Gardening This Weekend: March 11, 2021

More and more I’m allowing myself to talk about normal spring gardening things for this time of the year. Still, we have some important aspects of cold-spell recovery yet ahead.

Vegetables, South Texas: green beans, corn, cucumbers and squash (all from seeds). Tomatoes from transplants.

Vegetables, Central and North Texas: finish leafy and root crops from seed, including radishes, carrots, beets, turnips, spinach, lettuce (leafy types only). Check 10-day forecast before planting warm-season crops such as beans, corn, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes. They still come with a fair risk of loss to late frosts.

Annual color, South Texas: transplants of spring and summer annuals, including zinnias, marigolds, celosia, cosmos, fanflower, angelonia, pentas, wax begonias, coleus. Wait two weeks to plant moss rose and purslane. Wait one month to plant caladiums. Wait until late May or even June to plant periwinkles (to avoid water mold funguses).

Annual color, Central and North Texas: transplants of petunias, larkspur, sweet alyssum, calendulas. Wait two weeks to plant spring and summer annuals.

Nursery stock: Independent retail nurseries will be your best source of adapted types and good advice from Texas Certified Nursery Professionals. Go in during the week when they’re not quite as busy.

Turf: Sod can be planted in South Texas. It would be better if you could wait 2-3 weeks in North Texas to allow the soil to warm a bit more. Wait for 6-8 weeks to seed bermudagrass.

Continued Below

PRUNE: This is still a difficult topic because of the magnitude of freeze damage done to the huge number of species of plants across Texas one month ago. Many of these plants have yet to show the extent of damage they suffered.

My advice is still that you look closely at your plants’ stems, from tips to ground. You should be seeing new growth somewhere along them if they have survived. You should see new leaves, flower or leaf buds –some sign of life. I’ve tried to interpret what I’ve seen and heard in a related story this issue. Please check out the details there. Remember, however, if you’re not sure, there’s no harm in waiting another couple of weeks before you start pruning.

Back to normal spring pruning guidelines, your shrubs and vines that normally bloom at this time should be trimmed and reshaped right after that flowering time has passed.

FERTILIZE: All landscape shrubs and groundcovers, also perennial gardens with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer with as much as half of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Same product for lawns now in South Texas, early April in Central and North Texas. New flower and vegetable transplants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen plant food to get them off to a ripping good start.

ON THE LOOKOUT: Apply pre-emergent granules, including Dimension, Halts or Balan to prevent germination of crabgrass and grassburs this spring and summer. Second application should be made 90 days later, and it’s equally critical since our growing season in Texas runs for many months. Texas A&M is recommending that pre-emergent weedkiller not be applied to turf that was lost in the cold (probably St. Augustine and that may have to be replaced with new sod in a few weeks. Also, broadleafed weeds (non-grasses such as clover and dandelions, among others) with a product containing 2,4-D. Read and follow label directions for best results. Also, see story last week on lawn burweed if you have that painful pest.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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