Henderson County Master Gardeners
Monthly Garden Guide
|JANUARY GARDEN GUIDE|
|January is "getting ready" time for a rewarding spring -- not only for dreaming and
planning for spring, but for actually planting and preparing plants for a new year and a new season. The beauty and production of each season in your landscape depends on previous month's planning and accomplishments.
|FEBRUARY GARDEN GUIDE|
|The fickle days of February bring sunshine and frost. It's getting
time for spring. Not only for dreaming and planning, but for actually planting and preparing for a new season.
1. Planting - Plant major trees and shrubs now. A late winter planting will allow the plants to become established prior to spring growth, and more important prior to summer heat. The dormant plants are better adapted and assure better livability .
2. Bare-root P1ants - demand a winter or February planting. They are a better buy at the nursery, but must be established while they are dormant or prior to spring growth. Plant bare root fruit trees, pecan, roses, ornamental peach, pear, plum and other selected plants such as crepe myrtle, etc.
3. Roses - There are numerous varieties and several types to choose from, miniatures to climbing or pillar roses. Now's the time to plant. Select healthy plants with 4 to 5 canes. Locate roses in a well prepared soil in sun - full morning, noonday sun, protected from hot afternoon sun is best. Plan to start a spray program to control aphids and blackspot diseases once foliage appears.
4. Transplanting - should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Replant plants at their normal ·growing depth. Prune back to compensate for loss of root. Winter pruning of evergreens and summer-flowering plants should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Do not prune spring flowering plants, as you will remove potential spring flowers. Try not to destroy the natural form of the plant. Know that pruning promotes more growth, thus the more you prune, the more the plant grows. Prune spring flowering plants immediately after their peak of bloom.
5. Winter pruning of evergreens and summer-flowering plants should be completed in February prior to spring growth. Do not prune spring flowering plants, as you will remove potential spring flowers. Try not to destroy the natural form of the plant. Know that pruning promotes more growth, thus the more you prune, the more the plant grows. Prune spring flowering plants immediately after their peak of bloom.
6. Vegetables - get ready for the early "cool season" crops such as lettuce, radish, carrots, cabbage, turnips, onions, Irish potato, spinach, beets, etc. Vegetables demand a well prepared soft in full sun. Select recommended varieties for our area. Summer Vegetables - be patient. Don't be in a hurry to plant tomato, peppers, squash, egg plant, etc. These plants demand warm days and warm soils to grow and are susceptible to late freeze and frost.
7. Plant Cool season annuals such as balsam, calendula, hollyhock, cone flower, poppies, annual phlox, larkspur and nasturtium.
8. Plant summer bulbs such as gladiolus and dahlia. Both like full sun in well prepared soils.
9. Be prepared to transplant perennial such as daylilies, cannas, mums and summer phlox once new spring growth appears.
10. Prepare garden beds. Turn soil now in anticipation of spring planting. Add generous amounts of peat moss, leaf mold, compost, bark, or rotted and aged manures. Plan to apply organic materials to existing clay and/or sand to insure good drainage, aeration, and water-holding abilities - a good soil is the key to good plant production.
11. Clean lawns now in anticipation of spring growth. Rake to remove as much dead thatch as possible, to aerate and allow for good water penetration. Plan to feed lawns in early April and to plant new lawn grasses in late April into May.
12. Clean garden beds. Cut back the dead of winter. Rake clean and lightly work soils around existing plants.
13. Winter damage, don't be too quick to remove damaged plants. Scratch bark and stems if they remain green, there is hope. Prune back to encourage new spring growth.
14. Make cuttings of English Ivy. Transplant runners and cuttings now prior to new spring growth. English Ivy demands morning sun or full shade in a moist, yet well drained soil.
15. Houseplants. Keep on hold, now until late March, when the spring season allows for moving outdoors for repotting and pruning back for new spring growth. Hold back on feeding until spring.
16. Apply emergence herbicides to kill weed seed prior to germination and before greening of lawns.
17. Plan before planting. Choose new plantings with a purpose and plan in mind. Choose the best plant to satisfy a given landscape need. Know the plant you choose - its demands, its character and ultimate size and plan accordingly. Don't over plant.
|MARCH GARDEN GUIDE|
|March -- new life; the
earth awakens and responds to a new season ..
time now to till, to sow, and to contribute to the
1. Get a head start on spring insects. Watch for and control aphids which feed on new growth; cutworms, scale and caterpillars.
2. Be prepared to eliminate or prevent insects and diseases as spring foliaged appears. Funiginex fungicide is highly recommended for black spot and mildew control on roses, continue to plant container roses.
