Timely Tips: February 2014

clock_LGHere are the most critical issues of this last month of the Texas gardening winter.

Plant: Fruit and pecan trees, bramble berries, grape vines early in month. Cold-hardy vegetables, including onions, English peas, cole crops, leafy and root vegetables (early in month in southern two-thirds of Texas, mid-month in northern areas). Cold-hardy annual flowers, including pansies, pinks, snapdragons, calendulas, poppies, alyssum, wallflowers, petunias, stocks, English daisies. Divide established clumps of summer- and fall-flowering perennials. Move shrubs and trees while they are still dormant, preferably early this month.

Prune: Summer-flowering shrubs and vines, also shade trees. Never “top” trees, including crape myrtles, for any alleged reason. Fruit trees, before growth resumes for spring. Pruning of peach and plum trees is especially important as you remove strongly vertical shoots and encourage mostly horizontal branching. Grapes to remove as much as 80 to 85 percent of cane growth from each vine. Bush-type roses to one-half their original heights. Always prune just above an outward-facing bud. Wait until May to prune climbing roses. “Scalp” lawn late February or early March to remove winter-killed stubble and many cool-season weeds. Wear good-quality respirator, goggles.

Fertilize: Asparagus with high-nitrogen fertilizer early in month. Ryegrass and fescue with high-quality, all-nitrogen fertilizer mid-month. Newly transplanted trees, shrubs with high-phosphate, root-stimulator fertilizer.

On the Lookout: Clover, dandelions, henbit. (Broadleafed weedkillers will control any non-grassy weeds. Apply during warm, dry spells.) Dormant horticultural oil sprays before buds start to swell late this month, to stop spread of scale insects. Begin fruit spray schedule as buds are fully swollen and showing color, but before they start to open. Check online for latest Texas A&M spray recommendations.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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