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TREES

January

  • Prune all shade trees, ornamental trees that do not bloom in spring, and palms.
  • Spray fruit trees with fungicide and oil to prevent disease and insects respectively.

February

  • Prune all shade trees (except oaks), ornamental trees that do not bloom in spring, and palms.

March

  • Water once thoroughly over entire root zone.

April

  • Spot treat with Bacillus thuringiensis if caterpillars cover more than fifty percent of the tree.
  • Planting season ends.

May

  • Prune ornamental trees that bloom in spring.
  • Apply mulch or mulch and compost over as much of the root zone as possible.

June

  • Apply one inch of water, i.e., 2/3 gallon, per square foot in the absence of significant rainfall.

July

  • Apply one inch of water, i.e., 2/3 gallon, per square foot in the absence of significant rainfall.

August

  • Nothing to do.

September

  • Apply mulch or mulch and compost over as much of the root zone as possible.
  • Apply one inch of water, i.e., 2/3 gallon, per square foot in the absence of significant rainfall.

October

  • Apply one inch of water, i.e., 2/3 gallon, per square foot in the absence of significant rainfall.

November

  • Apply 1 lb. of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet of root area during the first week.
  • Planting season begins.

December

  • Nothing to do.

WILDLIFE

Include both small and large trees in your yard to benefit wildlife more. Natives are your best bet. Consider leaving snags for wildlife if they are located in a safe place of your yard.

PLAN & DESIGN

When you plant a tree, you plant for generations. Spend a little extra time on selection and placement of your tree.

TOOL TIME

Clean pruning tools with a mixture of 5% bleach and oil.

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LAWNS

January

  • Mow once to keep winter weeds at bay.

February

  • Mow once to keep winter weeds at bay.
  • May apply a pre-emergent mid-month for warm-season weeds: corn gluten or Amaze if needed.

March

  • Core aerate and apply ¼ to ½ inch of screened compost.
  • Do not fertilize.

April

  • Mow three times.
  • Fertilize once at end of month with 3-1-2 ratio at 1 lb. Nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn or save money and use a mulching lawnmower and self fertilize the lawn with the grass blades. Don’t fertilize when rain is forecast.
  • Water once a week in absence of significant rainfall.

May

  • Mow every week rain or shine.
  • Water once a week in the absence of significant rainfall.

June

  • Mow every week rain or shine.
  • Water once a week in the absence of significant rainfall.

July

  • Mow every week rain or shine.

August

  • Nothing to do.

September

  • Mow every week rain or shine.
  • Water once a week in the absence of significant rainfall.

October

  • Mow every week rain or shine.
  • Core aerate and apply ¼ to ½ inch of screened compost.

November

  • Shred leaves with mowing repeatedly.

December

  • Nothing to do.

WATERING

3-2-1 Water plan to establish grass

Follow weekly Garden Geek Advice on watering established grass. No need to water in the winter – it’s not growing.

WILDLIFE

Turf Grass has minimal wildlife value. To encourage more wildlife consider reducing turf and adding beneficial plants

PLAN & DESIGN

As a rule of thumb only include turf grass when it has a purpose like for play areas or pets.

TOOL TIME

Gas Mower: Convenient to use but emits the same amount of pollution per use as driving 100 miles.

Electric Mower: Cord is most powerful but you will need to watch the cord location. Cordless rechargeable mowers particularly good for smaller yards.

Push Mower: Keep blades sharp and mow more frequently for best results.

HERBS

January

  • Pinch cool-season herbs like cilantro, parsley and dill weekly, or more frequently if you’re cooking also.

 February

  • Pinch cool-season herbs like cilantro, parsley and dill weekly.

 March

  • Cool-season herbs ( cilantro, dill, parsley) may be waning, but you can leave them up until they fully seed for small songbirds. Warm-season herbs ( basil, thyme, sage) should be taking off. You’ll need to water basil the most.

April

  • You should be harvesting your warm season herbs like basil. Pinch the top leaf at the next leaf junction. Basil will probably start needing a daily shot of hand watering. Cool-season herbs are done by now and you can pull them up.

May

  • Cool-season herbs are dying. Remove and collect seeds (cilantro seeds are the same as coriander seeds) and replace with warm-season herbs like basil, oregano and sage.

 June

  • Pinch back culinary warm-season herbs to use in your culinary adventures.

July

  • Continue your daily spritz of basil. If seed heads are forming, pinch them off to extend the life of the basil.

