Just in time for Spring

Timely tips from Neil Sperry

Plant: Nursery stock. Supplies will be at their best later this month and through the balance of the spring. If you have existing trees and shrubs that need to be transplanted, that must be done before they start their vigorous spring growth. It may already be too late in South Texas, and you need to tend to it immediately in Central Texas areas. Leafy and root crops early in month. Warm-season vegetables early or mid-March in South Texas, late in month in North Central Texas, into April in Panhandle. Warm-season annual color plants first half of month in South Texas, later in month in North Texas. Warm-season lawngrasses in South Texas. It’s better to wait to plant them in North Texas until soil has warmed more, generally April and later.

Prune: Spring-flowering shrubs and vines as needed to reshape, immediately after they finish flowering. Finish all other reshaping of evergreens and other landscape shrubs and trees before they begin active spring growth. Remember: don’t “top” crape myrtles or shade trees. There is no justification for the barbaric style of pruning. Scalp lawn by dropping mower down one or two notches. Wear quality goggles and a respirator. It’s a nasty, dusty job.

Fertilize: Almost all plants will benefit from a high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen feeding in anticipation of their new spring growth. Lawns can be fed in South Texas, but wait until early April in North Texas. Apply water-soluble food to patio pots, new flower and vegetable transplants and other plants where you want a quick start. Pecans with all-nitrogen fertilizer monthly, first of March, April and May. Liquid root-stimulator monthly to newly planted balled-and-burlapped and bare-rooted plants.

On the Lookout: Prevent germination of crabgrass, grassburs with application of pre-emergent herbicide such as Team or Dimension early in March and again early in June. Use broadleafed weedkiller spray to eliminate non-grassy weeds such as clover and dandelions without hurting your lawngrass. Read and follow label directions to prevent damage to trees, shrubs and flowers. Protect cold-sensitive plants with frost cloth covering when needed. Snails and slugs can be stopped with Sevin dust or baits.

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