TEXAS COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
BY DAVID RODRIGUEZ
December 16, 2006
- Select Christmas trees early for the best choice. Consider such trees as a Noble fir, Frasier fir, Douglas fir or Scotch pine. Re-cut the trunk one-inch flush from the bottom and place it into an appropriate size tree stand. Keep tree stand constantly filled no more then half with water and tree preservative. Allow the tree to soak for two or three days before decorating.
- After they freeze back, you can cut lantana, Mallow Hibiscus, Esperanza and other cold sensitive plants to the ground. However, you can leave cold-killed plants in the perennial border 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.
- Use weight-sensitive metal feeders to keep squirrels and White-winged doves from eating your sunflower seeds
- Cut way back on the water. Water the lawn only every 2-3 weeks with one-inch of water if we don’t get rain. If it rains, don’t water for 3 weeks. St. Augustine that is dry is very susceptible to freeze damage.
- Keep your cool weather bedding plants well fertilized by supplementing with an organic soluble fertilizer such as a 6-12-6 analysis every two to three weeks.
David Rodriguez is County Extension Agent-Horticulture with Texas Cooperative Extension in Bexar County. For more information, call the Master Gardener “Hotline” (210) 467-6575 or visit our County Extension website at http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu