Q. Is it time to prune crape myrtles?

A. Early March is a good time to prune crape myrtles. We no longer recommend the extreme pruning that was once the norm. Crape myrtles bloom on new wood but normally produce enough each year to have a full bloom performance. 

Prune to remove dead wood but do not prune severely and leave fists and stubs. Some gardeners describe the old type pruning as crape “murder!”

Q. I sprayed the grassy weeds in my flower garden with Grass Be Gone but after two weeks, the weeds are not dying. Any ideas why? 

A. Did you follow label instructions? One issue will be the temperatures. Contact herbicides have a range of temperatures within which they perform. If it was too cold during that time, the herbicide will be slow to act.  

Did you spray the material on the foliage? It does not work if it is sprayed on the soil. Try again now that temps have moderated.

Q. When will the purple martins arrive? It seemed like they were here last year at this time. 

A. I have not seen any yet but listeners to our radio show and readers of my articles report that they have seen groups of martins at their houses. 

They are trying to put the houses up in time to accommodate the martins but not too early so the English sparrows fill the apartments. 

The reports have come from south of San Antonio, in the city, and even one Hill Country sighting. If they don’t arrive before March 1, I will put my houses up then.

Q. Our Pride of Barbados has not frozen back this year. It is 10 feet tall. Should I prune it?

A. You can prune it back or you may want to see how it does when it grows to 15 feet tall. Either option will work. ne complication may be that we could still receive more freezing temperatures. 

Why don’t you try letting it grow and see what kind of bloom performance it produces when it hasn’t frozen back?

Q. Is it too late to plant potatoes? I usually plant them on Feb. 1 but was on a trip. What about applying preemergent herbicide to prevent the sandburs? Can I still do that and expect it to work?

A. Yes to both questions but don’t wait any longer than necessary. Remember on the preemergent herbicide (Dimension, XL, or Amaze) to make a second application on or about June 1. Follow label instructions.

Calvin Finch is a retired horticulture agent in Bexar County. He writes for and works with a number of area media outlets.

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