of varieties recommended by Texas A&M for your part of Texas and buy accordingly. Buy soon, while supplies are at their best. Local independent retail garden centers are most likely to have stocked for your area. National chains usually buy from regional or national sources and may not sell varieties that are well suited for your locale. Order online by mail from Womack Nursery in DeLeon, TX and Texas Pecan Nursery in Chandler, TX.
• Native and established landscape trees and shrubs you want to dig and transplant. This must be done while they are dormant (winter).
• Cool-season annuals, including pansies, violas, pinks and snapdragons in Central and North Texas. In South Texas the list can also include sweet alyssum, stocks, ornamental Swiss chard and larkspurs. See our story on wallflowers here last week.
• Evergreens to reshape, but avoid formal shearing. Hand shears and loppers give the most natural-looking results. See story along this line on pruning overgrown boxwood in this issue.
• Peach and plum trees to establish strong scaffold branching 24 to 30 inches from the ground. Remove all strongly vertical shoots each winter.
• Grapes to remove 80-85 percent of the cane growth. Without this pruning the vines will overproduce and fruit quality will be poor. Maintain the vines on their scaffold wires.
• Asparagus beds in South Texas with all-nitrogen fertilizer in next 10 days. Wait until late January in Central and North Texas.
• Liquid root stimulator to newly transplanted trees and shrubs monthly for 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.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Extreme cold. We’ve had a mild winter so far, but it can pop in with little notice. Buy frost cloth ahead of the rush and panic of the next bad cold front and have it pre-cut and ready to put out over your vulnerable plants. You know you’ll need it. You might as well have it on hand. It’s valuable, for example, to protect early-season flower and vegetable crops.
• Mistletoe from tree branches. (I keep getting asked!) Smaller clumps at the ends of twigs can be removed by clipping the entire twig from the tree. Larger clumps on mature branches can only be clipped back flush with the bark. They will regrow, but you’ll slow them down. There is no spray that will eliminate mistletoe without harming the host tree.
• Insect pests on houseplants, including spider mites, scales, mealybugs and whiteflies. Populations build when plants are indoors, away from their natural predators. Your local independent retain garden center will have the best materials to control any type of outbreak.