4. Do not remove bulb foliage, as the foliage feeds the bulb; therefore, it should brown or "ripen" on the plant before removal. If daffodil foliage interferes with neighboring plants or become unsightly, plait the foliage.
5. Continue to plant the vegetable garden. Plant: tomato, cucumber, lettuce, beans, corn, mustard, cabbage, okra, radish, squash, spinach, turnips, eggplant, onions. Be prepared to protect young tender vegetable plants against late frost (average last frost date - March 15. So 50% percent of of frost happens after March 15.
6. Plant dahlia tubers in rich, well-drained soil in sun.
7. Repot overgrown pot plants in late March. Prepare a loose organic, well-drained potting soil which will not pack with regular waterings. Keep plants shaded.
8. Clean, thin out and transplant overcrowded perennial beds such as daylily, mum, liriope, shasta daisy, etc. Rework the soil before planting again. Replant at normal growing depth.
9. Complete gladiolus plantings.
10. Prepare the lawnmower for its spring and summer workout.
11. Prune back overgrown and/or winter damaged ground cover beds of English Ivy, asiatic jasmine and vinca to encourage new compact growth.
12. Control springs weeds, which quickly seed for next year's crop. Do not allow to go to seed. Grab out easy-to-pull weeds.
13. Continue to feed pansies a light application and continue to pick blooms to encourage more flowering.
14. Prevent azalea petal blight which attacks the blooms only, causing them to collapse as if scalded. May be prevented by spraying flowering azaleas at 2 - 3 day intervals with Dithane Z-789, Thylat or Zerlate.
15. Fertilize azaleas and camellias as soon as blossoms begin to fade. Several light applications of an acid-type fertilizer at monthly intervals is better than one heavy application. Mulch for the summer.
16. Collect pecan graft wood and store in refrigerator for grafting in April and May.
17. Plant ground cover plants such as English Ivy, liriope, confederate jasmine, vinca, dwarf junipers, etc.
18. Caladium tubers are now available in the nurseries and garden store. Make you selection early to insure getting the colors you want. Do not plant out-of-doors until the soil temperatures reach 70 degrees F. late March and April.
19. Prune spring flowering plants immediately after bloom and just prior to spring growth. Prune winter injured plants such as obelia, pittosporum and azalea to encourage new growth.
20. Plant spring and summer annuals. Plant after danger of frost and freeze - early sping annual best planted from transplants so as to lessen summer heat - summer annuals such as zinnia, marigold, cosmos, vinca, etc. may be seeded.
21. Continue to plants woody trees and shrubs. Select and plants azaleas while in bloom. Cut and loosen root ball on azaleas prior to planting. Plant in organic soil at normal growing depth.
22. Select and plant flowering perennial for garden color. Plantings may include cannas, shasta daisies, daylilies, yarrow, columbine, hosta, garden violets, iris, lantana and many others.
|APRIL GARDEN GUIDE|
|Amazing April - Mother nature
returns from her winter vacation. Time to get out and
help her show the wonders she can provide.
1. Feed Azaleas once they have completed bloom. Use a special azalea-camellia fertilizer or a complete and balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8. The shallow rooted azaleas are easily injured by over-fertilization. Make light and frequent applications. Safe formula One tablespoon of fertilizer per foot of height of established plant or apply approximately 1/4 - 1/2 cup per sq. yard of soil area. Repeat applications monthly - May, June, September and October. Prune winter damaged plants just prior to new growth. Future winter damage may occur with summer heat stress with the splitting of major stems near soil line.
2. April - Plant Lawn Grasses. As nights begin to warm and spring rains become more available, lawn grasses begin to grow. New lawns may be planted and old lawns improved. There are several grasses from which to choose; yet, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Thus, selection should be based on personal desired in a grass and homegrounds growing condition.
Plant sprigs and sod of improved Bermudas, St..Augustine, Centipede and Zoysias, and seed of common Bermuda. Centipede grass may also be sown from seed, but germination is slow and erratic.
3. Caladiums for Summer Shade - April is caladium planting time. Caladiums, whether in pots or shaded garden beds, add a vivid richness to any summer garden. The caladium is a warm weather plant and does best planted now after the soil warms up or when temperatures average 70 degrees or more. Even though caladiums like warm temperatures, they prefer cool moist, well-drained soils in the landscape. The tubers should be planted approximately one and one-half to two inches deep and from 12 to 18 inches apart in loose, organic soil.
4. Other Seasonal Plants for Shaded Garden may include:
Ferns - native or cultivated ferns always add a touch of garden coolness and freshness. Ferns love shaded garden pockets with generous summer watering and humidity. Plant in loose, Organic rich soil and use as a backdrop for the above colorful annuals.
