Organic Matters

The Online Newsletter from Rohde’s Nursery and Nature Store and Green Sense Fertilizers

Rohde’s February 2017 Organic Gardening Calendar

  1. PREFACE
  2. VEGETABLES
  3. HERBS
  4. FLOWERS
  5. ORNAMENTAL_GRASSES
  6. TREES_SHRUBS_VINES
  7. LAWN_TURF_GRASSES_GROUND_COVERS
  8. GENERAL_PESTS_DISEASES
  9. OTHER_THINGS_TO_DO_THIS_MONTH

 

We are in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 8a with an annual minimum temperature of 15 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit,
and in Texas AgriLife Extension Service District 4 (East Region) - North (Dallas):
http://urbansolutionscenter.tamu.edu/
Our soil is predominantly blackland prairie clay or "Houston Black" officially with areas of sandy Cross Timber soils north, east, and through parts of Ft Worth's Tarrant County. (
ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/TX/factsheets/fact_houstonsoil.pdf)..

NOAA's Weather Forecast:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/fxus05.html

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR LONG-LEAD SEASONAL OUTLOOKS
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
830 AM EST THU JAN 19 2017

SUMMARY OF THE OUTLOOK FOR NON-TECHNICAL USERS

Weak La Nina conditions continue across the equatorial pacific ocean, as represented in current oceanic and atmospheric observations. The official CPC ENSO forecast indicates a transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during February 2017. ENSO-neutral conditions are favored to persist through at least the Boreal summer.

The February-March-April (FMA) 2017 temperature outlook favors above-normal temperatures from the Northeast to the Gulf Coast, and westward across the Southern Plains to the Four Corners region. The highest odds (greater than 50 Percent) for above-normal temperatures are indicated over New Mexico and Texas. Above-normal temperatures are also favored for western and northern Alaska. Elevated odds for below-normal temperatures are predicted from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley.

The FMA 2017 precipitation outlook indicates enhanced probabilities of above-median precipitation from the Pacific Northwest, across the northern Great Plains, to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Below-median precipitation amounts are most likely for the Southwest and western Texas, as well as from the central Gulf Coast to the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic.

Equal chances (EC) are forecast over areas where odds of above-, below-, or near-normal seasonal mean temperatures and seasonal accumulated precipitation amounts are expected to be similar to climatological probabilities.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/seasonal.php?lead=1

seasonal Climate Outlooks Banner

OFFICIAL Forecasts
Feb-Mar-Apr 2017

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/lead01/off01_temp.gif

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/lead01/off01_prcp.gif

PREFACE

Toward the end of February, life usually starts to awaken in your landscape. Many trees and shrubs will start to bud out. Some perennials and grasses may start new growth. The soil should warm enough for the germination of some seeds, like weeds. In addition, some insects will come out of winter dormancy to take advantage of the new growth of plants.

February is the start and end of several gardening and landscaping activities.

1)   Fertilizing: If you have not fertilized your lawn in the last 3 or 4 months, do so this month.

2)   Finish pruning trees and non-spring blooming shrubs while they are still dormant and have not started budding out again. This is crucial for oak trees to guard against Oak Wilt disease.

3)   Finish preparing your garden beds. You can start planting some seeds either indoors or outdoors as is appropriate. Come by Rohde’s for your plants and seeds that are chosen for success in our black clay and zone 8a weather conditions.

4)   Weed seeds start germinating when the soil reaches about 55°F. Start applying Corn Gluten Meals during this time. See the "Lawn, Turf Grasses & Ground Covers" Section for more details.

February is the time to start controlling the bugs that are coming out to eat your new plant growth.

1)   The nematode specie we carry is Steinernema feltiae. They become active when the soil reaches 50°F. This may be around the middle of February. Take advantage of this and get a jump on soil larva before they become active. See “General Pests & Diseases” Section.

2)   End of February through March is the time to start releasing Trichogramma wasps. See “General Pests & Diseases” Section.

3)   The best way to control some of the more troublesome pest and disease problems that attack our landscape plants, is to spray a dormant oil before the plants come out of winter dormancy. With this mild winter, there should be plenty of insects too. See the “Trees, Shrubs, & Vines: section for more details.

