Gardening This Weekend: January 20, 2022
All of the growing season is laid out before us, but the door is opening quickly. Here are the first tasks up on the block.
• Cool-season annuals into patio pots or protected locations, or in South Texas, into the garden. The list includes sweet alyssum, larkspurs, wallflowers, pansies, violas, Iceland poppies, sweet peas, snapdragons and stocks, among others.
• Onion slips and snap-type English peas now in South and South Central Texas. Wait a week or two longer in North Texas.
• Bare-rooted fruit and pecan trees, grape vines and bramble berries. Look at the Texas A&M horticulture website for the best varieties for your area. Here is a link to TAMU fact sheets on all types of fruit crops.
• Transplant established trees and shrubs that need to be moved within your landscape. This must be done while they are dormant in winter.
• Evergreen shrubs to reshape. It’s best usually to remove one branch at a time to avoid the sheared look. By using lopping shears, you can probably reduce their height and width by 20 to 25 percent.
• Summer-flowering shrubs and vines as needed to maintain good shape, but remember never to “top” crape myrtles. There is no benefit to be gained and you’ll ruin their natural form forever.
• Bush roses by 50 percent, making each cut directly above an outward-facing bud. Check the plants carefully, however, to be sure they are not infected with the fatal rose rosette virus. See information at my website.
• Peach and plum trees to encourage horizontal branching and a strong scaffold branching system 22 to 26 inches from the ground.
• Apples to remove strongly vertical shoots (“watersprouts”). Pears only to remove damaged or rubbing branches.
• Grapes to remove 80 to 85 percent of canes and maintain vines on strong supports.
• Wait to prune blackberries until after harvest. Do not prune figs except to remove damaged branches.
• Newly transplanted trees and shrubs with high-phosphorus liquid root-stimulator soon after planting.
• Annual color plants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food each time that you water them.
• Established asparagus plantings with all-nitrogen, fast-release fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate by side-banding along the rows of plants. Goal is to create burst of new shoot growth in February, early March.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Prune mistletoe out of tree branches while plants are still small. Clip tips of branches off to remove1-year-old mistletoe plants. There is no chemical spray that will kill the parasite without harming your tree.
• Insect pests on houseplants. Watch especially for scale insects, mealybugs, whiteflies and spider mites. Your Texas Certified Nursery Professional can show you the best products to control these pests.
• Scale insects on landscape plants. Apply horticultural oil (“dormant oil”) when temperatures are between 40 and 80 degrees for 48 hours without rain. Watch the forecast carefully – there won’t be many opportunities before plants bud out and start growing.