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February Landscaping Tips Upcoming Courses
  • Now is an excellent time to plant trees and shrubs as dormant plants go through less transplant shock. Take advantage of sunny winter days to do any hard work. Do not fertilize newly planted trees or shrubs until after new growth starts in the spring.
  • 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 and lastly shape the rest of the plant, but do not cut everything back to the same height.
  • Add compost and mulch to all your planted areas. Maintain a 2 to 4 inch mulch layer under shrubs and around trees. Mulching retains moisture in the soil and controls weeds.
  • When purchasing plants, the biggest is not always the best. If purchasing bare-root fruit trees, 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.
  • Prune re-bloomer bush roses after February 14. Use good sharp shears to make clean cuts. Remove dead, dying, and older weak canes. Leave 4 to 8 healthy canes, and remove approximately one-half of the top growth and height of the plant.
  • Prune climbing and once-blooming rose bushes after the spring flowering. Train climbing roses by weaving long canes through openings in trellises or arbors and tie them with jute twine or plastic/wire plant ties. Securing canes prevents damage from winter and spring wind and creates a more refined look to the garden when roses are blooming.
  • If you do not have a rose bush, get one. Now is an excellent time to select and plant roses in the landscape. Texas AgriLife Extension has an excellent selection of roses identified as pest and disease resistant. As a group these roses are called Earth Kind Roses. Look for this label. There a many varieties and colors available. Go to earthkindroses.tamu.edu to find pictures and descriptions.
  • Many houseplants start growing in late February after a winter rest. Now is a good time to check all houseplants to see if the plants need re-potting, leaching to remove salt build-up, pruning to shape, dividing to share with others and dusting to remove dust. Start fertilizing houseplants when the new growth starts.

Click Here For Our Recommended Plant List

Click on the courses below for more information and to register.

Saving from a Rainy Day - Making a Rain Barrel Feb 10, 2011
Protecting Our Waters: Stormwater Management (AM) Feb 22, 2011
Protecting Our Waters: Stormwater Management (PM) Feb 22, 2011
Spring IPM Seminar Feb 24, 2011
Outdoor Water Conservation Tips
  • Not much irrigation is required during the winter unless no rainfall occurs for 10 to 15 days. Plants are dormant and evaporation of water from the soil is very slow during cold temperatures and short days. Turn the controller off and then turn it on when you determine water is required.
  • If you do not have a rain and freeze sensor, get one. A rain and freeze sensor is easy to install yourself or call a licensed irrigator.
  • Remember, rain water counts. If it rains, you do not have to water your lawn. To better track rainfall, buy a rain gauge.
  • Water your landscape early in the morning (before 10:00am) or late in the evening (after 6:00pm). If you water in the heat of the day, most of your water is lost to evaporation.
  • Do not over water your lawn. During the winter months reduce your watering frequency to once every 15 to 20 days.
  • Water your landscape by hand or run sprinklers in manual mode.
  • If you have an automatic sprinkler system, adjust the heads to water the landscape and not the pavement, and be sure to check your system regularly for leaks or misdirected spray heads.
  • If possible, replace overhead sprayers with soaker hoses or drip irrigation.

Click Here For More Water Conservation Tips

Rain and Freeze Sensors by Dotty Woodson

During freezing weather many car accidents and road closures are caused by irrigation systems running, causing ice to form on the roadway. There is an easily solution to this preventable problem. Turn off the irrigation system or install a rain and freeze sensor. Many cities are making the owner liable if any accident occurs due to an irrigation system creating ice on the road.

Turning an irrigation system off is as easy as opening the irrigation controller door and pushing the off button or turning the dial to off. A rain and freeze sensor prevents an irrigation controller from running the irrigation system if the scheduled run time occurs during a rain or freeze.

New irrigation rules require all new irrigation systems have a rain and freeze sensor installed and some cities are requiring rain and freeze sensors be installed on old controllers.

How about you? Where is your irrigation controller? How do you turn off the controller? Do you have a rain and freeze sensor? If your answer is no to any of these questions, now is the time to act. Learn where you controller is and how to turn it off and add a rain and freeze sensor. The freeze sensor part is a temperature sensor. The rain sensor catches rainwater in a cup and as long as water is in the cup, the controller will not run. Rain and freeze sensors are easy to install. Sensors are available anywhere irrigation equipment is sold.

Rain and freeze sensors at a hardware store range from about $60.00 to $90.00. Both wireless and wired models are available. A licensed irrigator will charge about $200.00 to add a rain and freeze senor to an existing irrigation system.

Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas | http://urbansolutionscenter.tamu.edu
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