VEGETABLES & ANNUAL FRUITS

Now is the time to plant the following vegetables:

Dates are for seeds unless specified S=Seed, T=Transplants.
Soil temperatures will mimetic air temperatures after a week or so of stable night time temperatures.
Some seeds need to be planted before the optimum soil temperatures so they can mature before the maximum temperatures arrive and stop the flowers from setting fruit.
Planting seed in too cold soil can cause growth and disease problems that can effect production.

Vegetable

Spring Planting
Dates

Air Temps, Day

Soil Temperatures

(N=Night)
(D/N=Avg)

Min

Optimum
Range

Max

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), (crowns)

Feb (Crowns)

60-75

50

>70, 60-85

95

Beets (Beta vulgaris)

February

60-75, N: 45-55

40-45

50-85

95

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), plants

Feb 1 - 15 (S)
Feb 15 - 29 (T)

70-80, N: 40-50

40

45-85

90

Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea)

Feb 1 - Feb 15

 

40

68-75

85

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) , plants

Feb 1 - 15 (S)
Feb 15 - 29 (T)

60-70, N: 40-50

40-50

45-95

100

Cabbage, Chinese (Brassica pekinensis)

Feb 1 - 15 (S)
Feb 15 - 29 (T)

55-70, N: 40-50

50

50-80

100

Carrot (Daucus carota var. sativus)

February

60-75, N: 45-50

40-50

45-85

90-95

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) , plants

Feb 15 - Feb 29
(T, Seed NR)

55-70, N: 45-55

40

45-85

90-100

Chard, Swiss (Beta vulgaris var. cicla)

Feb 1 - Mar 10

60-75, N: 40-45

40

50-85

95-100

Collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

Feb 1 - Mar 31

D/N: 60-65

40-50

60-70

85

Tyfon Or Holland Greens
(hybrid of Chinese cabbage x stubble turnip)

February

 

 

 

 

Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

Feb 10 - Mar 10

D/N 60-65

40-50

70-75

90-100

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)

February

60-70, N: 40-50

40-50

70-75

90

Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum ), seeds

Feb 10 - 25

55-75

40

60-70

90

Lettuce, Butterhead (Lactuca sativa)

Feb - Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

85

Lettuce, Cos or Romaine (Lactuca sativa)

Feb - Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

70-85

Lettuce, Head (Lactuca sativa)

Feb - Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

85

Lettuce, Leaf (Lactuca sativa)

Feb – Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

70-85

Mustard (greens) (Brassica juncea)

Feb 15 - Apr 27

60-65

40

45-85

105

Onion (Allium cepa)
Seeds/ Transplant "Slips" for this year's bulbs (or scallions)

Jan 4 - Mar 5 (T)
Jan 18 - Feb 1 (S)

D/N: 60

35-50

50-95

90-95

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Feb 01 - Mar 08

45-85

40-50

50-85

90

Peas, Edible-Podded (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon)

Jan 18 - Feb

60-80, N: 40-50

40

40-75

80-85

Peas, English (Pisum sativum)

Jan 18 - Feb

60-80, N: 40-50

40

40-75

80-85

Potato, Irish (Solanum tuberosum), seed

February

75-85, N: 50-60

45-50

>40->50

 

Radish (Raphanus sativus)

Feb - Apr 13

40-70, Optm 60-65

40

45-90

90-95

Rutabaga (Brassica napus var. napobrassica)

Feb - Mar

 

40

45-85

 

Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis)

As early in spring as the ground can be worked

Shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum) (like onions)

Jan 04 - Mar 05 (T)

 

 

45-95

 

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

Jan 18 - Mar 15

65-75, N: 40-45

35-40

45-75

85-100

Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapifera)

Feb - Mar 10

60-80, N: 40

40

60-105

100-105

Start seeds indoors or in a greenhouse: Tomato, Pepper, and Eggplant.

