Gardening This Weekend: February 24, 2022
“If it’s Thursday, there must be cold weather.” That seems to be the game plan this year. So I’m going to jump a little farther ahead and give you the guidelines that will pick up once it warms up later this weekend.
• Cool-season annual color such as petunias, alyssum, stocks and ornamental Swiss chard to decorate late-winter, early spring gardens.
• Leafy and root vegetables in northern half of state. Deep South Texas gardeners can soon begin to plant beans, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, corn and other warm-season vegetables. Check your 14-day forecast before taking the plunge. Use frost cloth to buy yourself a few degrees’ of protection.
• Nursery stock as you see types you’re been wanting. Early-spring arrivals are typically larger plants that have been in their containers for a period of time. This year especially stock may be in short supply as consumers and contractors work to redo damaged landscapes. Watch, too, for spring-blooming shrubs that often are only sold at the time that they’re flowering. Get ‘em when you see them. The next day might be too late.
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines as needed to correct erratic growth immediately after they finish blooming.
• Finish pruning, reshaping evergreen shrubs immediately, before they invest a lot of effort in new spring growth. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible. Take a look at what the professionals did to help us with multitudes of hollies in McKinney in a story this issue.
• Scalp lawn to remove winter-killed stubble and many of the vigorous broadleafed weeds. Use clippings in compost or at an organic matter recycling center. Do not send to the landfill.
• Rye and fescue turf with all-nitrogen fertilizer to maximize spring green-up. Wait several weeks to fertilize St. Augustine and bermuda.
• Groundcover beds with all-nitrogen lawn fertilizer with a significant percentage of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Early feeding will maximize burst of spring growth.
• New annual flower and vegetable transplants with high-nitrogen, liquid fertilizer weekly to get them established and growing.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Spider mites are appearing on junipers and other conifers. Look for grayish-green areas on branches. Thump a branch over white paper. Mites will be nearly microscopic specks that will start to move freely on the paper. Treat entire plant thoroughly with insecticide labeled for spider mite control.
• Aphids congregating on tender new growth of shrubs, flowers and vegetables. Wash most of them off with a hard stream of water. If they persist apply a general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticide.
• Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) to control clover, dandelions, chickweed and other non-grassy weeds. Read and follow label directions for all products intended to kill weeds to be certain you don’t damage desirable trees and shrubs by accident.