Coleus - fast growing annuals with colorful foliage, easily propagated from cuttings and very available at nurseries. Impatiens (Sultana) - clear, bright colored blooms for the summer shade.
Bedding Begonias - for mass plantings, borders or containers.
5. Geraniums - April is geranium planting time, and these popular plants are excellent for color masses in the garden. Obtain sound, healthy plants. Locate the plants in a rich, loamy, well-drained soil. Several inches of coarse peatmoss spaded into the top six inches of soil will help the plants tolerate summer conditions. Allow ample growing room for each part. Even though small at the time of planting, healthy plants will fill, a 12 to 15 inch spacing between plants. Geraniums, which are available in many new and exciting varieties, tend to prefer a partially shaded location, often-times being damaged by severe summer sun and heat. This is not to say that they do well in full shade. Locate the plantings where they are protected from the heat of afternoon sun, yet where they have a morning sun or sun for good flower production.
6. Annuals to Plant in April include: Ageratium, Dusty Miller, Amaranth, Verbena, Cleome, Morning Glory, Cockscomb (Celosia), Moss Rose, Coleus, Petunia, Sunflower, Zinnia, Cosmos, Gourds, Gloriosa Daisy, Salvia, Periwinkle (Vinca) and Marigold.
7. Groom Landscape Plants- Prune overgrown, spring flowering trees and shrubs once have have completed, bloom. Think in terms of "thinning" rather than "hacking" the plant back.
Cut spring flowering annuals such as sweet pea, larkspur, pansies and calendula blooms often to encourage new growth and more bloom.
Falling and yellowing leaves of magnolia, photinia, hollies, gardenia, and cleyera is normal at this season a sinew growth and foliage comes forth.
Winter injured plants should be watered during dry periods. Be patient in cutting the plant back, cutting only dead wood and damaged foliage prior to spring growth. Green stems may leaf out again. Prune back groundcover plantings such as Monkeygrass and Asiatic Jasmine which has been damaged by cold to encourage a new and vigorous surge of new growth,
8. Cannas - Easy Summer Blooms - The summer canna is easily grown in rich soil in part shade or full sun. New varieties with compact growth and large vivid blooms have made this old plant all the more popular and more beautiful.
Canna Leaf-Roller Prevent this insect from feeding on the rolled leaves of cannas.
9. Continue to plant ornamental plants. Late spring planting is certainly successful if quality plants are obtained and care is taken in planting and caring for the plant during its first summer season.
10. Watch for and Control Spring Insects. Scale, whiteflies on gardenia, holly, camellia and ligustrum; aphids on new growth and cutworms on tender new plants; eastern tent caterpillars in trees and large shrubs such as plum, pecan, etc.
11. Complete spring fertilization of lawn grasses and plants if you haven't done so.
As the new gardening season gets underway, don't forget to use grass clippings, vegetable tops, leaves and other organic matter available for the compost pile. This will provide excellent material later for potting soil, flower beds and other garden needs.
TIMELY GARDENING QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
1. May I plant wildflowers now?
No. Spring and summer wildflower seed are planted in early fall - September into October. select the ones you like now while they are in bloom and order seed for a fall planting. Many perennial wildflowers are being offered as transplants in nurseries and may be planted now from transplants.
2. Why have all my German or Bearded Iris turned white?
Bearded iris do not change colors. This iris likes cold winter and mild summers, therefore, some varieties do not repeat bloom well in the East Texas area. The white tends to be well and continues to repeat. This is not to say beautiful colored varieties don't bloom here -- they do; yet some do not.
3. What is the best way to grow Hosta in East Texas?
Hosta, a more northern plant suffers from our intense summer heat, therefore, must be grown in a shaded garden bed in loose organic soil with a mulch to keep its root system cool. Water in summer. Hosta can be grown successfully in East Texas.
4. Why isn't my crepe myrtle leafing out?
Winter freeze damage will kill many crepe myrtle. Unusual cold, plus drought at the time of a freeze will cause this unusual kill. Many plants will return with sucker growth from the roots. Remove all dead wood and encourage the new root growth.
5. How can I encourage my Bougainvillea and Chinese hibiscus to recover and bloom from over wintering indoors?
Place the plants out-of-doors now in full sun. Prune halfway back to encourage new growth which in turn will produce flowers and feed with a high-phosphorus fertilizer.
6. How can I encourage my dogwood to flower better next year?
Feed now with an application of super phosphate. Plan to water if possible in August
when the plant begins to form flower buds.
|MAY GARDEN GUIDE|
May welcomes the approach of summer -- a change of season. Busy days of gardening
1. Mulch Plants. Plants should be mulched with pine straw, straw, leaves, etc. to conserve summer watering. A 4"-6" mulch will help control weeds and keep the soil cooler.
