Organic Matters

The Online Newsletter from Rohde’s Nursery and Nature Store and Green Sense Fertilizers

Rohde’s March 2017 Organic Gardening Calendar

  1. PREFACE
  2. VEGETABLES
  3. HERBS
  4. FLOWERS
  5. ORNAMENTAL_GRASSES
  6. TREES_SHRUBS_VINES
  7. LAWN_TURF_GRASSES_GROUND_COVERS
  8. GENERAL_PESTS_DISEASES
  9. OTHER_THINGS_TO_DO_THIS_MONTH

We are in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 8a with an annual minimum temperature of 15 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit,
and in Texas AgriLife Extension Service, District 4 - North (Dallas
): https://agecoext.tamu.edu/texas-am-agrilife-extension-service-districts/district-four-north/, http://dallas.tamu.edu/, http://dallas.tamu.edu/district-4-counties/.
Our soil is predominantly blackland prairie clay or "Houston Black" officially with areas of sandy Cross Timber soils north, east, and through parts of Ft Worth's Tarrant County. (
http://www.soils4teachers.org/files/s4t/k12outreach/tx-state-soil-booklet.pdf).

Plant heat zones for Dallas-Ft Worth: The zones give the average number of days a year that an area has over 86 degrees temperatures. The temperature many plants apparently become affected by heat. Click here for more information: http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/plant_heat_zones.html.

AHS Plant Heat Zone Map;. Dallas, Ft Worth, north, west,& south is zone 9 (120-150 days). Rockwall, north & east is zone 8 (90-120 days).
Plant Maps Interactive Heat Zones Map for Texas; Dallas Ft Worth is also in zones 8 (91-120 days > 86°F ) or zone 9 (121-150 days > 86°F)
Sunset Climate Zones; We are in ZONE 33. North-Central Texas and Oklahoma Eastward to the Appalachian Foothills

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 2:00:00 AM local standard time. Clocks are turn forward 1 hour to Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 3:00:00 AM local daylight time. http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/b2.html

Last Average Freeze Date for the Dallas & Ft Worth area:  http://www.weather.gov/fwd/d32dates
Average date of last freeze: March 13.
Latest freeze date: Apr 13, 1997 (32°F), Apr 13, 1957 (30°F)

(Dates 1898-2015 are used by NOAA for earliest and latest freeze dates. Average last freeze date should be the average from the most currently used 30 year period of 1981-2010 for days with 32 degree or less temperatures.)

Following is an interactive map I found of the US where you can move the map around to your state, city, block, and select from different freeze pertaining maps: http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/gismaps/freeze_guidance.htm#

First day of Spring (or Vernal Equinox): Spring begins on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5:29 am CDT (Central Daylight Time) http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/march-equinox.html
There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of night and day are nearly equal.

NOAA's Weather Forecast:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/fxus05.html
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html

ENSO Alert System Status:  Final La Niña Advisory

Synopsis:  ENSO-neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017.

It should be warmer and dryer for our area through the spring and summer.

 

PREFACE

March can be the busiest gardening month of the year. Landscape plants can still be planted, it’s time to start planting most of your summer vegetable and flower gardens, and you can install new turf grass sod. We are receiving new plants, vegetables, herbs in weekly.

If you didn’t fertilize in the last three or four months, do it this month.

Normally a lot of trees and bushes will start budding out late in February and early in March. It’s less stress on the plants to prune before budding, So it is probably too late to do it this month, but look at the particular plant in question. You still may be able to prune if it is still in bud.

The last spring frost or freeze is the middle of March for our area. What does this mean? It means it could freeze any day this month and even in the first half of April. I don’t think that will happen though, but watch the weather forecasts! Last year, 2016 was the hottest year globally, with 2015 & 2014 being the hottest during their time. In 2016 the lower 48 states with Alaska were the second hottest year. The Dallas / Ft. Worth area had  the third hottest year in 2016

 

VEGETABLES & ANNUAL FRUITS

Now is the time to plant the following vegetables:
Dates are for seeds unless specified S=Seed, T=Transplants.
Soil temperatures will mimetic air temperatures after a week or so of stable night time temperatures.
Some seeds need to be planted before the optimum soil temperature is reached so they can mature before the maximum temperatures arrive and stop the flowers from setting fruit.
Planting seed in too cold soil can cause growth and disease problems that can effect production.

