Henderson County Texas Master Gardeners Plants for Henderson County

Henderson  County Master Gardeners 

 

  Monthly Garden Guide 

                          

E-Mail:  henderson-tx@tamu.edu                       

January February March April May June
July August September October November December
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.
  1. Planting and Transplanting. The winter season provides an excellent time to plant or
    transplant major trees and shrubs. The plants are quick to adapt when planted in cold,
    moist weather and will be well established prior to spring growth and prior to summer
    heat. Select new plants wisely, being sure they satisfy a definite landscape need. Do
    not over plant or choose plants which are not adaptable.
  2. Winter Pruning. Prune all evergreens and summer-flowering shrubs and trees in
    needed. Do not prune spring bloomers such as azaleas and quince, as you will be
    removing potential spring blooms.
    a. Hydrangea - Do not winter prune as their flower buds are established for next
    season's bloom. Prune immediately after prime bloom in early summer.
    b. Roses - Prune bush-type roses in mid to late February just prior to spring growth.
    c. Hollies and other berrying plants - Prune now, but remember hollies and other
    berrying-type plants such as pyracantha, produce berries on two-year-old wood;
    thus, if the gardener removes current or new growth, he also eliminates future
    berries.
  3. Plant Fruit & Nut Trees - Plant the correct variety.
  4. Plant Roses - Choose a sunny, open area exposed to morning sun. Plant in a well
    prepared, raised bed.
  5. Cultivate vegetable garden areas to expose weeds and grass roots to winter cold, thus
    reducing weed and grass population come spring. Be prepared for a mid-February
    planting. 
  6. Prepare to pant cool season annuals in February - some of these include balsam,
    calendula, hollyhocks, coneflower, California poppy, annual phlox, and larkspur.
  7. Fertilize established pansy plantings - Keep blooms picked to encourage more
    flowering.
  8. Prepare to plant gladiolus and dahlia in February.
  9. Provide winter protection for tender plants with a heavy mulch, temporary wrapping
    and being sure the plant has sufficient water prior to serious freezing.
  10. Make cuttings of English ivy, establish groundcover beds of ivy during January and
    February prior to spring growth.
  11. Give hydrangeas a dose of aluminum sulphate to turn blooms blue, or lime to deepen
    pink color.
  12. Rake over-thatched lawn grasses to remove winter-killed grass and to open and aerate
    turf.
  13. Prepare soils for spring planting. Add generous amounts of organic material such as
    peatmoss, leaf mold or compost to insure good drainage, water retention and aeration.
  14. Remove bagworm bags from junipers to prevent an increase of the insect.
  15. Evaluate winter damage - don't be too anxious to destroy winter damaged plants. Even
    though foliage may be damaged, releafing may occur come spring. Stem areas may be
    damaged, yet the plant may respond from the root system, best wait until early spring
    to prune or eliminate. Some cold damage may not be obvious until summer stress.
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 newness.  

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
in store for the May gardener in completing spring chores and in preparing for summer.
The following gardening guides may be helpful for May gardening days.

 

 

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
literally and often are concerned when evergreens such as magnolias, euonymus, live
oak, gardenia and some of the hollies, lose some of their old leaves during late spring
and early summer. The flush of new growth on many evergreens will cause a yellowing
of old leaves and leaf droppage. Nothing to be concerned about, just Mother. Nature
putting a new spring coat of green and discarding the old.

5.  Select and Plant Mums for Fall Blooms. Mums demand a sunny, well-drained location. Choose the variety (color, growth habit and size) so as to best fit the placement of effect you have in mind. Make cuttings of existing mums. Pinch back terminal growth on existing mums to induce branching.

 

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,
showy foliage.

 


9.  Continue to Plant Groundcovers and Vines.

 

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, 1010-10,
or 12-12-12.

 

11.  Fertilize Crepe Myrtles. Fertilize crepe myrtles to get that abundant summer bloom.
Apply approximately 1/2 cup per square yard of soil of a complete and balanced fertilizer
such as 8-8-8.

