Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
Happy New Year from Permian Basin Master Gardeners!
Hopefully you haven’t yet pruned your trees, shrubs and vines. The time to prune isn’t until mid to late winter. Pruning stimulates growth and, of course, you don’t want new growth in fall or early winter which could be killed by a freeze.
Shrubs and ornamental trees that flower already have buds on the branches and you don’t want to prune those until after they bloom. Nature is busy providing a layer of mulch with the dropping of leaves and it is best to leave them there. They suppress weed growth and leaving them there and adding new mulch and leaves is the best thing you can do for your sleeping shrubs and trees. Old leaves will decompose and release nutrients into the soil.
If you have aged (please be sure it is aged and not still “green”) manure available it can be added to the surface in winter then covered with wood chips or leaves. Since our climate is mild, roots will grow through the winter.
If you want to plant a nut or fruit tree now is the time to determine the best variety for our area. Contact the local County Extension office at the numbers listed below for a complete list of varieties for our area. Some fruit trees require two different varieties to pollinate while others are self-fruitful. Also check into the chilling requirements since this is an important factor when deciding what to plant. Your fruit trees will be around for years to come and this selection process will pay off long term. The chilling requirement is the minimum required cold weather after which a fruit bearing tree will bloom. It is also called “chill hours” which is the total amount of time a tree spends at a certain temperature.
Just a reminder that it is time to order seeds from the arriving seed catalogs while your selections are still available. You can purchase trays and seed starting mix also. Go to the Texas A&M website for information about when to start your seeds and easy detailed instructions for getting started. https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.