Cold weather covers: Protect tender and newly planted flowers and vegetables. We carry floating bed covers for sale, or use old sheets, blankets, tarps, or buy or make cold frames or “hoop” houses. With floating row covers (floating means just lying on the plants), you are looking for something that breathes if you have to use it for more than a night or so. This generally means no plastics. Plastics can be used on cold frames and hoop houses if it doesn’t touch the plants. A sealed clear plastic cover, while letting sunlight in during the day, can make the inside colder than the night air. On clear, cloudless nights, radiant heat can be sucked into space from under the plastic and bring the temperature down to freezing even if the ambient air is above freezing. So let the plants breath.

See http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Rohde's_Planting_Dates,_Spring_&_Fall.htm for the whole planting charts with explainations of columns, sources, and other information.

HERBS

You can still plant perennial and cool season herbs, but most small transplants will need protection from freezes.
March and April will be a better month for planting warm season annual herbs.

FLOWERS

Now is a good time for planting new, and moving old plants, while they are still dormant.
Probably better to wait till March when it is warmer and the plants are about ready to start growing again to divide them. The damaged roots will have less time in the wet soil to rot before the divided plants come out of winter dormancy and start healing.
Prune old dead growth from last year if needed, before new growth starts.

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

You can plant potted Ornamental Grasses as with other perennial plants. Spring planting is usually recommended over fall planting just so the roots have time to become establish before the heat of summer and the cold of the next winter. Plants are hardier when their roots are grown in well. The grasses at the nursery and mine at home, overwinter in pots without problems, but would rather be in the ground.

Cut back grasses to short clumps now, before new growth starts. This is for looks,  no one prunes them on the prairies. Well may be buffalos. If you prune them after new growth starts, the new growth may have a "hair cut" look that will show all year. This doesn't look good.

You can divide clumps every three years or so as some will do better. The centers on some grasses die while the grass grows outward. You usually do this while the grass is still dormant like you would prune most plants. Ssome sources suggest dividing just as the grass breaks dormancy and starts greening or even while they are actively growing. Regardless, do so by spring to give the grass roots time to recover before the extremes of the coming summer and winter.

TREES, SHRUBS, & VINES

Planting:

Finish digging up and moving trees and shrubs early this month, while they are still dormant. Some may start growing this month.

New trees and shrubs can be planted the sooner the better. Again, this is to help them become established before summer comes.

Ask about our delivery, planting, and guarantees. Do not forget the soil amendments; Green Sense Kelp Extracts for root stimulation, Green Sense Mycor granules to inoculate plants with mycorrhizae fungi, both bulk and bagged compost, well composted bagged manures, and a variety of mulches.

We have fruit trees, shrubs, and berry vines. Come soon for best selections. Plant them now also. Common fruit trees are not native to black clay soils, so they need special treatment. Good organic bed preparation is critical. Many have specific pruning requirements and need regular pest control for best growth and productivity. This should be planned for before picking out your plants.
Google “TAMU” (for Texas A&M University) and what you want to look up like “fruit trees for North Central Texas”, or “prunning fruit tree”, to get the Agrilife Agricultural Extension Service information. Most of the information is not organic oriented so ignore that part, but some is:
http://organiclifestyles.tamu.edu/.
Howard Garrett has a “Fruit & Pecan Tree Organic Guide” to get you going; http://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Organic-Pecan-And-Fruit-Tree-Program_vq2255.htm.

Pruning:

Do any pruning early this month before the plants come out of winter dormancy, except for spring blooming shrubs. Deciduous trees and shrubs will start budding and sprouting new leaves starting this month.

You must finish pruning Oaks trees that are susceptible to Oak Wilt disease now before they bud out. Oak Wilt disease is carried by Sap Beetles contaminated with fungal spores acquired from other infective trees. They are attracted to the smell of fresh sap oozing out of the saw wounds. The spores germinate in fresh sap. It is very important to apply Rohde’s Green Sense Tree Goop to the wounds immediately and to insure it stays on for 2 days until the wound’s sap hardens. Sap Beetles are not attracted to dry sap and the fungal spores probably cannot germinate in dry sap. Green Sense Tree Goop is a powder you mix with water to a paste. You can paint on with a brush. It contains rock phosphate and dairy manure for nutrients to help the wound heal quicker, and Diatomaceous Earth to help keep insects away from the wound. The cold weather of January and February and very hot weather of August may lessen the presence of the sap beetles, but weather changes quickly around here, so always cover the wounds with Tree Goop.

