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Reeves: Master gardeners, programs kickoff in January

By Randy Reeves
Dec. 30, 2017 at 11:10 p.m.


The month of January will kick off an exciting year with the Gregg County Extension office in Longview! Our 2018 Master Gardener classes will start Thursday, and we have some other fun, educational events in store during the month.

With the help of the Texas Forest Service and the Gregg County Master Gardener Association, we will once again be holding the annual Tree-Give-Away at the extension office in Longview! Each family will be able to receive 10 bare-root seedlings at no charge. The seedlings need to be planted or "heeled in" as soon as possible.

The tree giveaway is from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 20 at the extension office. Please use the back parking lot and enter the building through the west end doors.

Trees available include cherrybark oak, sawtooth oak, southern red oak, bald cypress, eastern redbud, silky dogwood and yellow poplar.

The Oil Belt Farm & Ranch Club will have its next meeting Jan. 23 at the extension office in Longview. Guest speaker will be Yancy Murray, vice president and branch manager with Legacy AG Credit in Gilmer. He will discuss farm and ranch income tax issues as well as the Schedule F form that many use when doing their income taxes. There will be a chili supper prior to the program. Call the extension office at (903) 236-8429 to RSVP for the dinner. For information on the program, go to http://counties.agrilife.org/gregg/files/2017/10/jan.pdf.

The annual Pesticide Credit Hour Program will be held Jan. 26 at Enoch's Stomp Vineyard and Winery in Harleton. This event is sponsored by the Gregg and Harrison county extension offices and gives Texas Department of Agriculture license holders a chance to earn six CEUs for the day.

There is a $35 registration fee, which also includes a noon meal. Registration is due by Jan 19. For a copy of the program agenda and the registration form, go to http://counties.agrilife.org/gregg/files/2017/10/18CEU.pdf.

January lawn and garden checklist

The life of the flowering pot plant received as a Christmas gift can be prolonged with proper care. Keep the plant out of range of heating ducts and away from heating units. Keep in a cool room at night, preferably at 60 to 65 degrees F.

Now is an excellent time to transplant mature or established trees and shrubs.

Be sure to prune back the top of established trees and shrubs before moving. Remove about one-third to one-half of the top to compensate for roots lost in digging.

Plan your flower and vegetable garden now before the rush of spring planting.

Sow seeds in flats or containers in protected structures to establish growth before hot weather arrives. Petunias, begonias and slow-growing transplants should be sown in early January. Warm-temperature plants such as tomatoes, peppers, marigolds and periwinkles should be sown later in January or February.

Put a light application of fertilizer on established pansy plants. Use one-half pound of ammonium sulfate per 100 square feet of bed area. Repeat the application every 4 to 6 weeks. Dried blood meal or cottonseed meal are also excellent sources of fertilizer for pansies. Be sure to water well after applying fertilizers.

Prepare beds and garden area for spring planting.

Select and order gladiolus corms for February and March planting. Plant at two-week intervals to prolong flowering period.

Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworms in pouches; if left on the plants, the worms can start their cycle again by emerging from the pouches in the spring and feeding on the foliage. Removing the pouches by hand and burning them is an excellent means of reducing the potential damage next spring.

Rose pruning in East Texas may be done in February. Remember that climbers and other once-blooming roses are best pruned after the spring flowers have faded.

— Randy Reeves is a Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent for Gregg County. Join him on his horticultural blog site with the Longview News-Journal, "Talk Across the Fence."

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