Texas Agrilife Extension Service
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

January-February 2010

Garden Checklist for January-February 2010

Dr. William C. Welch, Professor & Landscape Horticulturist
Texas Agrilife Extension Service

  • Continue to water and fertilize cool-weather annuals such as snapdragons, Bells of Ireland, Stocks, larkspur, pansies, violas and sweet alyssum to encourage the best blooms. Now is an excellent time to transplant mature or established trees and shrubs while they are dormant.

  • 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 and books while contemplating changes in your garden.

  • Sow seeds in flats or containers to get a jump on plant growth before hot weather arrives. Petunias, begonias, and impatiens should be sown in January or February. Warm temperature plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and periwinkles, should be sown in late January or early February.

    Johnson's Amaryllis'
    Johnson's Amaryllis (A. johnsonii)

  • Apply slow release fertilizer to pansies and other cool season annuals. Distribute 5 pounds of cotton seed or alfalfa meal per 100 square feet of bed area or use commercial slow release fertilizer products according to label instructions.

  • Prepare beds and garden area for spring planting. Till in several inches of compost, composted pine bark or similar material.

  • Select and order gladiolus corms for February/March planting. Plant at two-week intervals to prolong flowering period.

  • Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworm pouches. The insect eggs over winter in the pouch, and start the cycle again by emerging in the spring to begin feeding on the foliage. Hand removal and burning of the pouches reduce future damage.

  • The life of poinsettias and other Holiday Season plants can be prolonged with proper care. Keep the soil moist, but provide drainage so that 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.

  • 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.

  • Hold off on pruning bush roses until February or early March. Use good shears that will make clean cuts. Remove dead, dying, and weak canes. Leave 4 to 8 healthy canes, and remove approximately one-half of the top growth and height of the plant.

  • Now is an excellent time to select and plant container-grown roses to fill in those bare spots in your rose garden.

  • When pruning shrubs, first prune out any dead or damaged branches; then thin out by removing about one-third of the canes or stems at ground level, removing the oldest canes only; and last, shape the rest of the plant, keeping in mind the natural shape of the plant. Water foliage plants as well as other containerized plants only when needed and not by the calendar.

  • Climbing roses should be trained but not pruned at this time. It is always appropriate to remove dead or weak canes. Weave long canes through openings in trellises or arbors and tie them with jute twine or plastic or other plant ties. Securing canes now prevents damage from winter/spring 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.

  • Now is the ideal time to select and plant grapes, fruit trees and berries. Contact your local Texas AgriLife Extension agent for localized variety recommendations. Prune peaches and grapes at this time.

  • Herbaceous perennials and hardy ornamental grasses may be cut back at this time. It may be difficult to assess the extent of freeze damage on citrus and semi-tropical plants until warm weather arrives. When new growth begins damaged material can be removed.

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