When pruning, remove dead, damaged, troublesome, or diseased branches. You also can prune to shape trees and shrubs now.

Most sources suggest there is no need to prune crape myrtles to remove the seed heads. There is especially no need for the severe practice of “topping” crape myrtles, where all of the branches are cut way back in an attempt to control their shape and size (this does give them an interesting “Dr Seuss” look though). Outside of dead branches or “in-the-way” branches, try not to prune anything any larger than pencil size.

Do not prune the knees from bald cypress trees that stick out of the ground around the trunk. They are part of the root system. Instead, plant ground cover or mulch the root zone.

Do not prune cold-tender plants such as oleander, pittosporum, and palms. If the top parts freeze, it can still protect the ground level crown from dying. Wait to prune until after the last freeze.

Reshape shrubs including summer flowering shrubs and vines with light pruning as needed, but do not prune spring-flowering shrubs or vines, like Indian hawthorn, mountain laurel, flowering peach, climbing roses, althea, etc, until after they bloom. Prune evergreen shrubs by cutting out entire limbs to retain natural form instead of shearing to a ball or box shape. Nandinas can be pruned this way by removing taller canes at the ground.

Mistletoe:

Remove mistletoe from tree limbs, while it is still young (less than one year old), even if it means removing the entire branch. This may also reduce the spread of mistletoe as it takes 2 or 3 years to fruit. Cut small limbs at least 12 inches below the mistletoe. Cut the mistletoe off flush on large limbs or the trunk to avoid damaging the tree more. Do not use herbicides like Round-Up, as they will hurt the tree. Do not kill yourself pruning high limbs. Call professionals or live with it. What may work on the larger limbs and trunks is to tightly cover the pruned mistletoe spot with black plastic to block off sunlight. May have to do this for 1 or 2 years. Mistletoe does not seem to affect Cedar and Juniper trees. It rarely affects Pecan, Live Oak and Magnolia trees, but does commonly affect Water oak, Spanish oak, Elm trees, and Hackberries. Keeping the trees as healthy as possible will lessen the effects of this parasite.

Roses:

As with the rest of your yard, fertilize roses this month also. Follow directions on the bag. Mix into the soil around the plants, best you can.

This month is when you can do any major pruning your roses may need. Shrub rose are normally pruned around Valentine Day.

Raised beds will give better drainage in heavy clay soils. Don’t crowd bushes together as fungal diseases like the moist conditions contributed by decrease air circulation. While we don’t carry bare rooted rose bushes, if you have them, planting is a little different. Follow the included instruction. Drench roots and plant with liquid Green Sense Foliar Juice, GS Fish Solubles, or GS Fish and Kelp. Mulch well. Check soil moisture periodically (every few days until you get a feel for how the soil dries out) to make sure the roots stay moist but not wet, until they become established (couple / 3 months).
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/southerngarden/rosejanne.html
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/roses/plant.html

Dormant Oil Spraying:

Now’s the time to spray plant based Dormant Oils like “Organocide“ (http://www.yourplantdoctor.com/) on plants that you had previous insect problems on or are susceptible to regular insect problems. It also works on insect eggs, on some fungus like powdery mildew, and on some disease like fireblight.

Dormant oil is a very effective way to help control some of the more troublesome pest and disease problems that attack our landscape plants. The purpose is to interrupt the life cycle of insect pest and disease to slow down spring infestations. When sprayed thoroughly on the trunks, and branches of your trees and shrubs they will suffocate any overwintering eggs and larvae of insect pests, and mold, mildew, and bacterial spores.

Some insects and disease controlled are: aphids, leafrollers, tent caterpillars, mites, scale, whiteflies, thrips, mealybugs, powdery mildew, black spot, fireblight, and some aphid-transmitted viruses.

This is an especially good thing to do on fruiting and nut trees, and anything in the rose family; Roses, Photinias, Indian hawthorns, Cherry-laurels, Pyracantha, Spiraea, Cotoneasters, blackberries, raspberries, loquats, strawberries, almond trees, plums, peaches, apples, pears, quinces, etc. Also anything that you had a particularly bad case of mold or mildew on: like Crape Myrtles, Azaleas, Camelias.

