Gardening This Weekend: August 18, 2016

Each week I assemble the things I feel are most critical to your gardening success here in Texas. These are the ones I’d rank highest for this week.


• Sod, seed or plugs now. New grass needs to have time to become rooted well before soils start to cool. Mid-September is the latest time possible. This weekend in August is the best of the ones you still have available. Don’t delay.
• Fall vegetables. Finish broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts now. In northern half of state, begin planting leafy and root crops in the next week. Central Texas gardeners can move those plantings back by one week, South Texans by two.
• Fall-flowering bulbs as they become available in nurseries, including spider lilies, oxblood lilies, fall crocus (Sternbergias) and naked lady lilies.


• Continue to mow lawn at recommended height. If lawn is filling with weeds and looking rather sparse, odds are quite good that you’re mowing too high.
• Remove spent flower stalks, seedheads and browned leaves from perennials. Pinch-prune overgrown copper plants, coleus, wax and Dragonwing begonias and other lanky annuals back to good form.


• Shrubs, groundcovers and bermudagrass with all-nitrogen lawn fertilizer that has half or more of its nitrogen in slow-release form. Water deeply after feeding.
• New annual flower and vegetable plantings with high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer to keep plants growing actively.
• Iron, along with a sulfur soil-acidifier, to correct iron chlorosis (yellow leaves with dark green veins on newest growth most prominently). Keep iron products off concrete, brick and stone to prevent staining.


• Nutsedge (nutgrass). This weekend is last call for application of the original Image to control nutsedge. A second application will be needed 30 days later. Sedgehammer is an alternative. It, too, needs to be applied as soon as you can.
• Chinch bugs. These continue to kill big patches in St. Augustine turf. The grass will appear dry, but it won’t respond to watering. They’ll always be in full sun, in hottest part of yard, usually reappearing in the same places each year. If you part the grass, you can see the BB-sized black insects with white diamonds on their backs at the interface of green and browning turf. Apply an insecticide labeled for their control.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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