Gardening This Weekend: February 1, 2024
Here is the compacted list of responsibilities for early February across Texas.
• Onions in North Texas as soon as you can. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and Irish potatoes in southern half of the state.
• Bare-rooted and balled-and-burlapped shade and fruit trees.
• Finish transplanting any established trees and shrubs that need to be relocated. This must be done before they start leafing out in the spring.
• Cold-tolerant annuals such as larkspurs, Iceland poppies, sweet alyssum, English daisies, wallflowers, ornamental Swiss chard, stocks and others.
• Bush roses immediately by 50 percent, with each cut made just above a bud facing out from the center of the plant. If they’re already growing and blooming, maybe you don’t cut them back that dramatically, but you still need to trim them by 35 or 40 percent.
• Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) by half to keep plants from becoming lanky and unattractive. As with roses, you may be cutting off new growth and flowers, but at least trim and reshape them before any more time passes. They’ll be ugly by summer if you do not.
• Peach and plum trees very soon to remove strongly vertical shoots and encourage spreading habit.
• Grapes to remove 80 percent or more of cane growth.
• Evergreen shrubs as needed to reshape. If you’re having to prune them repeatedly, consider replacing them with something more compact.
• Roses-of-Sharon, crape myrtles, trumpetcreepers and other woody, summer-blooming plants as needed to shape. Never “top” a crape myrtle for any reason. It is never a good idea.
• Winter annuals with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to encourage vigorous growth, blooms.
• Asparagus with all-nitrogen fertilizer. In this somewhat rare case, ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) is good.
• Note that it is still too early to apply fertilizer to warm-season grasses such as bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia.
• Cool-season grasses (rye and fescue) to promote vigorous growth in warming spells of late winter. Use high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen food, with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Horticultural (dormant) oil spray to reduce populations of scales and overwintering insects.
• Broadleafed (non-grassy) weeds can be treated with appropriate broadleafed herbicide. Read and follow label directions carefully.
• Have frost cloth handy to cover annual flowers and vegetables, also flowering shrubs to protect them against frost and freezes.