Organic dormant oils are the same lightweight oils we use in the summer, for pest control, and are some of the safest pest control products available. They are safe for people, and the environment. They are designed to evaporate quickly to prevent harm to the plants they are sprayed on, so there is no residue.

Oils don’t cause targeted pests to become resistant as they appear to work in a basic way that is hard for the insects to guard against. The oils suffocate the insects and/or interfere with cell membrane functions.

The oils should be sprayed anytime from mid January, till before the buds begin to swell, usually towards the middle to end of Febuary in North Central Texas, weather permitting, as there needs to be several dry days afterward for evaporation of the oils.

Combined with Green Sense Potassium Bicarbonate for better control of powdery mildew too.

Rohde’s is in the process of dormant oil spraying now. Call (972-864-1934) or email (grohde@greensense.net) to be put on the list.

LAWN, TURF GRASSES & GROUND COVERS

Plant:

You can still plant groundcovers and borders. If you find you can’t grow grass under your trees due to too much shade, plant some of the many ground covers Rohde’s sells. Don’t plant it right up against trees to keep the root flare exposed.

Wait until April or May for the ground to warm for seeding. However, you can sod your lawn now.

If you are going to re-sod your lawn, add some compost under the sod, mixed into the soil if possible. This is the best thing you can do to make your lawn drought tolerant. Think of making a garden bed for your lawn grass.

Whatever you do, don’t leave the soil bare. At least cover it with compost.

Fertilizing:

Fertilize now if you haven't done so in the last 3 or 4 months. Regular fertilizing keeps a constant level of nutrients in your soil. Timing is not as important as consistency. But if you skipped the winter fertilizing, fertilizing now will benefit your trees and shrubs as they replace last year's food reserves they will use budding out and growing new foliage this month. You fertilize again in May in time to help your warm season lawn grasses come out of winter dormancy. To fertilize, use Green Sense All Purpose Lawn & Garden Fertilizer. It is the perfect choice. Applying a different mineral supplement like Lava sand, Greensand, Humate, or Sul-Po-Mag each time you fertilize can also be helpful. Greensand and Sul-Po-Mag also supply primary nutrients, so acquiring a soil test first will ensure what is needed and how much is needed.

Dry molasses and Humate don't supply substantial amounts of primary nutrients, so they are less restrictive in the frequency or amount of product used. Molasses sugars are a direct source of energy for soil microbes and stimulates their populations. Humate supplies carbon for building more microbes and holds minerals for easy plant use. These products will help increase the microbial activity in your cool soil to help get your lawn going quicker in the spring. They will help the soil microbes to work longer during the cool of the fall also. The increase in soil microbes will also make your yard less attractive to fire ants and other ground dwelling ants during the warm months.

Watering, Mowing:

While it is cool, you need to water if it hasn't rained in the last three or four weeks. Summer grasses are dormant now, but the roots still grow when the soil is 40 degrees or higher. The grass will weaken or die without water during the cold months, but you will not notice until it warms in April-May. You can also poke a stick or better, a screwdriver in the ground. If the screwdriver will not go down at least 2 inches, you may need to water. The recommended inch of irrigation should allow you to stick a screwdriver down at least 6 inches. It’s better to water in the morning when it is cool so the plants can dry out quicker and fungal disease is less accommodated for. Water plants and turf before freezes if they are dry. Hydrated plants are hardier, especially evergreen plants. Moist soil also holds more of the daytime warmth.

If you already have cool-season weeds established, corn gluten meal will not have an effect on them, but mowing before they go to seed will help eliminate many of them, particularly as it warms up. So mowing every couple of weeks and bagging seed heads, may be needed when the weeds are growing

Trim or mow groundcover beds if the particular groundcover will tolerate it, before spring growth begins. This will even them up and clean them up. Remove dead and damaged parts of beds and replace plants if needed.

Pests, Disease, & Weeds:

It may be too cold for Green Sense 8% Vinegar to work it’s best on weeds, but used on a warm day with pulling and mowing can control them until the lawn comes in.

