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MARCH 24, 2018


It’s February… What Needs To Be Done


  • Cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and potatoes should be planted mid-month, or about 4 weeks prior to the average last freeze date (March 15 in Ellis County). Beets, carrots, lettuce, radishes, spinach, Swiss chard and “greens” (collard, mustard and turnip) should be planted 2 to 4 weeks prior to the average last frost.
  • Plant asparagus crowns in 10-12 inches of soil. When buying crowns, look for 2-year old root systems with healthy roots.
  • When buying plants, biggest is not always best, especially with bare root plants. Small to medium sizes establish faster.
  • Dig and divide warm-season perennials (cannas, coneflowers, perennial salvia, mums) before they break dormancy.

Fertilizing and Pruning

  •  Prune bush roses around Valentine’s Day. Prune old, dead and weak canes back to the ground. Leave 4 to 8 vigorous canes, removing one half of their growth above an outward-facing bud. Wait to prune climbing or leaning roses until after they bloom. Prune errant canes any time to maintain shape.
  • Herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses may be cut back now. Prune autumn sage (Salvia gregii) by 50%. Mexican feather grass does not require pruning.
  • Dig and divide large clumps of ornamental grasses, especially if the center of the plant has died.
  • Cut or mow liriope before new growth emerges. Trim Asian jasmine back to 4 to 5 inches.

Garden Watch

  • Begin controlling insects and diseases on fruit and nut trees. Spraying is essential for a successful harvest. Contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Ellis County for a copy of the “Homeowners Fruit and Nut Spray Schedule.”
  • Look for aphids and caterpillars on vegetables, and control with insecticidal soap and Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), respectively.
  • Check for scale insects adhering to the trunk, branches and leaves of hollies, euonymus, shade trees, fruit and pecan trees. Apply horticultural oil to control these and other over-wintering insects.
  • For the more difficult-to-control crape myrtle bark scale, apply a neonicotinoid, as a soil drench to the root zone of infested trees.


  • It’s rose planting time! Consider Texas A&M Earth-Kind varieties which are easy to maintain. For more information, go to the http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkindroses
  • Maintain 2-4 inches of shredded hardwood or other wood mulch in beds and containers year-round to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Taper off mulch near the base of plants.
  • Landscape Rule of Thirds-When designing or renovating your landscape, utilize the “rule of thirds” by planting 1/3 drought-tolerant turfgrass, 1/3 native and adapted planting beds and 1/3 pervious hardscape. This will give you more visual appeal, usable space and a reduction in water requirements, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Aerate lawn area. Clay soil becomes compacted over time. To increase the soil’s ability to absorb water, aerate the lawn in late winter/early spring and apply a 1/4 inch of compost.


Click here to read the complete  E-Garden Newsletter February 2018


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