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
waterings.

 

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
shallow roots.

 

16.  Make Hanging Baskets for Summer Accents. Use cascading plants such as terns,
jews, petunias, portulaca, purslane, English ivy, Swedish ivy, etc.

 

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,
summer phlox, coreopsis, ferns, etc.

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
are chores that must not be neglected. Late summer is the time to plan for fall planting.

  1. Plant bluebonnet seeds this month into early September. Most wildflowers should be
    planted in late summer and early fail. Plant seed in open sunny areas. The soil should
    be lightly cultivated and watered if possible.

  2. Water lawn and garden thoroughly when needed, then wait until dry before watering
    again. Deep, thorough watering encourages deep root penetration and conserves water
    in the long run.

  3. If watering becomes a chore, consider using a good mulch in flower, vegetable and
    shrub beds.

  4. Water shallow rooted plants such as dogwood, camellia and azalea as they begin to set
    flower buds for spring blooms.

  5. Order you supply of spring flowering bulbs for planting in late October and
    November. Plan to chill tulip bulbs for 45-60 days before planting in December and
    early January.

  6. Don't forget to water fruiting ornamentals during dry weather. Holly and pyracantha
    berries are frequently shed if soil gets too dry.

  7. Shape rose bushes in mid-August, cutting out weak growth, and cut back extra tall
    canes to encourage new lateral growth and better fail flower production.

  8. Hot, dry weather and spider mites go together. Apply controls before population
    builds up. Keep careful check for mites on: tomato, marigold, portulaca, verbena,
    junipers, azaleas and roses. Control with Kelthane.

  9. Continue to remove faded flowers from annuals and roses to encourage new growth and
    more blooms.

  10. Clean up vegetable garden areas and place organic material in the compost pile. Plan
    to plant fail vegetables.

  11. Turn compost pile and keep it moist for good decomposition. Add a bit of commercial
    fertilizer from time to time.

  12. Powdery mildew on crepe myrtle and roses can be controlled with Benomyl and
    funginex.

  13. White fly can be controlled with Diazinon and Orthene.

  14. Still time to plant zinnia, marigold, celosia and portulaca for good color this fall.

  15. Prune spent blooms on crepe myrtle and water adequately to produce a second bloom.

  16. Last chance to start new Bermuda lawn from seed and still have it established before
    cold weather. Complete St. Augustine and centipede lawns to prevent possible freeze
    damage in early winter.

  17. Feed mum plantings and water often to encourage good fall blooms. Do not pinch or
    prune back now.

  18. Begin to plan and prepare beds for fall plantings of pansies.

  19. Repot overgrown houseplants to have them well established prior to overwintering
    indoors.

  20. Houseplants may take advantage of warm summer days out-of-doors provided they
    remain in shade and never direct sun. they will demand watering often. Due to high
    water demands, feeding is important.