Vegetable

Spring Planting
Dates

Air Temps, Day

Soil Temperatures

(N=Night)
(D/N=Avg)

Min

Optimum
Range

Max

Beans, Lima Bush (Phaseolus limensis var. limenanus)

Mar 23 - Apr 13

80-85, N:55-60

60

65-85

85

Beans, Lima Pole (Phaseolus limensis)

Mar 23 - Apr 13

80-85, N:55-60

60

65-85

85

Beans, Pinto (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Mar 20 - Apr

80-90, N:>65

60

60-85

95

Beans, Snap Bush (Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis)

Mar 23 - Apr

80-85, N:55-60

55-60

60-85

95

Beans, Snap Pole (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Mar 23 - Apr 13

80-85, N:55-60

55-60

60-85

95

Beans, Yellow Bush (Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis)

Mar 20 - Apr

80-85, N:55-60

60

60-85

95

Cantaloupe Muskmelon (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis)

Mar 23 - Apr

70-95, N: 55

60-70

75-95

95-100

Chard, Swiss (Beta vulgaris var. cicla)

Feb 1 - Mar 10

60-75, N: 40-45

40

50-85

95-100

Chicory, Cutting (Cichorium intybus) (Grown like Lettuce)

Witloof Chicory (also French or Belgian Endive),
Radicchio, Puntarelle

March, after
danger of frost

 

45

65 – 75,80

85

Collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

Feb 1 - Mar 31

D/N: 60-65

40-50

60-70

85

Corn, Sweet (Zea mays var. saccharata)

Mar 23 - Apr

D/N:68-72

50-65

60-95

100-105

Cucumber, Pickling (Cucumis sativus)

Mar 23 - Apr

80-90, N: 60-70

60-65

60-95

90-105

Cucumber, Slicing (Cucumis sativus)

Mar 23 - Apr

80-90, N: 60-70

60-65

60-95

90-105

Endive, Common (Cichorium endiva) (Grown like Lettuce)

Narrow-leaved called Curly Endive
Broad-leaved called Escarole

March, after
danger of frost

 

 

35-85

 

Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

Feb 10 - Mar 10

D/N 60-65

40-50

70-75

90-100

Lettuce, Butterhead (Lactuca sativa)

Feb - Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

85

Lettuce, Cos or Romaine (Lactuca sativa)

Feb - Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

70-85

Lettuce, Head (Lactuca sativa)

Feb - Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

85

Lettuce, Leaf (Lactuca sativa)

Feb – Mar

D/N:55-60

35-40

40-80

70-85

Mustard (greens) (Brassica juncea)

Feb 15 - Apr 27

60-65

40

45-85

105

Onion, Bulbing (Allium cepa)
    Seeds/Transplants (Slips) for this year bulbs

Jan 18 - Feb 1 (S)
Jan 4 - Mar 5 (T)

D/N: 60

35-50

50-95

90-95

Onion, Bunching [Scallions] (Allium cepa)
    Seeds/Transplants (Sets) for scallions this year

Jan 18 - Feb 1 (S)
Jan 4 - Mar 5 (T)

D/N: 60

35-50

50-95

90-95

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

Feb 01 - Mar 08

45-85

40-50

50-85

90

Pepper, Bell (Capsicum annuum var. grossum)

Mar 23-May 11

80-90, N: 65-70

55-60

65-95

90-95

Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo var. pepo)

Mar 23-Apr 20

85-95, N: 60-70

60

70-90

100

Radish (Raphanus sativus)

Feb - Apr 13

40-70, Optm 60-65

40

45-90

90-95

Rutabaga (Brassica napus var. napobrassica)

Feb - Mar

 

40

45-85

 

Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis)

As early in spring
as the ground
can be worked

 

 

 

 

Shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum) (like onions)

Jan 04 - Mar 05 (T)

 

 

45-95

 

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

Jan 18 - Mar 15

65-75, N: 40-45

35-40

45-75

85-100

Spinach, Malabar (Basella alba) vine

Seed 2 to 3 wks
after last frost date

>80, N: >60

 

65-75

90’s

Spinach, New Zealand (Tetragonia tetragonoides)

After last
freeze - April

70-95, N: 60

 

70-75

 

