Advice for landscaping your ETX yard

Published: Mar. 15, 2012 at 1:24 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2012 at 2:54 AM CDT
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With such a mild winter here in East Texas, many plants have already bloomed. Now, the question is how long will these plants last?
"It's kind of a hard question. We typically have an Easter event where it gets cold...freezing typically," said Byron Utz with the Tyler Area Builder's Association.
Utz is also the owner of Excel Pools and Landscape. He is advising his customers to wait on spring and summer annual plants till after Easter.
"But a lot of people have already planted them. They'll probably be okay, but they need to be prepared. They need to have a bale of hay, pine straw and leave bagged up ready," Utz explained.
If you do this, he says your freshly planted annuals should be okay through a short freeze.
He said there are plenty of things you can plant right now that should be safe for the unpredictable weather.
"We can plant all of our shrubbery and trees, even grass," Utz said. 
Mekia Hasley, a Tyler resident, is ready to start planting now, but like Utz, she is cautious about what she plants.
"Because sometimes we get what they call a last little Easter snap and it does freeze a little bit and get cold, so that could be a concern," Hasley explained. 
Hasley visited House Nursery in Tyler for some advice on what plants can withstand the possible freeze.
April Anderson is a sales associate at House Nursery. She helped Hasley pick up a few things she could plant today. 
"Boxwood, gardenia, pittosporum, maybe some iris, ligustrum... where she can create different variances with green in her landscape and where she doesn't have to worry about the blooming, the new growth, and things like that," Anderson explained. 
Utz went on to explain that the warm weather has brought with it the early growth of certain weeds that East Texas does not usually see until later in the year. 
"So, if you bought a Weed-n-Feed that had a pre-emergent herbicide in it, you may be wasting your money. You need to know what kinds of weeds you have in your yard. You probably should buy a post-emergence herbicide," he told us. 
He also recommends East Texans begin fertilizing. 
With the first day of spring being on March 20, Utz has just one more piece of advice when it comes to East Texas gardening. 
"Start planting," he said. 
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