  21. Complete all pruning of hydrangea. They set flower buds for next year's blooms in
    late summer and early fall.

  22. Evaluate where summer shade trees are needed now to determine best location when
    planting this fall and winter.

  23. Begin to make plans for winter planting of fruit trees, pecans and roses.

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.
  1. Caladiums - Dig and Store. As the leaves dry in the fall following night temperatures
    of 50 degrees and below, lift the individual caladium clumps and place in a warm, dry,
    well-ventilated shed or garage with good light for 10 days to two weeks. It is best to
    remove as much of the soil as possible when lifting as this will hasten the drying and
    curing process. Do not wash or wet the tubers.
    After the drying period, remove the dead leaves. Dust the tubers thoroughly with a
    combination of Captan and Sevin for protection against insects and disease in storage.
    Hand or store the treated bulbs in nylon stockings in a cool, dark, dry location, protected
    from freeze.
  2. Pansies and Violas. Prepare beds now for planting pansies and violas. Both like a
    sunny well drained soil. Obtain healthy plants and plant in October and November.
  3. Spring bulbs begin in the fall. Bulb beds must be well drained and well prepared prior
    to planting to insure good results in the spring. Prepare spring bulb beds now, working
    in ample amounts of humus and sharp sand if needed to insure a loose pliable soil.
    Select bulbs to be planted in October and November.
  4. Continue to water. Continue to water plants as they go into fall. Many flowering trees
    and shrubs have developed flower buds for next year's blooms, and if a lack of water
    exists, poor blooms may be expected. Water fruiting plants such as hollies, pyracantha,
    etc. to maintain a good berry crop.  Remove dead wood from plants which have suffered ,from the heat, and mulch around the root areas to conserve moisture and to protect the plant for winter.
  5. Divide, transplant and establish perennial. If you have not done so, September is a
    good time to dig and divide overcrowded bearded iris, daylilies, Liriope, perennial phlox
    and groundcover plants. An early fall planting will allow the plants to become well
    established prior to winter's cold. Water frequently after transplanting to prevent drying.
    Moisten soils prior to planting and prevent the plants form drying out until they are
    established.
  6. Begin to prepare houseplants for over-wintering indoors. Repot overgrown plants and
    feed established pots with a complete liquid houseplant fertilizer to encourage that last
    flush of growth prior to bringing indoors.
  7. Plant fall annuals Consider planting some of the following annual seeds in open
    ground during September. Be patient -- you may not see the results of seeding until next
    spring. The time to plant is now.
    Bluebonnet                        Baby's Breath                      Corn flower
    Blanket flower                   Larkspur                             Oriental Poppy
    Poppy California               Annual Phlox                       Wildflowers
  8. Spray Roses. Spray roses at regular intervals for blackspot and mildew control. Water
    often as fall blooms occur.
  9. Make cuttings of geranium. Cut 5 to 7 inch stems. Allow to "cure" or ends to seal
    off by leaving exposed to open air for 2-3 days. Strip lower foliage and pot in good
    potting soil. Keep in shade, and do not overwater.
  10. Pruning. Do not prune or cut back spring flowering trees and shrubs as you will be
    removing potential spring blooms.
  11. Compost. Start a compost pile to receive the leaves of fall.
  12. Gibberallic Acid on Camellias. Applying gibberellic acid to camellia buds in
    September and early October will produce most dramatic results. On many varieties the
    flower size may be increased significantly and the time of bloom made much earlier.
  13. Storing leftover seeds. Almost every gardener will have a few packets of vegetable and
    flower seeds left from spring and summer planting, or they may have collected seed from
    some of their favorite plants.
    Although old seed often has a lower germination rate as well as reduced vigor, many
    gardeners have difficulty convincing themselves to throw it away. Storing it under the
    proper conditions can greatly increase the storage life of most seeds.
    The seed should be air dry and placed in glass containers with air-tight lids and kept in
    a refrigerator or cool area at a temperature range of 35 - 50 degrees F.
    When saving seed from plants in the garden, remember that many of the new improved
    varieties are hybrids and there is often little chance that the offspring will resemble the
    parent.
  14. Cleanup. Clean established garden beds and replenish mulch materials where needed.
    Remove faded annuals and cut back perennial that have finished flowering.
  15. Mums. Be sure to stake mums that have gotten too tall to reduce wind and rain damage.
    Make new mum selections for the garden while in bloom. Keep watered as blooms
    develop.
