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WaterSaver newsletter
Monday, February 2, 2009 Back to Issue Archive
Getting Ready for Spring
By Erin Conant

Continue to conserve water by applying fresh mulch to perennial beds and watering only when the top inch of soil is completely dry.

If you're like me, by the end of January you're weary of the handful of cold winter days we have in South Texas and ready to be back outside working in the garden, enjoying warmer weather and all the other activities that make spring and summer fun. In the meantime, there are plenty of garden activities that will help get your landscape in gear for spring.

Take a casual stroll through your landscape, observe the condition of your trees and shrubs, and brainstorm about what you'd like to change. Some plants may have frost damage and dead limbs that need to be removed. Schedule a day or two to clean up and remove those dead limbs and other debris. If you've decided to add some trees or shrubs to your garden, this is an excellent time to do so. After all, new plantings need time to develop roots before the inevitable summer heat sets in.

Although it's a tad early to start fertilizing your lawn, you can still get a head start on your beds by tilling in 1 inch of compost or broadcasting a high-quality, slow-release fertilizer. Consider a pre-emergent to tackle those weeds. Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent and must be applied just before weed seeds begin to germinate. Continue to conserve water by applying fresh mulch to perennial beds – after fertilizing of course – and by watering only when the top inch of soil is completely dry.

Disinfect and sharpen all garden tools including lawn mower blades. And delay planting warm season veggies until after March 1, the average last day of frost for our area.

Erin Conant is a technical field investigator for San Antonio Water System.

Friday, May 23, 2014
0 in. Bermuda (Full Sun)
0 in. Buffalo (Full Sun)
0 in. St. Augustine (Full Sun)
0 in. St. Augustine (Shade)
0 in. Zoysia (Full Sun)
0 in. Zoysia (Shade)
Use these amounts to water this evening after 8 p.m. or tomorrow morning before 10 a.m. Remember, it's winter. For a healthy lawn, water no more than twice a month, or less if you have drought tolerant grass.
Rain benefits continue this week with established plants. No water necessary. Hand water newly planted plants. Donna Fossum, SAWS Conservation Planner.

Ask A Garden Geek
What products help prevent weeds?
Try using pre-emergent herbicides in mid-February to prevent summer weed seeds from germinating. This is a very effective way of limiting the use of strong chemicals like 2,4-Dichloro-phenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). Organic enthusiasts use corn meal and others use benefin, dithiopyr, or oryzalin. Just remember that a completely weed-free lawn is unnatural. Diversity breeds stability in the environment.
E-mail your question to

What makes ideas from SAWS refreshing?
It's all about thinking beyond what is expected.
Discover Refreshing Ideas or, share some of your own at
Seasonal Star
Spineless Prickly Pear
(Opuntia ellisiana)
The spineless prickly pear makes a great ornamental specimen. It can grow 2 feet to 8 feet tall. During the summer it produces yellow blossoms, followed by fleshy, edible fruit. These plants require no water since they are succulents and make interesting conversation pieces.
Past Peak
Prime Time for Pruning
During this time of the year most perennials are far past their peak. But no worries, a handful of early bloomers will be showing themselves off soon. Think of the next couple of weeks as your last opportunity to prepare and prune for spring.
Event Calendar
Turfgrass: Selection & Maintenance
Feb. 12 Noon
Schultze House
514 HemisFair Park
Brown Bag Lunch with speaker David Rodriguez, a horticulture county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. For more information, call 210-229-9161. The Schultze House is located next to the Convention Center in HemisFair Park.
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