February is traditionally our 4-H livestock show month. As our 4-H members are busy working with their projects, activities in the garden remain slow. Many gardeners suffer from “gardening fever” and start getting excited when temperatures warm up a little. I must remind you that our cold weather season has plenty to go before it is over. It is however, important to start thinking about pre-emergent application of herbicides before those seeds emerge. Pre-emergent herbicides are products intended to kill weed-seeds and must be applied before those seed germinate. Many grass weeds (crab grass etc) and grassburrs (also known as sandburs) are best controlled with pre-emerge herbicides. I have selected the top five activities on the “to-do-List” for February from Aggie Horticulture:
- If you have ash trees in your landscape, keep an eye open for the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis), an insect invader from China that has killed many thousands of ash trees in the eastern United States, and is approaching our region. The Texas Forest Service has recently begun a monitoring program in a number of counties that may become affected by the half inch long beetles. If you discover any beetle you think may fit the description, please contact Joe Pase (East Texas) at 936-639-8170,[email protected] or James Houser (Central Texas) at 512-339-4589, [email protected].
- Continue to water and fertilize cool-weather annuals such as Flowering Tobacco, Bells of Ireland and Stocks 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.
- 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 early January. Warm temperature plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and periwinkles, should be sown in late January or early February.