Gardening This Weekend: January 27, 2022
Here are the most critical tasks for the last week of January. See how many apply to your place.
• Frost-hardy annual color in southern half of state, including ornamental Swiss chard, larkspur, stocks, sweet alyssum, Iceland poppies and others.
• Freeze-hardy annual color in northern half of state where hard freezes can still roll in. In fact, check the 10-day forecast. It looks like cold weather can be expected late next week. Pansies, pinks, snapdragons.
• Asparagus, English snap peas and onions as soon as possible in most of the state.
• Irish potatoes, cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) in South Texas.
• Bare-rooted or balled-and-burlapped fruit trees, grapes and blackberries.
• Dig and transplant established native or landscape shrubs and trees that need to be moved while they are still dormant.
• Evergreen shrubs lightly as needed to shape. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible.
• Summer-flowering shrubs and vines to reshape, but remember that extensive pruning will lead to strong vegetative growth and fewer flowers. As mentioned elsewhere, never “top” your crape myrtles.
• Grapes to remove 80 to 85 percent of canes in effort to limit numbers of fruit and improve overall quality.
• Peach and plum trees to outward-growing buds to encourage horizontal growth. Apples and pears to remove dead or damaged branches, also (with apples) to remove strongly vertical shoots called “water sprouts.” Figs only as needed to remove frozen tissues.
• Bush roses by half. Each cut should be made directly above a bud that faces away from the center of the plant. That encourages full, spreading growth. Note: Remove all plants infected with rose rosette virus. See details on my website.
• Winter color plantings with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food each time that you water.
• Asparagus beds with all-nitrogen fertilizer to promote vigorous new spears.
• Newly transplanted trees and shrubs with liquid root-stimulator monthly this year.
• Ryegrass and fescue plantings with all-nitrogen or high-nitrogen fertilizer, half or more in slow-release form.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Aphids on tender new growth, starting in South Texas during warm days. They can be vectors for plant viruses. Most insecticides will eliminate them, or you can wash them off the plants with a forceful stream of water.
• Scale insects on fruit and shade trees, hollies, camellias, euonymus and other plants. Apply horticultural oil (“dormant oil”) spray according to label directions. Your time for this treatment is quickly running out, especially in South Texas. For the record, oil sprays are not especially effective on crape myrtle bark scale. Research by Texas A&M has shown that Imidacloprid systemic insecticide applied as a soil drench in mid-May gives the best protection.
• Broadleafed weeds in any type of turf. Apply a broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D). Read and follow label directions carefully for best results.