Squash, Summer (Cucurbita pepo var. melopepo)

Mar 23 – Apr

60-80

60

70-95

100-105

Squash, Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)

Mar 23 – Apr

60-80

60

70-95

100-105

Squash, Winter (Cucurbita moschata)

Mar 23 - Apr

60-80, N: 55

60

70-95

100-105

Tomatoes, Large-Fruited (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Mar 23 - May 11

80-85, N: 60-70

50-60

60-85

95-100

Tomatoes, Small-Fruited (L. esculentum var. cerasiforme) &
Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa)

Mar 23 - May 11

80-85, N: 60-70

50-60

60-85

95-100

Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapifera)

Feb - Mar 10

60-80, N: 40

40

60-105

100-105

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

Mar 23 - Apr

80-95, N: 60-70

60-70

70-95

105-110

When to Start Seeds Indoors: Seeds for flowers, herbs and vegetables are normally started indoors or in a greenhouse 6 to 10 weeks before last killing freeze. Average last freeze is around the middle of March for Dallas. So it’s probably too late to start growing transplants now. Just sow the seeds when the planting date or soil temperature is correct, or purchase transplant from us. Rohde’s will have what you need when it’s time to plant them.

Cold weather covers: It can still freeze so be ready to cover your crops.

Mulch: Don’t forget to mulch your new crops. We carry shreaded cedar, a smaller shread of hardwood, and pine straw mulch to add to bedding areas & bare soil before freezes. Mulching doesn’t really keep the ground warmer over long periods, but helps in slowing down temperature swings and letting the plants adjust easier.

Fertilize: Apply water-soluble fertilizer to get new plants off to a fast start. We carry several different types, combinations, sizes, and prices of organic liquid fertilizers. Green Sense Compost Tea, Fish Solubles, Kelp Extract, Fish & Kelp, Blackstrap Molasses, and Foliar Juice which is a combination of all of the fore mentioned flavors. Strong plants can deal with cold and hot weather better. Green Sense Kelp Extract contains many micronutrients that can help plants make it through the winter and summer in their best shape.

Mix Green Sense Worm Castings, and / or Green Sense 5-5-5 Vegetable and Flower food, in the planting beds and transplant holes.

Fertilize every 3-4 weeks on established vegetables with our dry organic fertilizers. If you are too lazy to side dress established plants with our GS 5-5-5 Vegetable and Flower or GS 3-3-3 Rose fertilizer, you can use our Green Sense 6-2-4 or 5-2-4 All Purpose Lawn and Garden fertilizer that will melt into the ground when watered. Liquid fertilizers can be applied every 2 weeks.

Water: Don’t forget to water if it doesn’t rain. It can be easy to over water now, since your landscape doesn’t dry out as fast, but it does dry out. The winter months are not the rainiest months. Many plants go dormant when it drops below freezing, but if the ground is not frozen, plant roots still grow. Hydrated plants survive freezing weather more successfully than dry plants, so check the ground moisture before freezes. You may notice that Mother Nature usually has rain leading the cold fronts that bring freezing temperatures.

HERBS

You can still plant perennial and cool season herbs, but most small transplants will need protection from freezes. We have new shipments of the cool season herbs in now. Warm season herbs will come in the middle of March after the average last freeze date. Best to plant them then and in April.

FLOWERS

Annual flowers: Now’s a popular time to make hanging baskets of annuals that are flowering now like alyssum, dianthus, geranium and petunia. Shady annuals are also good choices for hanging baskets. You can bring them in if it freezes.

Start planting warm season annuals, toward the end of the month when the soil warms, and freeze threat is past.

Perennial flowers: Perennial can be planted anytime the soil can be worked. Our availability increases with each warm sunny day.

Seeds: This month is also the time to start seeds for transplants of spring & summer blooming annuals.

Other jobs:

Prune dead foliage of established perennials when you see new growth and can tell what is dead.
Divide summer- and fall-flowering perennials if needed soon, while they are still dormant.
Protect cold-tender flowers during freezes.
Water and Mulch if needed.

 

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

The best time to plant ornamental grasses is early spring after the last freeze. The grasses will have the longest time to establish their roots before the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Deep established roots give many plants better drought, heat, and freeze tolerance.

Grasses are susceptible to crown rot, especially in winter. The majority prefers well drained soils in sunny location.

