Gardening This Weekend: May 19, 2016

A quick shout-out to my newest book (see ad this issue): Chapter 2 recreates and expands all the “when to do” things I used to put into my annual Texas Gardening Calendars. Most people don’t hang calendars anymore, so I decided that would be more useful to put it all into the book. From those pages, I’ve chosen the most critical tasks for this late May weekend ahead.



• New lawns. Sod or seed planted now will establish quickly without the challenges of our hottest summer weather.
• Groundcovers. You’ll still get almost a full season of growth if you plant them soon. Prepare the soil as you would for flowers or vegetables.
• Hot-weather color. Pansies have gone. Petunias are going. It’s time for the plants that can handle our heat. Let your nursery professional show you the best options.



• Mums, coleus, copper plants, begonias, fall asters, Mexican bush sage and even new growth of blackberries. “Pinch out” growing tips to encourage side-branching.
• Mow lawn at recommended heights to keep grass low and dense. Tall grass quickly becomes weak grass.
• Trees, shrubs to remove erratic spring growth, but avoid formal shearing whenever possible.



• Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food regularly. Nutrients leach out of containers’ soils very quickly with watering.
• Lawns, landscape plants and vegetables with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer, as directed by soil test. Texas A&M Soil Testing Laboratory gives outstanding details.



• Early blight causing lower leaves of tomatoes to turn yellow (thumbprint-sized blotches), then brown, then to drop. Keep leaves dry whenever possible.
• Webworms in pecan, walnut trees. Prune to remove them as soon as you see the small webs starting to develop. Get them while webs are still grapefruit-sized. Use a long-handled pole pruner. (Do not use near power lines.) Spraying is difficult, costly and ineffective.
• Poison ivy. Treat with a broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D). Apply carefully to lush new growth. Remember that all parts of poison ivy plants, even roots and stems, can cause the severe skin reactions.
• St. Augustine problems. See Question of the Week, this issue.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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