August

  • Continue your daily spritz of basil. If seed heads are forming, pinch them off to extend the life of the basil.

 September

  • Continue your daily spritz of basil. If seed heads are forming, pinch them off to extend the life of the basil.

October

  • Warm-season herbs are slowly dying. Remove and replace with cool season herbs like cilantro, parsley and dill. Plant extra dill for the Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. They’ll eat their fill and you’ll have spectacular swallowtails in your spring garden.

November

  • Cool-season herbs like cilantro and parsley are doing well now, as is evergreen rosemary and thyme. Harvest and add some zing to your holiday feasts.

 December

  • Cool-season herbs continue to flourish. Continue your culinary adventures. And remember if they are getting munched on, it’s likely swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Good for you!

WATERING

Herbs do best when hand watered. Warm season herbs like basil will need a daily drink in the absence of rain in the summer. Oregano and French thyme will need little to none once established and they will live for several years.

WILDLIFE

Many herbs that you like to eat, butterfly caterpillars like too. Plant a few extra to support our butterfly friends. Once herbs flower, pollinators will appreciate them.

PLAN & DESIGN

Most herbs need full sun and good drainage. Most are annuals, but some will live for several years. Mix herbs into perennial beds. Place your favorite culinary herbs in a location that has easy access to your kitchen and use long-lived ones such as French thyme, lavender and oregano as borders.

PERENNIALS

January

  • Many perennials will just be a collection of sticks at this point. Try to hold off pruning until after Valentine’s Day. Know you are protecting important winter cover for birds.  No water needed.

February

  • Cut back your perennials to the ground and mulch. No water needed. You can prep new beds for March planting.

March

  • You can start planning now. Water plants in as soon as you plant with a handheld hose. Then use the 3-2-1- establishment plan.

April

  • Plant new perennials. Cut-back plants should be showing good growth by now. Top mulch off as needed, no more than two inches and not too close to the plant stems.

May

  • Your spring-flowering perennials should be blooming well. If they are not, check to make sure they are not in too much shade. This is the main reason flowering perennials do not bloom well.

June

  • Water as needed when stress is observed– generally no more than once a week for second-year perennials. Hand watering at the base of the plant is preferred, but if you use an irrigation system, check heads to see they are not “pounding” your plant with water.

July

  • Continue to water as needed – generally no more than once a week for second-year perennials. Hand watering at the base of the plant is preferred, but if you use an irrigation system, check heads to see they are not “pounding” your plant with water. Some perennials like Salvias can be cut back by 1/3 to get a second flush in autumn.

August

  • It’s probably getting hot. Water once a week; by hand is most beneficial for perennials.

September

  • Fall bloomers should be gearing up. Water second-year perennials as needed. You can start planting new perennials now.

October

  • Enjoy the best time of year in the garden. If you don’t see a lot happening, research fall bloomers and plant now for next year. Less water is needed. If there has been a good rain or two, no water will be needed for the next few months.

November

  • In San Antonio, this is a shoulder season. No water for sure. If we got a cold snap, your perennials may be sticks early. Resist pruning them and keep them around for much-needed winter cover for songbirds.

December

  • No maintenance. Take this time to assess your landscape for evergreen backbone plants. If you have loaded your garden with flowering plants, your landscape may look bare. This is a good time to plant evergreens.

WATERING

Use the 3-2-1 plant establishment method to water newly planted perennials. Second-year and established perennials need water only when looking stressed, generally in the heat of the summer.

WILDLIFE

Perennials provide food in the form of nectar, berries, pollen and seeds. They will also provide cover for wildlife. If you are interested in supporting wildlife, include plants that provide food year-round and some mid-level evergreens. Refrain from cutting back the frozen sticks of some perennials until Valentine’s Day.

PLAN & DESIGN

Perennials come in all shapes sizes, colors and textures. These will likely be the stars of your garden that define your style, whether free-flowing cottage or sleek modern. Spend some time in our Find a Plant section and look at our galleries for inspiration. Then plan carefully. Remember if the plant needs sun and you plant it in the shade, it will not bloom. This is one of the biggest mistakes we see.

ROSES

January

  • No pruning.

February

  • Heavy pruning of modern tea roses: Remove 1/2 to 2/3 of the entire plant from the top down. Leave three to five main canes as structure for the season’s growth. Remove any branches smaller than a pencil in thickness, suckers from the base and any damaged or diseased branches. Open up the center of the bush to promote air circulation.
  • Prune Knockout roses to reduce the size by two-thirds. They will triple in size in spring.
  • Prune climbing roses down to main structural canes. Remove anything hanging into walkways.
  • Prune mutabilis shrub roses lightly by up to one-third.