  16. Plan for new plantings. Don't forget to make an inventory of landscape needs in your  landscape so you are ready to make selections as soon as new nursery stock is received
    in your favorite nursery or garden center. Select shade trees and shrubs for a late fall
    and winter planting.
  17. Watch for scale insects. Many of the eggs hatch at this time and the young crawlers
    are never more vulnerable that at this stage. Malathion, Diazinon or Orthene give good
    control at this stage. Be sure to read the label and follow instructions. Scale often
    appear on gardenia, camellias, hollies, euonymus, azaleas, ligustrum, houseplants, etc.
  18. Fall fertilization. Research has proven that fall feeding is very beneficial on lawns and
    ornamental plants. Root systems as well as future flower buds continue to develop in
    winter. A 3-1-2 ratio such as 15-5-10 will help overwinter lawns and ornamental plants
    and have them off to a good growing start come spring. Feed azaleas lightly now for
    their final feeding until after blooms in spring.
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.
  1. Think spring in October - plant spring bulbs. During October and November is spring
    bulb planting time -- daffodils, narcissi, hyacinth, crocus and Dutch iris. Choose
    healthy, sound bulbs from a reliable source. Prepare soils in a sunny, well-drained
    location.
  2. Selection & Preparation of Tulip Beds. Tulips should be selected now to be stored in
    refrigeration for 45-60 days prior to planting in December and early January. Do not
    freeze the bulbs or remove from the refrigerator until time for planting.
  3. Plan for Pansies. The popular pansy may be planted in October and November for
    scattered winter blooms and a real display of color come spring. Do not bother with
    seed, but buy healthy plants available at your favorite nursery. Pansies go great with
    spring bulbs! Crystal Bowl, Imperial and Universal series have good heat tolerance and
    will flower longer in the spring.
  4. Winter-Green Lawn - Sow Ryegrass. Sow annual ryegrass seed in mid-to-late October
    at the rate of five pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn area. Make an even distribution
    of seed for a uniform color and stand of winter grass. Mow and rake existing lawn prior
    to overseeding.
  5. Prepare Houseplants for Over-wintering - The cool days of October are ideal days for
    good houseplant growth and development. It, too, is a good time to groom and to
    prepare the plants for bringing into protected areas for winter. Repot overgrown plants.
    Prune back leggy or overgrown houseplants to induce compaction of growth. Remove
    damaged foliage. Bring plants back indoors prior to winter heat in the home, to allow
    for adaptability to new location.
  6. Dig and Store Caladium Tubers. Once the colorful summer caladium foliage has died,
    dig the tubers, shake off excessive soil, (do not wash) and allow to completely dry in a
    shaded, cool location. Once dry, cut away old stems, dust the tubers with a combination
    of Captan and Sevin for protection against disease and insects and store in a dry, cool
    location until planting late next spring. Many gardeners find nylon stockings ideal for
    storing the tubers.
  7. Make ready for winter planting. The winter season (November-February) is ideal for
    planting woody trees and shrubs. Plan for those new plant additions, prepare planting
    beds and visit nurseries to make plant selections. The plant's roots become better
    established prior to spring growth and summer heat if planted in winter.
  8. Establish a compost pile. Establish a compost pile to accommodate falling leaves and
    to prepare soils for spring planting.
  9. Order fruit catalogs. Order fruit catalogs and make variety selections for a winter
    (January-February) planting.
  10. Root Prune Wisteria Root prune wisteria which, even though large, has failed to
    flower. With a sharp spade, spade into the soil completely around the plant without
    disturbing the soil to cut the lateral roots.
  11. Clean-up time. A new season, a new look, time to remove remains of yesterday --
    faded annuals and perennials, overgrown plants, etc.
  12. Control scale insects. Control scale insects on ornamental plants such as gardenia,
    camellia, fatsia, hollies, euonymus and others. Spray to cover underside of leaf.
  13. Continue to Divide and Transplant popular perennial such as daylily, liriope, ajuga,
    iris, etc.
  14. Complete wildflower seed plantings.
  15. Enjoy the color of the season - fall color. Make choices of trees with good fall color
    for planting in your own landscape.
  16. Continue to plant annual seed of phlox, cornflower, larkspur and poppies.
  17. Mulch down for winter protection. A 4-6 inch mulch is an excellent insulation on
    semi-hardy plants and shallow-rooted plants such as azaleas.
  18. Tag native plants while still in leaf while they may easily be identified when
    transplanted in the winter. Root prune in November without lifting the plant to allow the
    plant to adjust prior to transplanting in January and February.
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
awakening spring.

