Gardening This Weekend: March 23, 2017
Hopefully this will be your most successful gardening season ever. Timing is one of the most critical issues. Here are your guidelines for this upcoming weekend.
• Tomatoes. Choose small and mid-sized varieties only. See related story this week.
• Other warm-season vegetables including bush beans, corn, cucumbers, squash and peppers.
• Marigolds, zinnias, begonias, cosmos, angelonias, pentas and other warm-season annuals. Wait another 1-3 weeks to plant periwinkles, pentas, lantanas, copper plants, moss rose, hybrid purslane and caladiums. They need warmer soils.
• St. Augustine, bermuda or zoysia sod. Wait to plant bermuda seed until warmer soil temperatures of late April or May.
• Mow lawn regularly to keep rank weeds in check. They will usually disappear after one or two mowings.
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines as needed to correct misshapen growth.
• Do not prune oaks during spring to minimize spread of oak wilt fungus. In emergency situations, seal all cut surfaces immediately with black pruning paint. That’s actually good practice with any oak pruning done at any time. Some cities in oak wilt zones actually require it.
• Turf with all-nitrogen lawn food with half or more of the nitrogen in slow-release (coated or encapsulated) form.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer each time that you water them. Incorporate an encapsulated, timed-release fertilizer with the potting soil for sustained feeding.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Aphids on tender new growth of annuals, perennials, shrubs and vegetables. Wash them off with a hard stream of water or apply a labeled insecticide.
• Spider mites on Italian cypress and junipers. Affected plants turn a drab green in portions at a time. You can only see the almost-microscopic mites by thumping a twig over a sheet of white paper and watching for them to start crawling about. Apply a labeled insecticide to eliminate them.
• Dichondra, dollarweed, clover, dandelions and other broadleafed (non-grassy) weeds with a herbicide containing 2,4-D. Read and follow label directions carefully for good results.