Gardening This Weekend: February 29, 2024

If you told me I could list up to 15 tasks gardeners should do at this time of the year, here are the ones I would probably put at the top of that list.

Cool-season annual color, including petunias, stocks, English daisies, wallflowers, larkspurs and ornamental Swiss chard. It’s still a bit early for hot-weather annuals except in Deep South Texas.
Spring- and summer-flowering perennials as nurseries offer potted transplants.
Warm-season vegetables in South Texas. Finish planting leaf and root vegetables in Central and North Texas. Wait another week or so in the northern Panhandle. It is so tempting to push the season, but late frosts can break a gardener’s heart.
Spring-flowering trees, shrubs and vines as nurseries stock up. Protect all nursery stock from highway winds by wrapping them or carrying them in a closed trailer. You simply cannot drive slowly enough.

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Last call for winter pruning in northern half of the state. Once plants have broken bud and started growing pruning is much harder on them. Things are changing daily.
Scalp lawn by dropping mower blade one notch. That will help you eliminate many of the rank weeds. It will help your lawn green up more quickly as it allows the sun’s rays to soak into the ground.
Remove any branches that were killed by the hard freezes in recent winters.

Annual color and new vegetable plantings with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food to promote vigorous growth and bloom.
Trees, shrubs, and groundcovers with all-nitrogen fertilizer such as you’ll use on your lawn in a few weeks to promote vigorous new growth this spring.

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Apply pre-emergent herbicide Dimension, Halts, or Balan to prevent germination of crabgrass and grassburs. March 1-15 in Central and North Central Texas. March 20-30 for North Texas/Panhandle. (See related story this issue.)
Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) to kill existing non-grassy weeds such as clover, dandelions, chickweed and plantain. Read and follow label directions carefully for best results.
Aphids on tender new growth. Control with almost any type of organic or inorganic insecticide. In some cases, you can also rinse them off the plants with a hard stream of water.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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