March

  • For once-blooming roses that flower on last year’s canes, prune after they bloom.
  • Hard prune any other roses that were not pruned in February.
  • To prevent fungi, thoroughly spray leaves and stem with fungicide (Plant Wash™, garlic solution, neem oil or daconil).
  • Apply a small amount (1/2 cup) of slow-release fertilizer at the outer edge of the canopy and water it in thoroughly.

April

  • Prune (deadhead) spent flowers. Use gloves and sharp bypass pruners. Prune to remove weak growth and increase air circulation in the center of the plant. Make pruning cuts at a 45-degree angle, ¼ inch above a healthy bud that faces towards the outside of the plant.

May

  • Prune flowering branches by up to ¼ to remove spent flowers and weak growth, and to improve air circulation.
  • Water every other week if no significant rainfall has occurred.

June

  • Prune flowering branches by up to ¼ to remove spent flowers and weak growth, and to improve air circulation.
  • Water weekly if no significant rainfall has occurred.

July

  • Prune flowering branches by up to ¼ to remove spent flowers and weak growth, and to improve air circulation.
  • Water weekly if no significant rainfall has occurred.

August

  • Prune (deadhead) spent flowers.
  • Water weekly if no significant rainfall has occurred.

September

  • Fall pruning (by Labor Day). Fairly heavy grooming in August prepares the plant for a long autumn bloom. This is a good time to remove weak growth and improve air circulation.
  • Apply one (1) inch of compost and mulch around the plant or throughout the beds.

October

  • Enjoy the autumn bloom season.
  • Instead of deadheading, let the rose hips form to encourage the bush to go dormant.
  • Apply a small amount (1/2 cup) of slow-release fertilizer at the outer edge of the canopy.

November

  • No pruning.

December

  • No pruning.

WATERING

Best to hand water at the base or use drip to avoid wetting the foliage. Roses need little additional water once established.

PLAN & DESIGN

Choose Earth-Kind roses. Plant bush roses back from pathways and patios, and in full sun. For climbers, place on structures they can scramble up and  you can get to for pruning, if needed.

TOOL TIME

Bypass pruners work like scissors where two blades pass by each other. These pruners are more precise. Use them when making specific cuts that can affect the health of the plant. Long-handled pruners are often referred to as loppers.

Clean pruning tools after use with a mixture of 5% bleach and oil to prevent any potential transfer of disease.

ANNUALS

January

  • Plant bulbs, rhizomes and corms for late spring color.
  • Plant cool-season annuals such as snapdragons, stock, geranium and cyclamen.
  • Water by hand three times a week initially, then no more than once a week.

February

  • Continue weekly watering in the absence of significant rain.

March

  • Continue weekly watering in the absence of significant rain.

April

  • Remove cool-season perennials and replace with warm-season selections such as purslane, portulaca and impatiens.
  • Water by hand three times a week initially, then no more than once a week.

May

  • Water by hand no more than once a week.

June

  • Continue to hand water weekly.

July

  • Continue to hand water weekly.

August

  • Continue to hand water weekly.

September

  • Continue to hand water warm-season annuals weekly. Or pull up and use the space for planting reseeding Texas wildflowers such as bluebonnets, coreopsis, black-eyed Susans and more.

October

  • Continue to hand water warm-season annuals or if you’re ready now, there is still time to plant your Texas wildflower patch.

November

  • Plant cool-season annuals such as snapdragons, stock, geranium and cyclamen.
  • Water by hand three times a week initially, then no more than once a week.

December

  • Minimal water should be needed for established winter annuals. Water once a week if no rain.

WATERING

Follow our 3-2-1 Watering to establish plants.

Annuals will need more water. Hand water to save the most water.

WILDLIFE

Reseeding annuals like our beautiful Texas wildflowers are great for wildlife, but most heavily cultivated bedding annuals with big flowers and color may or may not benefit wildlife as much.

PLAN & DESIGN

If you are using showy bedding annuals, mass plant a small area or use in containers for a pop of color and ease of hand watering.

TOOL TIME

Soil Knife is a favorite tool of professional horticulturalists and perfect for digging the deep narrow holes you’ll need to plant those six-pack trays of annuals. It’s also great for weeding which you will be doing in most annual beds.

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