Gardening This Weekend: February 9, 2023

It was two years ago that the awful arctic blast rolled across Texas. Things have hardly been the same since. The weather ahead for the next 10 days, though, looks much more typical of mid-February. I’ve put together the following list of tasks with current conditions in mind.

Fruit and pecan trees, blackberries and grape vines. Tune in my program on WBAP 820AM this Sunday morning 8-10 a.m. to hear Dr. George Ray McEachern, recently retired TAMU fruit and pecan specialist. The entire two hours will be turned over to the topic of home and commercial orchards.
Have a question you’d like me to ask Dr. McEachern? Simply e-mail it to me at by 4 p.m. tomorrow, Friday (Feb. 10). I will consolidate like questions and ask Dr. McEachern those of greatest listener interest. Listen on the air or to the podcast for your answer. We will not be able to reply by email.
Finish all digging and relocating of established trees and shrubs in your landscape before they start breaking buds for spring growth.
Cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower) and Irish potatoes– this is the best time to plant them across much of our state.
Frost-tolerant annuals: petunias, stocks, English daisies, larkspurs, sweet alyssum and others.

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Trim cold-damaged growth if you can identify branches that were killed by exposure to cold at Christmas or ice last week.
Peach and plum trees, grape vines immediately. Buds are starting to swell. Early varieties are starting to bloom in warmer parts of the state.
Evergreen shrubs as needed to shape. Avoid highly sheared look whenever possible, both to maintain plants’ long-term vigor and to reduce labor you spend in the garden.
Do not top crape myrtles – there is no justifiable reason (including reducing height – they’ll just grow back).
Rose bushes by 50 percent immediately, even if they have started to produce new foliage. If you are in an area infested with rose rosette virus (such as DFW), be sure your plants are not infected. See detailed information on my website. Infected plants must be removed.

Asparagus immediately with all-nitrogen, fast-release fertilizer such as 21-0-0.
Liquid root stimulator monthly to newly planted and transplanted trees and shrubs.
Rye and fescue turf to stimulate new growth. Use high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer at half the normal rate for this feeding since permanent lawn is still dormant.
Winter and early spring annual color with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food once temperatures warm in next few days.

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Watch houseplants for build-ups of spider mites, scale insects and mealybugs. If present apply a recommended control soon. Populations can build indoors where there are no natural predators.
Concentrations of aphids on tender new growth. Wash off with hard stream of water or apply general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticide.
Wrap trunks of newly planted oaks and Chinese pistachios to prevent sunscald. Leave wrapped for 18 to 24 months. In my experience, this is a non-negotiable horticultural practice.
Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) to eliminate non-grassy weeds in lawn, including clover, dandelions, chickweed, thistles, plantain and others.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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