This is your last chance to cut back the dead tops of grasses to short clumps before they start growing again. Try to not cut the new growth because they will keep their haircut all season long.

You can divide clumps every three years or so as some grasses will do better because the centers die while the grass grows outward. You usually do this while the grass is still dormant like you would prune most plants, but some sources suggest dividing just as the grass breaks dormancy and starts greening or even while they are actively growing. Regardless, do so by spring to give the grass roots time to recover before the extremes of the coming summer and winter.

TREES, SHRUBS, & VINES

Planting:

While fall and winter is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs, it’s still a good time to do so now. A warming spring brings the desire to start planting and the selection at the nurseries start increasing. So don’t hesitate to come by Rohde’s on a regular base to get first pick of the new plants. We try to let you know what comes in on www.beorganic.com and Facebook

Choose plants in containers. It’s too late for bare rooted plants, and we don’t carry those anyway. Smaller container plants can become established quicker, and grow faster than larger potted or balled & burlapped plants too.

Ask about our delivery, planting, and warranties. Don’t forget the soil amendments; Green Sense Kelp Extracts for root stimulation, Green Sense Mycor granules to inoculate plants with mycorrhizae fungi, both bulk and bagged compost, well composted bagged manures, and a variety of mulches.

Plant spring-flowering shrubs, trees and vines now too.



We have fruit trees, shrubs, and berry vines. Come soon for best selections. Plant them now also. Common fruit trees are not native to our black clay soils, so they need special treatment. Good organic bed preparation is critical. Many have specific pruning requirements and need regular pest control for best growth and productivity. This should be planned for before picking out your plants.
Google “TAMU” (for Texas A&M University) and what you want to look up like fruit tree pruning, to get the Texas Agrilife Agricultural Extension Service information. Most is not organic oriented so ignore that part, but some is:
http://organiclifestyles.tamu.edu/.
Howard Garrett has a “Fruit & Pecan Tree Organic Guide” to get you going;
http://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Organic-Pecan-And-Fruit-Tree-Program_vq2255.htm.

Pruning:

Finish pruning winter damaged trees and shrubs now. Most plants are coming out of dormancy by now, so normal pruning shouldn’t be done. Exception is spring flowering trees, shrubs, and vines. Prune after they bloom if needed.

Prune evergreen shrubs by cutting out entire limbs to retain natural form instead of shearing to a ball or box shape. Nandinas can be pruned this way by removing taller canes at the ground.

Different fruit trees need specific pruning to encourage strong limbs and control the amount of fruit and where the fruit grows on each limb. Check with us for books we may have in stock on growing fruit and nut trees or the websites mention in the above planting section.

Don’t prune Oaks trees as they are susceptible to Oak Wilt disease, unless there is snow or storm damage. The insect disease carrier, the Sap Beetle, will be active if it is warm enough. It is very important to apply Rohde’s Green Sense Tree Goop to the wounds immediately and to insure it stays on for 2 days till the wound’s sap hardens.

Do not prune cold-tender plants such as: oleander, pittosporum, and palms. If the top parts freeze, it can still protect the ground level crown from dying. Wait to prune till after the last freeze.

Fertilize:

Fertilize camellias and azaleas after they finish blooming.

LAWN, TURF GRASSES & GROUND COVERS

Plant:

End of March is Grass planting time. You can sod your lawn now. Sodding is the best control of weeds also. Call Rohde’s to help you with this. Wait another month or two for the ground to warm for seeding Bermuda, or other warm season grasses. Consider Zoysia grass for replacement. It’s slower spreading, more expensive, not quite as shade tolerant, but more resistant to St Augustine’s fungal diseases and the cold. More important, Zoysia can go brown and dormant in the summer while St. Augustine goes brown and dead. Mixing grasses is ok too.

If you are going to re-sod your lawn, be sure to have an inch or four of compost incorporated into the top 6 inches of your soil. This is the best thing you can do to make your lawn drought tolerant. (See below in “Fertilizing”)

You can still plant groundcovers and borders. If you find you can’t grow grass under your trees, plant some of the many ground covers Rohde’s sells. Don’t plant it right up against trees to keep the root flare exposed.

Whatever you do, don’t leave the soil bare. At least cover it with compost.

