Gardening This Weekend: February 4, 2021

Parts of Texas are going to get very cold over the next several days. Check your local forecast to see what precautions you might need to take. Beyond that, here are the things that gardeners should do at this time of late winter.

Bare-rooted and balled-and-burlapped shade and fruit trees. Tune in my radio program this Sunday 8-10 a.m. on WBAP 820AM. My guest will be fruit and pecan specialist Dr. George Ray McEachern.
Finish transplanting any established trees and shrubs that need to be relocated. This must be done before they start leafing out in the spring.
Onions in North Texas as soon as you can. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and Irish potatoes in southern half of the state.
Cold-tolerant annuals such as larkspurs, sweet alyssum, English daisies, wallflowers, ornamental Swiss chard, stocks and others.

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Evergreen shrubs as needed to reshape. If you’re having to prune them repeatedly, consider replacing them with something more compact.
Peach and plum trees to remove strongly vertical shoots and encourage spreading habit.
Grapes to remove 80 percent or more of cane growth.
Bush roses by 50 percent, with each cut made just above a bud facing out from the center of the plant. Learn what rose rosette virus looks like, and if you see it in your plantings, remove them immediately, root systems and all. Wait at least two years before replanting roses into that area.
Roses-of-Sharon, crape myrtles, trumpetcreepers and other woody, summer-blooming plants as needed to shape. Never “top” a crape myrtle for any reason. It is never a good idea.

Winter annuals with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage vigorous growth, blooms.
Cool-season grasses (rye and fescue) to promote vigorous growth in warming spells of late winter. Use high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen food, with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form.
Asparagus with all-nitrogen fertilizer. In this one case, ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) is good.

Horticultural (dormant) oil spray to reduce populations of scales and overwintering insects. Note: oil sprays have not given good results on crape myrtle bark scale. Treatment for that pest is a soil drench with Imidacloprid in mid-May.
Broadleafed (non-grassy) weeds can be treated with appropriate broadleafed herbicide when temperatures allow. Read and follow label directions carefully.
Have frost cloth handy to cover annual flowers and vegetables, also flowering shrubs should freezing weather threaten over the next few days in your part of Texas.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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