Gardening This Weekend: February 8, 2024

Grab a tablet, and jot down your assignments. Here are the ones that popped into my mind.

Frost-tolerant annuals to replace any that got toasted by the cold back in January. The list includes pinks, snaps, primulas, wallflowers, stocks, Iceland poppies, English daisies, larkspurs, sweet alyssum and others.
Cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower) from potted transplants.
Irish potatoes from eyes. Cut “certified seed potatoes” from the nursery or feed store so that each piece has several eyes, or buds. Let the cut pieces air-dry for a couple of days before you plant them.
Bare-root fruit and pecan trees, grape vines, and bramble berries. Here’s a link to information on all the popular crops from the Texas A&M Extension Horticulture folks.
Finish all transplanting of established plants before buds start to break into new growth.

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Top growth killed by the January cold spell. If in doubt, wait. You can always trim dead tissues away in a couple of weeks after plants start to leaf out.
Grape vines to remove up to 85 percent of their cane growth. That will result in fewer clusters, but of far greater quality. This must be done in order the keep the vines manageable.
Peach and plum trees before they come into bud and bloom. (Hurry, South Texas!) Your goal is to remove strongly vertical shoots so you can encourage horizontal branching. Trees that are not trained will grow too tall for easy harvest. Heavy fruit loads will also be more likely to break limbs.
Bush roses by 50 percent. Each cut should be just above a bud that faces outward from the center of the plant. Confirm that your plants do not have rose rosette virus before you start pruning.
Do NOT top crape myrtles! It ruins their natural growth forms forever. However, if they have branches that need to be removed entirely, this is the time to do so.

Cool-season annual color with a high-nitrogen food. Water-soluble types give quickest results.
Ryegrass and fescue with high-quality lawn fertilizer. Wait until mid-spring to feed warm-season grasses.
Apply high-phosphate liquid root stimulator to newly transplanted trees and shrubs. Your independent nursery professional will have a couple of brands.

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Dormant oil spray applied to peaches, plums, euonymus, hollies and other shrubs and trees will help kill scales and overwintering insects.
Broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) will kill clover, dandelions, chickweed, plantain, and other non-grassy weeds. Check the directions as they relate to temperature restrictions. Annual bluegrass and other winter grasses cannot be sprayed at this point. Mark the calendar to apply pre-emergent granules the first week of September to prevent them next time around.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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