Fertilizing:

Fertilize now if you haven't done so in the last 3 or 4 months. Regular fertilizing keeps a constant level of nutrients in your soil. Timing is not as important as consistency. But if you skipped the winter fertilizing, fertilizing now will benefit your trees and shrubs as they replace last year's food reserves they will use budding out and growing new foliage this month. To fertilize, use Green Sense All Purpose Lawn & Garden Fertilizer. It is the perfect choice. Applying a different mineral supplement like Lava sand, Greensand, Humate, or Sul-Po-Mag each time you fertilize can also be helpful. Greensand and Sul-Po-Mag also supply nutrients, so acquiring a soil test first will ensure what is needed and what is not needed.

Dry molasses and Humate don't supply substantial amounts of the major NPK nutrients, so they are less restrictive in the frequency or amount of product used. Molasses sugars are a direct source of energy for soil microbes and stimulates their populations. Humate supplies carbon for building more microbes and holds minerals for easy plant access. These products will help increase the microbial activity in your cool soil to help get your lawn going quicker in the spring. They will help the soil microbes to work longer during the cool of the fall. The increase in soil microbes will also make your yard less attractive to fire ants and other ground dwelling ants during the warm months.

Watering, Mowing:

While it is cool, you need to water if it hasn't rained in the last three or four weeks. Summer grasses are dormant now, but the roots still grow when the soil is 40 degrees or higher. The grass will weaken or die without water during the cold months, but you will not notice until it warms in April-May. You can also poke a stick or better, a screwdriver in the ground. If the screwdriver will not go down at least 2 inches, you may need to water. The recommended inch of irrigation should allow you to stick a screwdriver down at least 6 inches. It’s better to water in the morning when it is cool so the plants can dry out quicker and fungal disease is less accommodated. Water plants and turf before freezes if they are dry. Hydrated plants are hardier, especially evergreen plants. Moist soil also holds more of the daytime warmth.

Trim or mow groundcover beds if the particular groundcover will tolerate it, before spring growth begins. This will even them up and clean them up. Remove dead and damaged parts of beds and replace plants if needed.

Pests, Disease, & Weeds:

If you already have cool-season weeds established, corn gluten meal will not have an effect on them, but mowing and bagging before or as they go to seed will help eliminate many of them, particularly as it warms up. So mowing every couple of weeks may be needed when the weeds are growing

It’s may be too cold for Green Sense 8% Vinegar to work it’s best on weeds, but used on a warm day with pulling and mowing can control them until the lawn comes in. A strong growing lawn is the permanent solution to weeds. The best steps you can take to achieve a strong growing lawn is regular organic fertilizing along with periodic aerating and top dressing with compost. Call us for more information on these steps, 972-864-1934.


Fatty Acid Herbicides: An alternative to CGM and Vinegar is to apply an organic non-selective fatty acid herbicide that will “melt” the green growing tops of weeds in your lawn. The fatty acid soap will disrupt the cell membranes causing the insides of the cell to leak out. It is less temperature dependent also. It is non-selective and so will harm anything growing that it is sprayed on. In March and maybe April the warm season grasses should still be brown and dormant and will not be harmed by the fatty acid herbicides. You can spot spray the weeds only for cost effectiveness or spray large weedy areas if needed. This will not kill all of  the weeds as it is not a systemic like Round-Up, but will set the weeds back until the warm season grasses can come out of winter dormancy and start growing again to defend themselves. We have hose-end quart bottles of Monterey brand Herbicidal Soap for home use, and Rohde’s can spray larger areas, whole yards, and acreage with a similar commercial product; Scythe Organic Fatty Acid Herbicide. We have received very positive results from customers with this approach.

GENERAL PESTS & DISEASES

Trichogramma Wasps:
Toward end of February is the time to start releasing Trichogramma wasps, if you had problems with tent caterpillars, or other caterpillars, and/or have fruit and nut trees. They are almost microscopic size, nonstinging wasp, that lay their eggs inside other insect eggs. You will have to use a magnifying glass to see them. Gnats are bigger. Needless to say, apply on a windless day. The wasp babies then eat the insides of the insert eggs. Howard Garrett recommends multiple releases of Trichogramma wasps, and Green lacewings over several weeks to a month in his "Fruit & Pecan Tree Organic Guide", http://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Organic-Pecan-And-Fruit-Tree-Program_vq2255.htm. You will need to set up delivery with an on-line supplier. The wasp come as larva in little moth eggs attached to a sheet of card stock paper. We tried to stock Trichogramma wasps in the past, but they will only last a week before hatching out of the moth eggs, even under refrigeration.

