Monthly Garden Tips

Yantis Lakeside Gardens

Living and Gardening in the

Beautiful Texas Hill Country

Monthly Garden Tips from Sheryl's Garden

Photographs by Robert and Sheryl Yantis

January s is still an excellent time to plant fruit and nut trees. It is also time to spray the fruit trees you already have in the ground with dormant oil spray. Orange oil is great for this and is good for the environment.

Try to finish pruning your oak trees this month.

You can still plant your container roses. The best time to prune your roses is around Valentine’s Day.

Select and plant your onion sets, and start your spring flower and vegetable seeds indoors this month for transplanting later when it warms up. January is also the time to dig your new asparagus beds for planting in February.

Water your trees, shrubs and plants if it doesn’t rain.

On those cold dreary days read your garden and seed catalogs and plan this year’s landscape. It is also a good time to start a garden journal to help you remember what happened this year.

February: Enjoy your Blue Bonnets.

February is the best time to prune your peach trees as well as other fruit and nut trees.

Prune your roses such around Valentine’s Day. Shrub roses need to be pruned only to shape them.

Do not prune your oak trees between February and June. Wait until July to prune your red oak family of trees (which include live oaks) to help prevent Oak Wilt.

February is a good time to plant onion sets, hardy herbs, and fruit trees before the weather turns warm.

Spring is almost here so get your beds ready to plant in March. Prune any freeze damage off your perennials to prepare for new spring growth.

Water your trees, shrubs and plants if we do not have rain this month.

March is wildflower time. Spring is almost here and it’s time to plant hot weather and perennial herbs.

Prune your spring flowering shrubs after they bloom.

Allow the leaves on your bulbs to yellow and die before you remove them.

Mulch and also use foliar fertilizer to feed your roses.

Divide your clumps of perennials about every two or three years or as they need it.

Start fertilizing your plants, shrubs, and trees. Cut back your ornamental grasses when new green shoots appear.

March is also the best time to plant asparagus. Do not start to harvest asparagus for at least two years. We all want to put our vegetable plants out but we can still have cold weather.

Aerate your lawn and water if it is dry.

Spring is almost here but remember the last freeze may not be until early April or when the mesquite trees leaf out.

April is the time to enjoy your Salvias, start planting your garden and fertilize your lawn. As it warms up you want to plant your veggies and transplant any perennials before it gets too hot. The more established plants are before our hot Texas summer weather starts the better they will survive.

Pay special attention to spacing when planting and think about the mature size of the plant. Perennials grow considerably larger than annuals.

Remember that the last average freeze date is usually early in April or but most of the Mesquite trees have buds on them this year.

Wait until after the second mowing to fertilize your lawn. Please do not use Weed and Feed products, they pollute our water and the atrazine in them can kill our trees. Remember that your tree roots go out at least 1½ times the drip line of the tree.

May is warm and your mistflower should be in full bloom. Gregg's Mistflower is a great plant that can grow in sunny spots and can also tolerate some shade.

It is time to plant you summer annuals such as Vinca and Zinnias and Cosmos.

It is also the time to finish planting your heat loving vegetables including okra, squash, peppers, and watermelon.

If you planted garlic or onions last winter keep an eye on them and pinch off any blossoms. Pinching the blossoms will yield bigger bulbs and they will be ready to dig up when the tops start to turn brown.

It is starting to get hot so unless you take special care of them all summer, May is your last chance to plant roses, shrubs and perennials.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. Put about eight layers of black and white newspaper covered by a 3 inch layer of mulch on your garden to help your plants beat the heat, conserve water and discourage weeds.

June is the time to enjoy all your Yellow Bells. They should bloom most of summer.

It is also time to feed your roses, vegetables and flowers. They all need a little nitrogen to grow and bloom.

We need to build up our soil so it can feed our plants. Try applying a layer of compost and then three inches of mulch.

We can promote deeper roots by cutting our lawns higher. Remember to only cut off one third of the height of your grass at each cutting. Cut your Bermuda grass at about an inch and a half, buffalo grass and St Augustine at two and a half inches, and zoysia at one inch. Healthy deep roots can also be encouraged by watering deeper and less often.

