Gardening This Weekend: April 21, 2016


• Nursery stock, including trees, shrubs, vines and groundcovers. Know plants’ mature sizes and ask for any special care instructions before you buy.
• Best sources of summer annual color to plant now: lantanas, firebush, copper plants, purple fountaingrass, cosmos, fanflower, moss rose, hybrid purslane, angelonia, pentas and Gold Star esperanza.
• Choose best type of grass for your needs, then determine how best to plant it. (See related story on planting new sod now, this issue.) I have pages of useful help in my newest book. (See ad this issue.)
• Warm-season vegetables. There is little to be gained by planting cool spring plants weeks after their prime planting times simply because you’ve been delayed by weather, family matters, etc. They won’t have time to mature before heat wipes them out. Plant beans, cucumbers, squash, bush beans, tomatoes and peppers now. Southern peas, okra and sweet potatoes can be planted soon thereafter.



• Forsythia, bridal wreath, quince, azaleas, wisterias and other spring-flowering shrubs and vines as needed to reshape. However, do not carve them into unnatural globes, boxes or ovals.
• Short grass will do the best job of crowding out weeds and covering bare spaces. Know each type’s recommended mowing height, and mow frequently to keep the grass at that level. Mow frequently enough that you’re removing no more than one-third the blade length at each cut.



• Virtually all of your plantings are growing at their maximum rates right now. Dependent on the results of a reputable soil test, apply a high-nitrogen, or more likely an all-nitrogen fertilizer. Use only types with half or more of the nitrogen in slow-release form. Your nurseryman can help you determine the best food for your needs.
• Correct iron deficiencies by applying iron with sulfur soil-acidifier. Iron becomes insoluble in alkaline soils (most of the western 80 percent of the state). Iron chlorosis shows up as yellowed leaves at the ends of the branches, veins turning green last. Keep iron products off concrete or other surfaces that could be stained.



• Apply broadleafed weedkillers to non-grass plants like clover, dandelions, dichondra, dollarweed, thistles, poison ivy. Read and follow label directions to avoid damage to desirable plants.
• Cabbage loopers are larvae form of white cabbage butterflies. They devour foliage of the cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts). Eliminate loopers with Bacillus thuringiensis biological worm control.
• Aphids are on many kinds of landscape and garden plants. They’ll always be in masses on tender new stems and leaves. Look for pear-shaped insects with dual “exhaust pipes” coming out their back ends. Control with almost any organic or inorganic insecticide, or wash them off with a hard stream of water from the hose.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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