  1. Continue to plant spring bulbs. Complete planting of daffodil, Dutch hyacinth and
    Dutch iris during November if possible. Choose healthy, sound bulbs and plant in well
    prepared soil. Mass bulbs for a big splash of color. 
  2. Select tulip bulbs. Select tulip bulbs and refrigerate for 45-60 days in the vegetable bin
    of your refrigerator prior to a late December or January planting, do not freeze the
    bulbs.
  3. Plant pansies. These winter and spring annuals are a delight to the garden, providing
    abundant and colorful blooms. Combine with spring bulbs and along informal borders.
    Provide the plants with a well prepared , fertile soil. The F1 hybrids tend to bloom
    longer into late spring due to their heat tolerance.
  4. Camellia time - Enjoy the blooms now of sasanqua and the popular camellia japonica.
    Select new varieties for a winter planting while in flower. Take advantage of local
    camellia shows. Consider time of bloom and cold resistance when selecting camellias.
    Camellias prefer a semi=shaded location in organic, acid, well-drained soil. Check for
    camellia tea-scale on the underside of foliage on existing camellia. Control with 
    or Orthene.
  5. Lime soils if necessary,  the early winter is an ideal time to adjust overly acid soils by
    liming with agricultural lime. Lawn grasses and vegetable gardens prefer a neutral soil
    pH or slightly acid. Our East Texas soils are oftentimes too acid for best lawn and
    vegetable production. The only certain way to know one's Ph is to soil test. however,
    if soil is know to be acid, an application of approximately 40-70 pounds of lime per
    1,000 square feet of soil area is recommended. Liming should hot be necessary except
    every three to four years.
  6. Prepare Christmas Cactus. Prepare Christmas cactus for Christmas blooms by placing
    the popular houseplant in a cool location with night temperatures below 65 degrees, if
    possible. Do not allow the plant to have more than 10-12 hours of light per day,
    particularly if you are growing the cactus under artificial lights. Keep soil on the dry
    side.
  7. Select mums. Check your favorite nursery for a supply of colorful mums for the patio
    and garden. Plant mum plants in a sunny location in the garden. Cut back dead blooms
    and stems and prune back dead foliage after the first killing freeze.
  8. Clean the vegetable garden area of dead vegetation which may harbor insects and 
    diseases. Preparation now will be a beginning for very early spring gardening. Late
    winter will be planting time for winter vegetables.
  9. Mulch plantings to protect against winter cold. pine needles and dried leaves make an
    excellent insulation against cold.
  10. Keep wet leaves raked from lawn grasses which may block aeration and sunlight.
  11. Begin selecting fruit and pecan trees for winter planting.
  12. Dig and store caladium tubers
  13. For the Birds - Prepare feed and winter shelter for our feathered friends of the garden.
    food, water and shelter encourage birds in the garden and may be supplied in attractive
    and effective ways. Place bird feeding stations in protected areas if possible, yet visible
    from indoor areas.
  14. Plant trees and shrubs. Late November through February is the ideal time to plant and
    transplant trees had shrubs during their dormant, non-growing period. Before planting
    any tree or shrub, become aware of how the plant grows in regard to its potential size
    and growth habits.
  15. Preparing planting soils. Every plant deserves a well drained, well prepared soil.
    Proposed planting areas should be prepared in advance of planting, adding organic
    material in the form of peatmoss, perlite, compost, fine bark, or leaf mold to insure good
    soil aeration, water retention and drainage. Dig the hole at least 12 inches winder and
    6 to 8 inches deeper than the new plant's immediate root area. A good soil surrounding
    the plant's roots will stimulate good root development and plant establishment, never
    fertilize a newly planted plant.
  16. Prepare soils for January and February rose planting.
  17. Plant Annual ryegrass and perennial ryegrass to cover bare soil areas if needed, or
    overseed over existing lawngrass for a winter green lawn. Sow 5 pounds of seed per
    1,000 sq. ft. of lawn area.
