Gardening This Weekend: March 9, 2023

Back when I had an office job, I loved coming home to work in my garden once Daylight Saving Time kicked in. Longer evenings meant more time to enjoy my hobby. Well, that time rolls in this Sunday morning at 2, so let me help you get your list started.

Evergreen shrubs to replace any that have been killed by recent freezes and summertime droughts. Shop early while supplies are at their best.
Spring-flowering trees, shrubs, and vines while nurseries are well stocked. Protect all nursery stock from highway winds by wrapping them or carrying them in a closed trailer. You simply cannot drive slowly enough.
Leafy and root vegetables in the northern 75 percent of the state. (Too late in South Texas. Hot weather will catch them before they mature.)
Warm-season vegetables in South, Central and North Central Texas through the I-20 corridor west. I checked the 15-day forecast this morning, and it looks like clear sailing. Of course, there’s still that chance of a late frost, so no guarantees. You’re still rolling the dice, but at least they’re loaded in your favor.
Warm-season annual color in South and Central Texas. Wait another week or two in North Central Texas and the Panhandle.

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Winter-killed leaves and stems from palms, sago palms, oleanders, Asian jasmine, star jasmine and other vulnerable plants. You should be able to see new growth beginning on most plants that will be able to recover.
Dead or damaged branches from live oaks and other trees that were hurt by cold of February 2021. That dieback is still showing up.
Spring-flowering vines and shrubs if needed to remove errant growth but avoid formal shearing wherever possible.
Mow your lawn regularly, even if all you have is rank weeds. Many of them will be eliminated simply by mowing. If your lawn is still quite brown from the winter, you may want to drop the mower down by one notch and “scalp” it to remove the stubble. Put the clippings into the compost or use them as mulch beneath shrubs. Do not send them to the landfill.

New flower, vegetable and groundcover transplants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer for quickest establishment and new growth.
Lawns in South Texas with high-quality, high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen lawn food. As much as half of that nitrogen should be in slow-release coated or encapsulated form.
Flowers and vegetables with the same high-nitrogen fertilizer. Soil tests from almost all parts of Texas show soils to be excessively high in phosphorus, middle number of the three-number analysis. It can accumulate to almost toxic levels.

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Application of pre-emergent granules Balan, Dimension or Halts must be made to lawn very soon if you expect to prevent germination of crabgrass and grassburs. You will need to repeat the application with a “booster shot” treatment 90 days from now.
Broadleafed weedkiller can be applied to kill existing non-grassy weeds such as clover, dandelions, chickweed and plantain. Read and follow label directions carefully for best results.
Aphids will congregate on tender new growth of many flowers, vegetables and shrubs. They will always have pear-shaped bodies. You can probably knock them off the plants with a hard stream of water, but several good general-purpose insecticides are labeled for controlling them.
Spider mites are turning needles of junipers brown. Thump a sample twig over white paper. If you see tiny specks starting to move about, apply an insecticide labeled for mites to stop them. Check to determine level of control in 7-10 days. Repeat if needed.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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