Garden Checklist for January & February 2001
By Dr. William C. Welch
Professor and Landscape Horticulturist
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
- Make flower and vegetable garden plans now before the rush of spring planting. Time spent in armchair gardening before the fireplace will pay off in improved plant selection. Besides, it is fun to page through the garden catalogs.
- Donít fertilize newly set out trees or shrubs until after they have started to grow, and then only very lightly the first year.
- When buying plants, the biggest is not always the best, especially when dealing with bare-root plants. The medium to small sizes (4 to 6 feet) are usually faster to become established and more effective in the landscape than the large sizes.
- Now is an excellent time to select and plant container-grown or bare root roses to fill in those bare spots in your rose garden or borders.
- Climbing roses should be trained but not pruned at this time. Weave long canes through openings in trellises or arbors an tie them with jute twine or plastic/wire plant ties. Securing canes now prevents damage from winter winds, and contributes toward a more refined look to the garden when roses are blooming. Wait until after the spring flowering period to prune climbing or once-blooming shrub roses.
- The life of the flowering pot plant received as a Christmas gift can be prolonged with proper care. Keep the soil moist but provide drainage so excess moisture can flow from the pot. Keep the plant out of range of heating ducts and away from heating units. Keep in a cool room at night, preferably at 60 to 65 degrees F.
- Now is an excellent time to transplant mature or established trees and shrubs.
- Be sure to prune back the top of established trees and shrubs before moving. Remove about one-third to one-half of the top to compensate for roots lost in digging.
- Plan your flower and vegetable garden now before the rush of spring planting.
- Sow seeds in flats or containers in protected structures to establish plant growth before hot weather arrives Petunias, begonias, and slow-growing transplants should be sown in early January. Warm-temperature plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and periwinkles should be sown later this month, or in early February.
- Put a light application of fertilizer on established pansy plants. Use one pound of 13-13-13 or similar fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area. Repeat the application every 4 to 6 weeks. Dried blood meal or cottonseed meal (3 to 4 pounds per 100 square feet of bed) area are also excellent sources of fertilizer for pansies.
- Prepare beds and garden area for spring planting.
- Select and order gladiolus corms for February and March planting. Plant at two-week intervals to prolong flowering period.
- Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworms in pouches; if left on the plants, the worms can start their cycle again by emerging from the pouches in the spring and feeding on the foliage. Removing the pouches by hand and burning them up is an excellent means of reducing the potential damage next spring.
- Rose pruning in South Texas may be done in January. Remember that climbers and other once-blooming roses are best pruned after the spring flowers have faded.
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