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In the Garden: Nature's Cues That Spring Is Here

When pecan trees show their leaves in Texas, it’s a sure sign spring is here and the freeze danger is over. Read about more signs below.

Pick a day, any day, and you can match it to a season. Officially, the first day of spring is March 20. However, the day of the last freeze is still up for grabs.

In the past, we have had freezes from March 21 through March 30. Nature has some cues for which to look. Obviously, peach trees can get confused as we have already seen this year. What we haven’t seen yet is that beautiful spring mesquite green. When the buds are just popping out of the limbs is a strong indicator that our last freeze has passed.

Yet, the fail-safe tell-tale sign is when the pecan trees begin to show leaves. At that point, you can safely put away your winter coverings for your plants.

ROOT FLARES: TO COVER OR NOT TO COVER

Robert from Kingsland asks, “We’re bringing soil in to build up the ground. Are we supposed to cover our tree flares?”

FROM THE LUEDECKES: “Robert, you want to leave the tree root flares uncovered. Root flares are one of the ways the tree receives oxygen.”

MARCH GARDEN DUTIES

1. Seeds: All hot-weather herbs such as basil, chives, milk thistle.

2. Plants: All hot-weather herbs and perennial herbs such as artemisias, basil, bergamot, catmint or catnip, chives, comfrey, scented geranium, lemongrass, mints, oregano, pennyroyal, rosemary, santolina, thyme.

(Have you checked out cinnamon basil or chocolate mint for this year?)

3. Lawn duties: Aerate and top dress with 1 inch of compost. An aerator can be rented and shared with several of your neighbors. (Children and adults stomping in the yard with cleats and golf shoes aerates also.) Top-dress your lawns with compost before and after aerating. Apply approximately 1 inch of compost then rake and water it into the grass. This will save you on watering bills this summer.

4. Till in the winter crops. Allow two weeks for the cover crop to decompose in the soil before planting there again.

5. Prune hibiscus, spring flowering shrubs, and trees AFTER they bloom. Prune and train your vines. Have you thought about honeysuckle or Mexican flame vines to attract butterflies.

6. Feed your roses with foliar food.

7. It is time to welcome back the purple martins and the hummingbirds. Make sure you have food available for the hummers and the houses cleaned out for the martins.

Food for hummingbirds should be a three-to-one ration of sugar to water when they first arrive. Then, switch to a 4:1 ratio for the remaining spring and summer. We’ll have our avian friends for about six months.

8. Side dress (with compost) the garlic you planted last fall.

What’s side dress you may ask? Side dressing is when you place fertilizer around a plant or in the trench of your rows. The roots of plants have begun to spread. This not only feeds your plants but encourages the roots to expand and stabilize. If you are going to side dress a tree, place the fertilizer in the drip line.

9. Divide and move dormant perennials, roses, shrubs, and trees. There’s still time, but don’t wait! One of the best parts about gardening is sharing. If your perennials need thinning, share with a neighbor, family, or friend.

DECORATE WITH VEGETABLES AND HERBS

You don’t necessarily have to plant your garden in your garden. A plant with a beautiful large, yellow flower is zucchini. You can plant it in your flower garden. Cucumbers, as you know, like to climb. Why not decorate the corners of your fencing.

Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors at (512) 577-1463 or email him at bill@texasland.net. Contact daughter Martelle at Luedecke Photography at (512) 769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com.

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