Gardening This Weekend: June 2, 2016
When temperatures begin to roll into the 90s and beyond, your margins of error shrink faster than a young child’s allowance. Here are the critical things you’ll need to do in a timely manner. Scan through them quickly. Your plants will thank you.
• New lawngrass from sod, seed or plugs.
• Hot-weather annuals such as trailing lantana, pentas, angelonia, purslane, moss rose, fanflower, firebush and, from foliage: purple fountaingrass and copper plants.
• Tropicals to enhance pool and patio settings, including bananas, hibiscus, elephant ears (shade), crotons, bougainvillea and mandevilla among others.
• Branches that have been damaged by spring storms.
• Low-hanging branches that are casting excessive shade onto lawn. (Wait until mid-July to prune oaks to lessen chance of oak wilt invasion.)
• Vigorous new growth on shrubs, groundcovers, but try to maintain natural growth forms. Avoid rounded and square shearing whenever possible.
• Hanging baskets and container plants with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food each time that you water.
• Iron and sulfur soil acidifier to correct chlorosis (yellowed leaves, dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first).
• Turfgrass with second feeding of high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form. (See critical related story on gray leaf spot of St. Augustine in Question of the Week, this issue.)
Urgent Message inserted late Thursday: If water has been standing around your plants, they may struggle in the next couple of weeks. High water tables drive oxygen out of the soil, so the plants’ roots may die. At the least, succulent plants like tomatoes may wilt badly the first couple of days that the sun hits their leaves, even if their roots are completely fine.
• Second application of pre-emergent to prevent germination of crabgrass, grassburs. Apply Team, Dimension or Halts granules followed by a good watering. If you did not make first application in March, this application will be useless.
• Early blight causing lower leaves of tomatoes to turn yellow, then quickly dried and brown. Apply labeled fungicide.
• Webworms in pecans, other trees. Prune small webs out of canopy before they overtake branches. Spraying is not efficient and requires power equipment.
• Fleas are abundant this year. Apply labeled insecticide to yard, groundcovers, bare ground where pets may visit, even up sides of tree trunks, fences and walls. Treat or wash pet’s bedding, and apply vet-recommended product, perhaps containing Fipronil, for long-term help with the pests.
• Chiggers and mosquitoes. It’s probably easier to treat yourself than to treat all of your world. Apply DEET insect repellent to keep them away. Spray all exposed flesh. For chiggers, spray feet, ankles and calves, then spray outside of shoes, clothes as well.