2. Establish a Compost Pile or Bin for Gardening Soil. Organic materials such as leaves and lawn clippings, will decompose when mixed with soil to form a good organic garden soil. Water from time to time adding commercial fertilizer to aid in decomposition.
3. Water Hydrangeas. Keep hydrangeas well watered for summer blooms.
4. Leaf Droppage of
Evergreens. Many gardeners take the description "evergreen" too
6. Tree and Shrub Fertilization. Complete major tree and shrub fertilization if you haven't done so.
7. Prune Climbing Roses. Prune climbing roses if needed after their major peak of bloom.
8. Caladium and
Coleus. Remove flowers on caladium and coleus to encourage healthy,
10. Give Rose Plants Monthly
Feeding. Feed rose plants monthly with prepared rose food
or 1/4 to 1/2 cup per plant for a complete and balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8,
11. Fertilize Crepe
Myrtles. Fertilize crepe myrtles to get that abundant summer bloom.
12. Pinch Back Young Flowering Annuals by removing the terminal which, in turn, will produce more branches and blooms.
13. Water newly established plants during the dry periods.
14. Continue to Establish New Lawngrasses. Provide a well prepared soil and frequent
15. Cultivate Annual and Perennial Beds
to eliminate soil compaction, to allow for later
absorption and to control weeds. Lightly scratch the upper soil so as not to disturb
16. Make Hanging Baskets for Summer
Accents. Use cascading plants such as terns,
17. Feed Houseplants Often to keep them on the grow.
18. Plant Summer Annual Plants that take the heat such as periwinkles, marigold, cosmos, gallarida, portulaca, etc. Annuals for shade may include: impatiens, coleus, caladium, bedding begonias and fern.
19. Perennial. Select summer perennial: shasta daisy, dusty miller, hosta, daylilies,
|JUNE GARDEN GUIDE|
June, its summer in East Texas and time to enjoy the rewards of the season...fresh vegetables, watermelon, crepe myrtle blooms and summer annuals make their delightful display. Time to attend important June gardening chores.
1. Hanging baskets should be thoroughly soaked by placing the basket in a large tub or container and soaking the entire root ball. Feed baskets often. Liquid fertilizer may be added to the water every two weeks when watering.
2. Establish new baskets for summer accents. Basket plants for sun may include: portulaca, purslane, lantana, verbena, petunias, dwarf and creeping junipers. Shade baskets may include bedding begonia, impatiens, ferns, airplane or spider plant, Swedish ivy and wandering jew.
3. Control powdery mildew on crepe myrtle using fungicides.
4. Sooty mold may appear on crepe myrtle. This condition is caused by aphids which secrete a honeydew which blackens on the foliage Control aphides to prevent honeydew.
5. Insects to watch for at this time on landscape plants include spider mites on junipers, roses, verbena and marigold, etc; lacebug on pyracantha and sycamore, bagworms primarily on juniper sand other on new growth.
6. Continue to spray .rose bushes for blackspot control with fungicides. Keep infected leaves removed from plants and ground area.
7. Annual flowers that can be seeded now .through August include zinnias, marigolds, protulaca and periwinkle. Keep old spent flowers removed form current plants, to keep them blooming.
8. Still time to plant mums if you can obtain strong healthy container - grown plants. Continue to pinch terminal-growth on existing established blooms to induce more branching
9. A summer mulch of such as pine bark, pine straw, grass clippings and leaves can be very beneficial to retain moisture, protects the root system, and aids-in weed control. A mulch makes plant beds more attractive. Also, mulches serve as a protection to plants by keeping the lawn mower from coming into with
10. Azalea roots do not go deep, therefore, they need good summer watering and a mulch to conserve water. 4" to 6" of pine needles are ideal.
11. Freeze damage may occur on azaleas, evident by the splitting of major stems 4" to 8" from ground level, remove dead canes at ground level.
12. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be helped through the heat of summer. Keep grass and weeds from competing with the plants for moisture by providing a generous circle of cultivated soil around each new plant. A soil covering or mulch around these new plants is n some ways better than cultivation. Summer watering is essential.
13. Continue to plant new lawn grass areas. Water often until grass is established.
14. Watering - Summer heat will cause stress on many ornamental plants - important that the gardener water well and deep. It's not how often, but how much. Shallow watering cause roots to come to surface soils, which in turn, will dry out all the faster. Water deep! ...and less often.