  18. Yellowing leaves on fruiting hollies may be expected now, due to the taxation of the
    plant to support its crop of berries. An application of a complete and balanced fertilizer
    will help to keep the foliage green.
  19. Be Thankful!
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.
  1. Complete the planting of spring flowering bulbs. Tulips may be planted as late as early January and still do well if properly refrigerated and chilled 45 to 60 days prior to planting.
  2. Select and plant needed woody landscape plants. Winter planting allows the new
    plantings to become well established prior to spring growth and summer heat.
  3. Cut mums back once flowers fade and foliage is killed by cold to encourage new shoots
    from the base when growth resumes next spring.
  4. Protect tender outdoor plants from winter cold with a 4-6 in mulch.
  5. Shape hollies and use the pruning for Christmas color. Remember hollies produce
    berries on old or second year growth. Avoid cutting back too much of the current
    season's growth as this is where next year's berries will be formed.
  6. Be sure to supply supplemental moisture for newly planted landscape materials during
    dry winter periods. Adequate soil moisture will help prevent freeze damage.
  7. Compost fallen leaves make an excellent organic soil for spring and summer
    gardening. Don't allow fallen leaves to collect on lawns to block off light and air.
  8. Select and plant pansies now. They make excellent color in the bulb beds. Feed
    established pansy plantings. "Crystal bowl", "Imperial" and "Majestic" series or types
    of pansy hold well in late spring and early summer heat.
  9. Transplant wad plants during the cold dormant season. Prune 1/3 of top growth to
    compensate for root loss. Plant at the plant's normal.growing depth in well prepared
    soil.
  10. Good time to make that dormant oil spray to control scale. Follow instructions on
    label to avoid damage to plant.
  11. Mistletoe will remain fresh and hold its decorative berries if the end of the stem is
    dipped in wax to seal off possible moisture loss. Mistletoe berries are poisonous.
  12. Keep soil in potted poinsettias and other holiday plants moist, but never extremely
    wet or overly dry. Protect the plants form heat vents. All potted holiday plants heed
    natural light and do best when not exposed to direct sun.
  13. Consider using a living Christmas tree this year so it can be recycled to the landscape.
    Upright junipers, cherry laurel, Japanese black pine, deodora cedar, cleyera and Virginia
    pine are good choices.
  14. Still time to sow annual ryegrass to hold the soil in that new yard. Sow 5 lbs. per 1,000
    sq. feet of lawn area.
  15. Clean vegetable gardens and annual bed, of weeds and old plants to prevent a carry-
    over of insects, diseases and weed seed.
  16. Last minute shopping suggestions for that gardening friend: a new gardening book,
    a subscription to a garden magazine, a plant, a nice container, good labor-saving tools,
    or even a promise of a rooted cutting from a the plant in your yard.
  17. Watch those aphids! They can build up rapidly on winter annuals.
  18. Control camellia petal blight. Clear off old mulch and other debris under the plant.
    spray ground beneath and around the plant with PCNB (Terraclor). Replace the old
    mulch with a clean new material. Pick all flowers as they fade or any that look diseased.
    Do not allow spent flowers to fall to the ground.
  19. Order seeds now so you will be ready next month to start spring annuals.
  20. Begin to select fruit and nut plant, for a winter planting.
  21. Prepare soils and beds for planting bare-rooted roses in January and February. Roses
    prefer a raised bed in well prepared soils that contain generous amounts of organic
    materials. Locate the rose planting to receive at least a half-day's sun, and good air
    circulation.
  22. Provide fresh water and feed for garden birds.
  23. Expect yellowing and leaf drop on tropical plants such as bougainvillea and Chinese
    hibiscus, etc. when over-wintering. Maintain healthy stems and roots. Plan to prune
    back when taken out-of-doors again in the spring to encourage new growth and blooms.
    Keep plants a little on the dry side and provide as much natural light as possible.
         

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