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PLANTING

• Plant trees, shrubs and woody ornamentals from nursery containers. Plant slightly above ground line to allow root flare to be exposed.

• Transplant small trees and shrubs while they are dormant. Water the plant well before digging it.

• Plant cold-tolerant herbs such as chives, cilantro, garlic and parsley; onion transplants late month.

• Seed for warm-weather annuals can be planted in flats in a temperature-controlled environment. Tomatoes and peppers can be started from seed mid-month. All require bright light and warm temperatures (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit). Use grow lights for best results.

• Tulip and hyacinth bulbs, which have been chilled for eight weeks, should be planted immediately.

• Plant blackberries, fruit and nut trees. Contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Ellis County at 972-825-5175 or visit http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut for recommended varieties. Cultivar or variety selection is critical.

FERTILIZING AND PRUNING

• Prune trees, including live oaks and red oaks, to remove dead, broken and unwanted branches. Apply pruning paint to any cut/wound on your oak trees to prevent oak wilt.

• Peach and plum trees should be pruned to stimulate lateral branches and keep their bowl shape. Thin out branches to open the center to allow more sunlight, resulting in fruit production over the entire tree.

• Apply blood meal or a slow-release fertilizer to pansies and other cool-season annuals.

• Maintain free-form crape myrtles by removing sprouts growing from the base, but never cut the tops out. It produces unsightly knots and delays blooming. Removing spent seed pods is OK.

GARDEN WATCH

• Remove by hand, broadleaf weeds such as clover, dandelions, henbit and chickweed in lawns and beds. If necessary, spray turf with a broadleaf herbicide when temperatures are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful when using herbicides to prevent the drift from harming desirable plants.

• Don’t guess, soil test! The best way to determine your soil’s fertility needs is to have it tested. Contact the local AgriLife Extension office at 972-825-5175 for a Soil Sample Information Form or go to http://soiltesting.tamu.edu.

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