Gardening This Weekend: April 28, 2016
I’m a list-maker. If I don’t do it, I find myself carried off-course into my favorite tasks. Meanwhile, things that needed my attention don’t get done. You probably have your own set of priorities, but for most Texas gardeners, this list would be a great starting point.
• New sod or plugs. Prepare soil carefully, as we covered here recently. South Texas: OK to seed bermuda now, but wait yet one or two more weeks for optimum time in North Texas.
• Summer annual color. It’s late for pansies and geraniums, as they don’t handle heat very well, but for lantanas, copper plants, crotons, ornamental sweet potatoes, firebush, Gold Star Esperanza, purple fountaingrass, moss rose, hybrid purslane, fanflower, pentas, begonias, coleus and the dozens of other good choices, your time starts now. It’s wise to wait another week or two to plant caladium tubers, and another month for periwinkles.
• Erratic shoot growth from elaeagnus, Lady Banksia roses and standard glossy abelias, among others. Prune to a natural growth form, not to formal shapes.
• Mow at the recommended height for the grass that you’re growing. That’s the best way to keep grass low-growing and dense.
• Pinch out growing tips of new blackberry shoots to force them to produce side branches and to manage height.
• All-nitrogen fertilizer to almost all Texas lawns and landscapes and even most Texas fruit and vegetable plantings. Phosphorus, middle number of the 3-number analysis, accumulates in most soils to the point of causing toxicity. Most of our soils have adequate potassium. When you buy your all-nitrogen food, have the nurseryman show you types that have half or more of the N in slow-release form.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets, either with water-soluble fertilizer with each watering or with encapsulated timed-release fertilizers specifically made for such purposes.
• Aphids accumulating on new growth of many types of plants, always in masses, and always pear-shaped bodies. Most inorganic and organic insecticides will control them, or wash them off with hard streams of water.
• Black spot on roses. Look for yellowed areas with dark brown spots sprinkled across them. Infected leaves will fall from the plants leaving them bare. Apply labeled fungicide, and keep foliage dry as much as possible. (See rose-related story on Rose Rosette Virus here next week.)
• Snails, slugs and pillbugs devour tender new foliage and stems. Sevin dust or baits will kill them. Some people sink piepans, fill them with water and then sprinkle in dry dog food. The dog food ferments and attracts the pests. They fall in and drown.