Ask the Master Gardeners
Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
AgriLife Extension Service
January 30, 2012 | 2,480 views | 1 comment
Q: Is it too late to plant fruit trees?
A: You can still plant fruit trees. All the nurseries have them available. If you are having trouble making up your mind as to which type to plant, here is a list from Doug Welsh in his Texas Garden Almanac. He ranks fruit crops from the least to the most difficult to grow: blackberries, blueberries (in East Texas, or here if you want to plant them in large containers of peat), figs, citrus, pears, pecans, grapes, persimmons, apples, plums, and peaches. Welsh takes a number of factors into account: their adaptation to Texas soils, winter chilling requirements, varieties adapted to our climate, susceptibility to insects and diseases, ease of pest management, and the need for specialized training and pruning techniques.
Personally, I’ve had lots of trouble with peach trees, while my fig, pear, and blueberries are practically trouble free. Make sure when you buy your tree to ask the nursery man how many chilling hours the tree requires and whether we get that many here. Chilling hours are the number of hours during which temperatures are below 45 degrees F. and above 32 degrees F. The chilling hours are needed for the tree to end its dormancy and have proper blooming and spring growth. Bexar County’s David Rodriguez says to look for varieties that take 550 to 650 chilling hours. The January 26 San Antonio paper announced that the USDA is changing its planting zone map because the country is warmer now. This will, no doubt, change the chilling zone chart also, so when you buy, keep down closer to the 550 range for chilling hour requirements.
Q: What can I do in my garden in February?
A: In my garden, you could pull weeds. Somehow henbit and clover is all over the place this year. Mow winter weeds in your lawn. This helps reduce their spread and improves the lawn for spring. We’ve been going around after this last rain pulling up dandelions. Don’t forget: before things get too busy in your garden, put in drip irrigation. You will be glad you did. February is also pruning month. Trees, shrubs, and vines need to be fertilized this month also. Remember that February can be very cold so keep an eye on your cold sensitive plants. For the first two weeks of February last year, the temperature was in the twenties every night and some days did not get over thirty. You should try seeds from one of the heritage seed companies. I have an order coming in this week with varieties I haven’t grown before, which I will plant inside so that the small herb and vegetables plants will be ready for my March garden.
If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, on the second floor of the Texas AgriLife Extension building, 210 East Live Oak in Seguin.