Gardening This Weekend: December 1, 2022

Our Texas weather has been running hot and cold these past several days. And, early December brings its own set of things to get done.

Pansies, violas, pinks, ornamental cabbage and kale, snapdragons and other winter annual color. Plant in well-draining beds prepared with several inches of organic matter.
Daffodils, jonquils, narcissus and grape hyacinth bulbs. Leave tulips and Dutch hyacinths chilling in the refrigerator for at least another 10 or 15 days before planting into the garden. (That’s even if they’ve had the required 45 days at 45 degrees.)
Living Christmas tree. Ask your local independent retail garden center operator to show you only types that are perfectly adapted to your part of Texas. We’ve made some mistakes planting types like Eldarica pines and Leyland cypress that cropped up with fatal flaws 20 or 30 years after we got excited about them.
If you’re in the northern half of the state where temperatures have dropped to freezing already you can begin dormant-season transplanting of trees and shrubs. Folks farther south need to wait a few weeks.

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Trees to remove damaged and dead branches that could fall in winter storms. If that pruning would involve climbing, hire a certified arborist to do the work for you.
Shrubs to correct erratic growth but save major reshaping for later in the winter (January).
Lawn to remove fallen leaves. Bag them and use them as mulch or in compost pile.
Prune to remove mistletoe from shade trees whenever you can reach it from the ground. Be aware of power lines nearby.

Ryegrass and fescue with high-nitrogen fertilizer at half the recommended rate. Water deeply after feeding.
Pansies and other winter color plants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food each time that you water them.
Houseplants sparingly. Once monthly will probably be adequate during dark days of mid-winter.

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Broadleafed weeds in turf in the next few days, including dandelions, clover, henbit and chickweed. Apply herbicide containing 2,4-D during warm, dry spell. There may even be one or two more times in northern parts of state before winter arrives to stay. Read and follow label directions carefully.
Keep a close eye on houseplants you’ve brought indoors for the winter to be sure insects don’t start appearing. Be on the watch for spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs and scale insects.
Aphids congregating on tender new growth of pansies and even late-season growth of shrubs in South Texas can be knocked off with hard stream of water.
Remove rose bushes (roots and all) that are infested with rose rosette virus. See details I have left archived on my website.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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