The spring gardening season will be here before we know it, so today we’re sending out a few reminders to be prepared for it. Make sure you come to our Spring Clean Up seminars this month with David Rodriguez, Horticulturist for Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Services of Bexar County. David always packs the house and comes with a ton of gardening knowledge and tips to share, as well as answers for your gardening questions. You’ll have two opportunities to learn from David: February 22nd at our Bandera location, and February 29th at our Thousand Oaks location. Make plans to join us for one of these events and learn all you need to know for spring gardening preparation. Until then, check out a few gardening tips we think will help you get ready for spring.

Buy your spring weed pre-emergents now while they are in stock. Besides fertilizing your lawns, applying pre-emergents is one of your best defenses against a weed invasion in your turf. Application usually takes place in mid -late February (depending on the temperatures). Pre-emergents prevent weed seeds from germinating, so applying this in a timely manner is imperative for success. We like Amaze Pre-Emergent and WeedBeater Plus. Read labels and follow proper instructions. Don’t wait until the weeds have sprouted, and don’t wait until the last minute to buy your products.

Start spring tomatoes. You can start seeds indoors or buy young transplants and keep them protected inside from the cold until it warms up enough in March to plant in the garden. The key is to get the tomatoes early while we have our best selection of seeds and transplants. We have a relatively short growing season and the heat of our brutal summers shuts down tomato fruit production. So the sooner you grow a larger, more mature plant, the sooner they produce and the sooner you can harvest and enjoy your delicious, juicy tomatoes. Come hear our local tomato expert, Keith Amelung, share his tips for growing cherry tomatoes, February 22nd, 10AM, Thousand Oaks location or you can catch him on February 29th, 10AM at our Bandera location.

Take care of your flowers, both cold weather and warm weather. Peak flowering season for cool season annuals happens in March and April so fertilize now for strong growth and beautiful blooms. We like the liquid fertilizer Big Bloom from FoxFarm. Warm season spring annuals can be started indoors. They will need plenty of light either from a bright sunny window or professional grow light so that they don’t grow spindly and leggy reaching for light. They can head into the garden mid March depending on spring weather.

Prune fruit trees by early March, before new spring buds swell. Remove suckers, water sprouts, rubbing/crossing branches, and any dead or diseased branches. If you have fruit trees that are at least one year old they should be fertilized. Spraying fruit trees with horticultural dormant oil begins this month. This protects fruit trees from overwintering pests and their eggs, helping to also prevent them during the growing season. NEVER spray spring fruit trees that are in bloom or you risk killing off the pollinators. And take care not to spray the oil if temperatures are predicted to fall below 40° within the next 24 hours.

Finish up planting trees and shrubs this month for best results. While fall is the best time for planting trees, shrubs, and woody perennials, you can still be successful planting them in early spring. Your goal is to give them as much time as they can have to get there roots established so they are better able to withstand the hot temperatures of the summer with the least amount of stress. Use our easy to follow tree and shrub guide for successful planting.

Hope these tips get you in the mood for spring gardening season. We’ll see you on the 22nd or 29th for more spring garden clean up tips!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy