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Expert: San Antonio can bury memories of chilly winter in fresh spring gardens

David Martin Davies

Now that much of the freezing weather is probably over, one expert said on Wednesday that spring gardening may begin.

Master gardener David Rodriguez at the local Texas Agrilife Extension Service Office explained that residents may kick off the new spring planting season with some pruning and raking.

Rodriguez said prune away dead growth on shrubs and trees caused by winter freezes. Rake back mulch from the base of perennial plants frozen to the ground to enable the sun to nourish new growth.

Rodriguez advised using clean and sharp pruning shears. "Leave two thirds growing and green still attached to the plant,” he said. Trimming away just one third of all growth will keep shrubs and trees healthy.

He said live oak trees can still be trimmed back but cuts should be quickly covered by pruning paint to avoid oak wilt disease.

Rodriguez also advised against using a chainsaw.

“If you’re using a chainsaw, it might be best to call a certified, bonded, insured arborist to do that because we really don’t want most folks on ladders and using chainsaws,” he said.

Rodriguez said March is a good time to plant tomatoes, and April is a good time to plant peppers.

He said tomatoes and peppers are the two most popular plants among local gardeners. He also recommends cucumbers for local gardeners.

The local Texas Agrilife Extension Service Office offers many educational resources to help those with green thumbs get started with pruning, planting vegetables and more at its website: Urban Program Bexar County | Improving Lives. Improving Texas. (tamu.edu).

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