Timely Tips — November 2013

It’s time to get things buttoned down for the winter. Here are guidelines for your main responsibilities. You’ll find much more detail in Neil’s brand new book, which includes a 48-page permanent calendar listing of things to do month-by-month.

clock_LGPlant: Cool-season annual color, including pansies, snapdragons, pinks, flowering cabbage and flowering kale. In addition, in South Texas, plant primulas, sweet alyssum, calendulas, English daisies, petunias. Plant daffodils, narcissus and jonquils, also grape hyacinths, directly into soil as you buy them. Tulips and Dutch hyacinths should be refrigerated at 45 degrees until Christmas. Wait until first freeze to dig and transplant established trees and shrubs.

Prune: Remove dead and damaged limbs from trees and shrubs, and cable tree limbs that might break during winter ice and wind storms. Save major pruning of trees and shrubs until mid- to late winter. Tidy up all perennial plantings to remove dead leaves, stem stubble, old seed stalks and other debris. Trim large patio plants as needed to move them indoors into brightly lighted spaces.

Fertilize: Annual color plants with high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer with each watering. Fescue, rye using high-nitrogen or even all-nitrogen lawn food. When fertilizing overseeded ryegrass in warm-season turf, apply at half the recommended rate. Withhold fertilizer from potted plants you’ll be moving back indoors for the winter.

On the Lookout: Apply broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D) to kill henbit, chickweed, dandelions and clover by Thanksgiving. In North Texas, especially, you won’t be able to spray again until spring. Use appropriate houseplant insecticide for insects, mites. Treat if necessary, and before bringing them in for the winter.

Odd Jobs: Protect plants from early frosts and light freezes to extend growing season. (See related story this issue.) Store tools for the winter, carefully cleaning and oiling all surfaces. Run mower, other power tools dry before storing, so gasoline won’t deteriorate over winter. Take equipment in for repairs now. Soil tests performed now will be back in advance of late-winter plantings. Contact your local county Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office. Disconnect hoses and sprinklers prior to first hard freeze.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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