Corn gluten meal Pre-emergence:

Pre-emergence herbicides work only for annual weeds, not perennial weeds. Corn gluten meal (CGM) has 5 different compounds or more that prevent cell division in the germinating weed seed’s root tip. The seeds sprout, but can’t grow a root. It’s best to apply it before the weed seeds germinate, and the soil is somewhat dry, and when it will not rain for 4-5 days. Apply at 20 pounds per 1000 square feet of lawn or garden. A little more can work better, but twice as much will not work twice as well. Water the CGM with a quarter inch of water or so. You know how long to water for a quarter inch because you measured your sprinkler output last summer so you wouldn’t waste water. Too much watering, or the soil being too wet to start with, could allow the seeds to overcome the inhibitors and grow roots. A light rain within the week of application could do the watering for you. The quarter inch watering will help the seeds to germinate and spread the gluten around so the seeds can take in the CGM inhibitors. At this point, you need the dry conditions for a few days to allow the seeds to dry out and die. If it rains too much within the week, you may be starting over. CGM should be effective for 5 to 6 weeks if it doesn’t rain too hard and you have dry periods in between.

Annual summer lawn weeds start to germinate at 55 degrees F. So you need to apply CGM before the soil 1/2 inch deep reaches 55 degrees. Middle of February through March is when this normally happens in the spring. Other weeds will germinate at warmer temperatures, so you can reapply a month or three later. Checking the soil temperature yourself with any thermometer will allow you to optimize your application. I use a $10 digital meat thermometer. Here is an interesting non-organic web site for weeds with germination info: http://weedalert.com/.

Therefore, you need warming to 55 degrees soil, not too wet, with no rain for a few days, to apply your corn gluten meal. Timing and cooperation from the weather is critical for success. This and the fact that some weed can germinate almost any time of the year with our warm winters makes CGM less effective. You have to give it several years to see results. One more thing, if you don’t buy it from us, don’t get Corn Gluten “Feed". It’s not the same. It will work somewhat, as will Corn Meal and other grains. They just don’t have the concentration of inhibitors as CGM, and are probably not cost effective. Also, CGM contains about 9 to 10 % nitrogen, as it’s the protein part of the corn kernel. This makes it a very good fertilizer, so you can "weed and feed" at the same time, or "feed the weeds" if you didn't apply it correctly. The nitrogen will release slowly over a 3 to 4 month period after application as with most organic fertilizers.

A early fall application in August thru September, with first part of September being the best time on average, can help with cool season weeds, but it is harder to know exactly when to apply as the soil temperature and moisture levels needed for germination varies each year. This usually makes fall results less effective than spring applications, but applying CGM both times should increase the results over time.

Lastly, CGM is more expensive than other organic products, but you needn't fertilize for 3, 4 months when you apply CGM. It is not a complete fertilizer, but it supplies the nitrogen your lawn needs most. You can apply Sul-Po-Mag or humate to round it out if you want.
The website, for additional information by the Iowa State professor who discovered this property of CGM, Dr. Nick Christians, has been taken down as it’s been 20 years since the discovery was made and everyone has moved on. By the way, Nick patented the CGM compounds that prevented root growth, to bottle and sell, but unfortunately it didn’t have a useable shelf life.

Here’s some additional information that should apply to either chemical or organic CGM pre-emergence:

http://www.hgtv.com/gardening/when-to-apply-herbicides/index.html

Timing is critical. A common misconception about the ideal time for pre-emergent herbicides is that application should coincide with certain events, such as daffodils or forsythias in bloom. In nearly every area of the country, the weeds will have already emerged by that time. To determine the best time of year to apply pre-emergence, note when the weeds begin to sprout this year and count back two or three weeks. That's when you should apply a pre-emergent next year.

Keep in mind that you'll never get rid of all the weeds in your lawn. The wind will blow weed seeds from nearby lawns into your lawn, birds will deposit them and kids running from one lawn to the next will transport weed seeds on their shoes.

 

http://tomlinsonbomberger.com/how-does-pre-emergent-crabgrass-control-work/

If areas of lawn are very thin or bare, pre-emergent crabgrass control won’t be effective. Sun baking the soil, soil cracking from lack of moisture, and leaching in the soil will disrupt the layer of protection that was applied. Likewise, aggressive trimming of edges of lawns and mowing at heights below 3″ will leave areas where the material layer has been removed or disrupted. Maintaining a thick lawn is essential to reducing crabgrass germination.