July thru January is the best time to prune live oak and red oak trees and avoid oak wilt.

Be sure to disinfect your tools before you start and each time you prune a different tree. This will make sure you do not spread oak wilt from an infected tree to a healthy one. A nine parts water to one part bleach solution works well.

Do not plant any new trees or shrubs until the temperature cools down in the fall.

All newly planted trees should be watered once a week for a minimum of one year after planting. Trees take several years to become established and are more vulnerable to drought during that time.

Keep you and your plants watered during the hot Texas summer. Even hardy coneflowers plants need some water during the hot dry Texas summer weather.

Be careful when you use insecticides on your plants. Some of those caterpillars you may be trying to kill may turn into butterflies.

August is the time to keep cool, drink lots of liquids, and water your lawn and plants. August is usually our hottest and driest month and will stress your plants and they can use a good drink. It’s a good time to look through your plant and seed catalogues and order your fall bulbs.

Wait until it cools off to plant any shrubs, trees or flowers.

It is also a good time to plan and plant some of your fall garden vegetables in early August and enjoy all the Pride of Barbados.

Look at the plants that bloom this summer and plant heat loving drought tolerant perennials this fall when it cools off. These plants will bring color to next year’s summer garden.

September is almost the end of summer. This Zinnia has been blooming all summer and will continue flowering until the first freeze. They attract butterflies such as this dog face Sulphur.

As soon as it starts to cool off, it is time to divide your daylilies and irises.

It is time to fertilize your roses for the last time this year. The last two weeks of September and the first week of October is the best time to fertilize your lawn.

This is also the best time of the year to save seeds from your favorite plants to plant next spring. Pick the ripe seeds and dry them on a paper towel. When they are dry put the seeds in a jar or bag with the label showing what they are and when you picked them.

Remember that seeds from hybrid plants will not produce plants that look like their parents.

October is usually the beginning of fall in Central Texas. The firebush has been blooming since late summer an will continue as the temperature cools

After a long hot summer, early this month is the time to fertilize our lawns and plants. About ½ to 1 inch of compost works great.

Divide and replant your daylilies and irises this month and later in the month plant your spring bulbs. Late this month dig your caladium bulbs up and store them for the winter.

Mulch, mulch, mulch.

Plant your garlic this month. Deer don’t like the smell of garlic so plant some around your favorite plants and they probably won’t bother them.

For spring flowers, sow your wildflower seeds this month and in November. Fall is one of the best times of the year to garden.

November is one of the best times to enjoy your Beauty Berries.

If you plant roses, perennials, shrubs and trees during November and December they will put out new roots and grow faster in the spring.

November and December is also one of the best times to sow wildflower seeds for flowers in the spring. Plant your pansies and other cool weather annuals this month.

November thru December is the best time to plant trees in Texas. Make sure you water them regularly until they are established. It takes at least one year for trees to become established. Water trees once a month (after they are established) during the winter if it does not rain.

Enjoy your fall blooming plants until our first freeze. Usually our first freeze is this month, however some parts of the Hill country had a October 31st. When we are warned about a freeze, water your plants the night before the freeze.

Enjoy your fall garden and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

December gardens are brightened by winter berries and evergreens. After our first freeze has killed back the foliage on your perennial plants and vines, cut them back and mulch three to four inches deep over the roots and base of the plants to protect them from the cold until they come up again in the spring.

Do not trim your evergreen plants, shrubs and trees until early spring, except for oak trees.

December is a good time, after the first killing frost, to transplant roses. You can also still plant container grown roses this month.

This month is also one of the best times to plant trees.

If you buy a living Christmas tree make sure to pick one that will flourish in central Texas. Leyland cypress, Arizona cypress, Afghan pine, Virginia pine, and some arborvitae are good choices. Avoid Deodar Cedar, Italian Stone Pine, Scotch pine, Colorado blue spruce, and all Fir trees. For smaller trees you can prune potted rosemary for tabletop decorations.

We want to wish you a Happy Holiday Season.