December 13 2008 Timely Tips




December 13, 2008

Prolong the life of holiday season gift plants by providing them with simple care. Check to see if the wrapper on the pot has plugged up the drainage at the bottom. Plants perform poorly if over watered, they simply die. Keep plants out of drafts such as heating vents and opening doorways.

Fertilize indoor plants less during the winter months at half the recommended rate every three to four weeks consisting of 6-12-6 liquid analysis.

Cut back on watering established lawns and landscapes during the cooler winter months. Most lawns typically require one-inch of water every two to three weeks. If substantial rain is obtained hold back watering for three to four weeks. However, St. Augustine grass that is dry is very susceptible to freeze damage.

After the first frost, cut back any unsightly perennials like lantana, mallow hibiscus, esperanza, and other cold sensitive plants at least six inches above the ground. Some people will leave cold-killed plants to serve as cover and food sources for wintering birds.

Suet is available in easy-to-use blocks that attract the woodpeckers, chickadees and titmice. Use metal bird feeders to keep the squirrels from chewing through.

David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County. For more information, call the Master Gardener “Hotline” (210) 467-6575 or visit our County Extension website at

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