Gardening This Weekend: September 8, 2016

Summertime tasks need to be wrapped up quite soon. Fall responsibilities are folding in behind them. Better read carefully. This is a critical time of the year.


• Ryegrass as a green cover all winter, but not if you have already applied pre-emergent herbicide. (See related story this issue.)
• Sod for warm-season turf as soon as possible. It’s very late to be seeding bermuda, especially in the northern half of the state.
• Wildflower seeds, including acid-scarified bluebonnets for best germination. Plant into dedicated wildflower spaces where you do not have turfgrass. They do not compete well.
• Fall-flowering bulbs as you find them in nurseries. List includes spider lilies, fall crocus, oxblood lilies and naked lady lilies. Supplies may be limited by now.
• Fall-flowering perennials as they are sold in nurseries, including Mexican bush sage, Mexican mint marigold, mums and Gregg’s mistflower.


• Dead branches from trees and shrubs. If you have dead branches high up in pecans and other large shade trees, contract to have them removed before winter. They become very brittle and may break with winter winds, ice, snow or rain. (Voice of experience.)
• Tall weeds, especially ragweed, to lessen allergies and spread of seeds. If you happen to have milkweed on a rural Texas property, however, leave it in place for the Monarchs.


• High-quality lawn fertilizer as prescribed by soil test. For most Texas soils that will mean an all-nitrogen food with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Water deeply after application.
• Water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer for hanging baskets, patio pots. Eventually you will want to withhold fertilizer from plants that will be coming indoors for the winter.


• Pre-emergent weedkillers should have been applied by now, but you’ll still get very good reductions in winter and early spring weed populations by applying Halts or Dimension now for cool-season winter grassy weeds and Gallery for cool-season broadleafed weeds. See notes from August 25 issue for details. (People are reporting problems in finding Gallery due to exhausted supplies. Ask your local independent retail garden center owner.)
• Armyworms in bermuda turf may be stripping lawn bare. Most general-purpose insecticides will eliminate them. Follow up a few days later with fertilizer and a deep watering.
• Watch patio pots and hanging baskets for insect pests if you intend to bring them indoors for the winter. It’s much easier to address them while they’re outside.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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