Winter Gardening Tips
Winter Gardening Tips
For color in the yard: Plant pansies, violas, dianthus, snapdragons, cabbage and kale, ornamental chard, stocks, alyssum, petunias.
If you have chilled your tulip and hyacinth bulbs, they should be planted now so that they will bloom when it is still cool.
Divide spring-flowering perennials before the ground freezes or when they are dormant and just before a new growth season. Most perennials that have been left in the same place for three or more years are likely to be overcrowded. Select the vigorous side shoots and discard the center of the clump. To insure a good display of flowers each year, stagger plant divisions so that the whole flower bed will not be redone at the same time. Don’t put all the divisions back into the same space where the original plant was. This will probably be too many plants in one area. Share with friends and neighbors, and then toss excess into the compost bin. Mulch carefully to protect the newly separated plants, but do not apply so much mulch that the crowns will rot.
Shred fallen leaves with the mower and put them as mulch under your shrubs and perennials or add them to your compost bin.
Trim the dead stalks, spent blooms and seed heads off the perennials. Clean up and remove debris from the flower bed. Work compost into the flower beds. A thick layer of mulch (3-4 inches) will help keep the winter weeds in check.
If you want to plant seeds for spring plants and get a jump on plant growth before hot weather, January and early February is the best time to sow the seeds. Among those that can be home-grown from seeds are tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, periwinkles, petunias, begonias, and impatiens.
Prepare beds and garden area for spring planting. Do maintenance and cleaning on your garden implements to be ready for spring usage.
Mature or established trees and shrubs can be transplanted now while they are dormant.
Prune hybrid tea and ever-blooming roses around Valentine’s Day. Remove dead and weak canes, leave 4-8 healthy canes, and remove approximately one half of the top growth and height of the plant. Do not prune climbing roses until after they have bloomed.
When buying plants, especially bare root, the medium to small sizes are usually faster to become established than the bigger plants and are more effective in the landscape than the larger sizes.
Apply a light application of fertilizer to pansy plantings. Repeat every 4 to 6 weeks, depending upon rainfall. Dried blood meal is an excellent source of fertilizer for pansies.
To control scale on hollies, fruit and shade trees, evergreen shrubs – apply a dormant oil spray during the winter.
Remove mistletoe from tree limbs as soon as you see it. It begins by forming on small limbs and a second season of growth will be much more difficult to prune away.
Don’t fertilize newly set out trees or shrubs until after they have started to grow, and then only very lightly the first year.
Watch for loopers on cole crops in the garden and on ornamental cabbage and kale. When first seen, treat them with a product containt Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis)
Bare root pecan trees (our official state tree) should be planted form December through mid-March. Container grown trees can be planted anytime, but fall or winter planting is best, to give time for the trees to adjust to their new environment before hot weather. Trees packed in plastic sleeves should be handled as bare root trees. Complete information on pecan tree varieties, planting, and their maintenance is available from the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.