Gardening This Weekend: July 21, 2016

Take close note of your plants several times weekly. It takes only a day or two for dry plants to die. Conserve water whenever you can, of course, but often just a few carefully timed waterings over the course of a summer can save you hundreds of dollars in replacement plants.


• Crape myrtles while they’re in bloom in nurseries. Supplies and selection will shrink as the weeks pass. This is the best time to make your decisions. Here is a list of the best types by color and size.
• New lawngrass from sod, seed (bermuda only) or plugs. Be sure sod or plugs are fresh and vigorous. Plant lawn immediately, then water daily for 5 to 10 minutes to help it get started. After two weeks, increase days between waterings, and water more deeply.
• Annual flowers and foliage that can handle the heat to brighten up drab spots in your gardens.


• Remove any dead or damaged branches from trees and shrubs.
• Oak trees as needed. The oak wilt fungus is not active in the hottest summer weather, so this is an acceptable time to trim them. Seal all cut surfaces with black pruning paint.
• Keep mowing lawn at same height. It is a mistake to think that the grass will be healthier if you raise the mowing height. Tall grass becomes weak grass.


• Bermudagrass if it’s been longer than 8 weeks since last feeding. Wait to fertilize St. Augustine until early September to lessen chance of gray leaf spot outbreaks.
• Container plants with timed-release fertilizer every three or four months, and also high-nitrogen, water-soluble food each time you water.
• Iron-deficient plants (yellowed leaves, dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first) with iron/sulfur additive. Keep iron off masonry surfaces that could be stained.


• Chinch bugs causing dried and dead spots in sunny parts of St. Augustine. Check edges of dying grass for presence of small, black insects with irregular white diamonds on their wings. Treat with turf insecticide.
• Poison ivy in beds, climbing trees. I have this information on my website.
• Lacebugs continue to turn leaves of Boston ivy, pyracanthas, bur oaks, sycamores, azaleas and other plants tan. You’ll see their black droppings on the backs of the leaves, but you probably won’t be able to see the pests themselves. Most insecticides will control them, but systemic insecticide applied in early summer will prevent this damage from showing up in the first place.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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