Fatty Acid Herbicides:

An alternative to CGM is to apply an organic non-selective fatty acid herbicide that will “burn” the green growing tops of weeds in your lawn. It is non-selective and so will harm anything growing that it is sprayed on. In April the warm season grasses should still be brown and dormant and will not be harmed by the fatty acid herbicides. You can spot spray the weeds only for cost effectiveness or spray large weedy areas if needed. This will not kill all of  the weeds as it is not a systemic like Round-Up, but will set the weeds back until the warm season grasses can come out of winter dormancy in May and start growing again to defend themselves. We have hose-end quart bottles of Monterey brand Herbicidal Soap for home use, and Rohde’s can spray larger areas, whole yards, and acreage with a similar commercial product; Scythe Organic Fatty Acid Herbicide.

We have received very positive results from customers with this approach.

GENERAL PESTS & DISEASES

Trichogramma wasps:
Toward end of February is the time to start releasing Trichogramma wasps, if you had problems with caterpillars, and/or have fruit and nut trees. They are almost microscopic size, nonstinging wasp, that lay their eggs inside other insect eggs. The wasp babies then eat the insides of the insert eggs. Howard Garrett recommends multiple releases of Trichogramma wasps, and Green lacewings over several weeks to a month in his "Fruit & Pecan Tree Organic Guide", http://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Organic-Pecan-And-Fruit-Tree-Program_vq2255.htm. You will need to set up a delivery schedule with an on-line supplier. We tried to stock Trichogramma wasps but they will only last a week even under refrigeration.

Order them from:
Beneficial Insectary, Inc.
9664 Tanqueray Ct. 
Redding, CA 96003
530-226-6300
800-477-3715
http://www.insectary.com/

They can help you pick which specie you need and they will send you how many you need, when you need them.

Nematodes
The nematode specie we carry is Steinernema feltiae. It is special in that it is active down to 50°F. Others are not. Take advantage of this and apply them when the soil temperature reaches 50°F about 1 to 4 inches down in the spring. Use any thermometer. Many insects hatch as the soil temperature reaches the 50’s in the spring. They help control grub worms, fleas, fire ants, chiggers and other pests. Grub problems are not as common as once thought. Many grubs just feed on dead organic matter rather than plant roots. Some become predatory beetles. Lawn damage may be more likely caused by fungi than by grubs. Grubs you would treat in the fall.

Watch for spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, and other insects on your houseplants. Rohde’s has plant oil based sprays for tender houseplants.

We carry the full complement of organic pest and disease controls, for both inside and out. Stop by and see.

If you are spraying anything, protect yourself with goggles and at least a NIOSH N95 approved Respirator Dust Mask. This stuff may be organic but it could be hazardous to inhale or sprayed in your eyes. Don’t take the chance.

 

OTHER THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

Now is also a good time to test your soil. Rohde’s recommends “Texas Plant & Soil Lab” at 5115 West Monte Cristo Road, Edinburg, Texas 78541-8852, 956-383-0739. They can give you organic recommendations. Having your soil tested now, will let you know what to apply to your lawn and gardens. Organic amendments are usually slow release, so applying now will let it break down to be available in the spring.

This is the last “best time” to have Rohde’s help you design and install your landscape and hardscape before the lawn and landscape blooms. Call our designer Sally Sutton at 972-864-1934 for more information.

Prepare your old beds and make new ones now before its time to plant them later this month.

Clean up the yard of leftover leaves and fallen branch, acorns, etc.

Add mulch and/or compost to bare or thin ground.
We normally carry plenty of hardwood mulch, cedar mulch, pine needle bales, and Cotton Burr Compost. We also have dairy manure based mix of bulk compost.

Check out, repair, and perform maintenance on lawn equipment and tools before you need them.

Clean out and repair any birdhouses, baths, and feeders.


We carry an excellent selection of bird food from single seed to mixes, and from single pound purchases to 50-pound bags.

Most of this calendar is designed for Dallas, Tx in USDA Hardiness Zone 8a, with a predominant soil type of blackland prairie clay.