15. Root cuttings of your favorite plants. Use 4-5" cuttings from current season growth. Keep cutting sin shade and moist. Cover with clear plastic to hold in with clear plastic to hold in humidity. Heat and humidity is essential for root formation. Rooting hormones are available to encourage root establishment.
16. Water thirsty plants often such as caladium, coleus, impatiens, hydrangea, azalea -- and container plants.
17. Don't damage trunks of wooden plants with lawnmowers and weed eaters.
18. Remove the flowers on caladium and coleus to encourage attractive foliage.
19. Don't overpot bougainvillea, as confined roots, good sun and feeding will encourage blooms.
20. Harvest garden vegetables often to encourage more production.
21. Cut garden flowers for indoor bouquets in the early morning or late afternoon. Place in deep water in a cool location for several hours before arranging. Milky stems such as. hydrangea should be burned to seal off cuts before placing in water.
22. Lightly cultivate soils around annuals, perennial, vegetables and plants frequently watered to allow easy water penetration. Mulching will help to keep the soil open and loose.
23. Place houseplants out-of-doors in a shaded garden bed to encourage new growth. Most houseplants love summer heat and humidity provided they never receive direct sun. Water houseplants out-of-doors often as they dry out quickly. Mist foliage to encourage new growth.
|JULY GARDEN GUIDE|
July, is the time the weather gets hot, and the rain
disappears. Time to give your plants extra attention
to adequate moisture, protection from pests, plan a fall
garden, and plan fall plantings.
1. Water lawns and gardens when needed, giving a thorough soaking rather than frequent light sprinklings.
2. Check plants for mulch. Replace or add when needed. Mulching conserves water.
3. Keep close check on recently planted plants. Inadequate root systems and drought can be damaging. Plants, such as azalea, pittosporum, etc., injured by late cold should not be allowed to suffer drought stress.
4. Sow seeds of the following annuals for late summer and fall flower: marigold, zinnia, periwinkle, petunia, cosmos, portulaca, ageratum. Transplants available from your nurcery or garden center will usually provide faster color.
5. Check your lawnmower. With hot weather, raise the mower blade slightly, to avoid scalping and damaging the grass.
6. Check junipers, roses and marigolds for red spider mites. The brown, discolored foliage may be due to mite damage.
7. Don't leave landscape areas unattended for more than 4-5 days of vacation· best to arrange to have someone take care of the yard if you leave for a longer period. Harvest fresh vegetables often. Watch for drying out of pot and tub plants and baskets.
8. To keep banging baskets looking attractive, soak the baskets in a tub of water every dew days in addition to the regular watering. This is also a good time to fertilize baskets, but never apply fertilizer to dry plants.
9. Don't forget to water thirsty plants like hydrangea, coleus, caladiums and chrysanthemums. Even in shade, the hot dry winds can soon deplete the soil of moisture where these plants are grown.
10. Bluebonnets and other East Texas wildflower seeds should be ordered soon so you will be ready to plant in August and early September.
11. If you have planted copper plants for fall color, be sure to pinch out the tips of the branches to encourage branching and develop busy compact plants.
12. Many spring plants are setting winter buds in late July and August. Drought conditions can affect size, quality and quantity of spring flowers. This is true of azaleas, camellias, peaches, pears, forsythia and other similar plants. Don’t allow them to suffer drought stress.
13. Clean up iris beds, thin out clumps if crowded. They can be transplanted anytime from late July to October.
14. Don't forget the regular spray program on roses to prevent blackspot.
15. Control grasshopper infestations.
16. Summer is a good time to add needed construction elements to the garden. Consider patios, fencing, decks, garden pools, walks and overhead structures.
17. Now is a good time to evaluate where you most need landscape house shade. Locate where trees are needed now for a winter planting.
|AUGUST GARDEN GUIDE|
August is perhaps the most trying month for plants and people in East Texas, yet there
|SEPTEMBER GARDEN GUIDE|
|September......summer is reluctant to give way to fall -- a mixture of undecided summer and
fall days calls for the continued summer watering and weeding, while the busy gardener makes plans for fall gardening.
|OCTOBER GARDEN GUIDE|
|October and autumn days represent a new gardening season and timely gardening chores
to be accomplished. Do not allow the short, delightful days of autumn to pass without reviewing the many possible gardening activities.
|NOVEMBER GARDEN GUIDE|
|November gardening days are 'getting ready days '...preparing for winter's cold, spading
for winter planting and planning for anticipated spring. November is the time to put to rest, to watch nature slip into dormancy for winter's silence and to dream by the fireside of an
|DECEMBER GARDEN GUIDE|
|December is the time to reflect on the
past year, and plan for the new year. What will add
the beauty of your home. Remember your gardening
friends, give them started plants or shrubs.
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