Gardening This Weekend: February 17, 2022
Here are the things you’ll want to check off your list in the next several days.
• Finish all transplanting of established trees and shrubs (too late in South Texas if they’re budded and growing).
• Dig and divide late-summer and fall-blooming perennials such as Mexican mint marigolds, fall asters, Mexican bush sage and mums (too late in South Texas if they’ve already started growing vigorously).
• Cool-season annuals, including petunias, stocks, wallflowers, foxgloves, English daisies, sweet alyssum and larkspurs.
• Cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale) and Irish potatoes – this is prime time for most of Texas. See related story in this issue.
• Leafy and root vegetables in South Texas gardens. (Wait two weeks in Central, North Texas.)
• Branches broken by ice and snow. Use extreme caution, as trees may be greatly weakened. Better yet, hire a certified arborist with the proper experience and equipment to do the job for you.
• Evergreen shrubs as needed to guide their growth, but unless you have a very formal garden, avoid pruning into round or square shapes. Allow your plants to grow naturally. It’s a lot easier.
• Summer-flowering shrubs and vines, but remember: never top crape myrtles. There is no justifiable reason!
• Bush roses by 50 percent. Make each cut just above a bud facing out from the center of the plant. If your plants are infected with rose rosette virus, remove them entirely (roots and all) to slow its spread to other plants in the neighborhood. There is no prevention or cure. I have details on my website.
• Newly planted bare-rooted fruit and pecan trees with high-phosphate liquid root stimulator food monthly for their first season. (Prune these plants back by half if you have not already done so.)
• Annual color with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to keep plants growing, blooming actively.
• Asparagus with all-nitrogen, fast-release fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate to stimulate strong shoot growth.
• Rye and fescue turf with high-quality, all-nitrogen fertilizer. This is prime time for these cool-season grasses. Apply at one-half or two-thirds the rate you would use for St. Augustine or bermuda.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Wrap trunks of red oaks, water oaks, red maples and Chinese pistachios to protect against sunscald and subsequent invasion by borers. Leave wrap in place for 1-2 years until leaf canopy can shade the trunks.
• Stake and guy newly transplanted shade trees to keep them vertical. Keep guy wire taut at all times. Pad trunks to prevent damage.
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) to eliminate non-grassy weeds like dandelions, clover, henbit and chickweed. If you are going to scalp your lawn within the next week, hold off on the spraying for a couple of weeks. Scalping will eliminate many of them for you.
• Aphids on tender new growth of shrubs, vegetables, perennials and annuals. You may be able to blast them off with a hard stream of water, or most general-purpose insecticides will eliminate them.