Order them from:
Beneficial Insectary, Inc.
9664 Tanqueray Ct. 
Redding, CA 96003
530-226-6300
800-477-3715
http://www.insectary.com/

They can help you pick which specie you need and they will send you how many you need, when you need them.

Nematodes:
The nematode specie we carry is Steinernema feltiae. It is special in that it is active down to 50°F. Other commercially available nematodes are not active at that temperature. Take advantage of this and apply them when the soil temperature reaches 50°F or more, about 1 to 4 inches down in the spring. Use any thermometer. Many insects hatch as the soil temperature reaches the 50’s in the spring. They help control grub worms, fleas, fire ants, chiggers and other pests. Grub problems are not as common as once thought. Many grubs just feed on dead organic matter rather than plant roots. Some become predatory beetles. Lawn damage may be more likely caused by fungi than by grubs. Grubs you would treat in the fall.

Other Pest:
Watch for spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, and other insects on your houseplants. Rohde’s has plant oil based sprays for tender houseplants.

For foliage fungal problems like black spot and powdery mildew, we have plant oils, potassium bicarbonate, Serenade, copper sprays, dusting sulfur, Plant Wash.

Rohde’s carries “Precor”, an insect growth regulator, for treating your house for fleas. One-ounce bottle will treat 1500 sq ft. We also carry “food grade” diatomaceous earth for ticks, fleas, bed bugs, cockroaches, and many other indoor insects.

We carry the full complement of organic pest and disease controls, for both inside and out. Stop by and see.

If you are spraying anything, protect yourself with goggles and at least a NIOSH N95 approved Respirator Dust Mask. This stuff may be organic but it could be hazardous to inhale or sprayed in your eyes. Don’t take the chance.

OTHER THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

Now is also a good time to test your soil. Rohde’s recommends “Texas Plant & Soil Lab” at 5115 West Monte Cristo Road, Edinburg, Texas 78541-8852, 956-383-0739. They can give you organic recommendations. Having your soil tested now, will let you know what to apply to your lawn and gardens. Organic amendments are usually slow release, so applying now will let it break down to be available in the spring.

Prepare your old beds and make new ones now before its time to plant them later this month.

Clean up the yard of leftover leaves and fallen branch, acorns, etc. Mulch or compost them, do not throw away.

Add mulch and/or compost to bare or thin ground. We normally carry plenty of hardwood mulch, cedar mulch, pine needle bales, and Cotton Burr Compost. We also have dairy manure based mix of bulk compost.

Check out, repair, and perform maintenance on lawn equipment and tools before you need them.

Clean out and repair any birdhouses. Clean birdhouses with soap and water, inside and out. Scrap out gunk with a putty knife. Wear a mask to prevent inhaling nesting material that might contain pests. Soak in 10% bleach solution for 20 minutes. Rinse out three times at least and let dry completely. Any remaining bleach will evaporate. Repaint or stain with products that are labeled as being safe and non-toxic like shellac or zero VOC paints. Caulk if needed with aquarium safe silicone. Titebond III is one of the strongest wood glues, is waterproof, and does pretty well at gap filling. Check hardware for proper attachment

Keep bird feeders and bird baths clean. Change the water every couple of days. Use a long handle brush to scrub out the algae without getting wet. It’s best to put bird bathes in open, shady areas to give birds a better chance to see predators and keep cool in the summer. Wet birds don’t react as quick either. Rocks in the middle of the bath will allow the birds to drink without getting wet, important during the winter. Amazing as it might seem, we carry a nice selection of birdbaths of various sizes and types also.

Consider a second birdbath to fill with play sand for birds to “dust” in. This is as popular an activity as bathing is to birds. Change out the sand once a month or so. It’s cheap.

We carry an excellent selection of bird food from single seed to mixes, and from single pound purchases to 50-pound bags.

Most of this calendar is designed for Dallas, Tx in USDA Hardiness Zone 8a, with a predominant soil type of blackland prairie clay.