Gardening This Weekend: March 30, 2017
Somebody turned the Responsibility Rheostat up to full speed. There’s so much to be done the first weekend of April. Here are the 15 or 20 tasks I’d put high on that list.
• Warm-season annuals including marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, wax begonias, pentas, angelonias and coleus. In South Texas you can add lantanas, periwinkles, moss rose, caladiums, firebush, Texas Gold esperanza, moss rose, hybrid purslane and caladiums to the list, but save them for planting later in April in North Texas.
• Tomatoes. Timing is critical. Wait too long and you’ll run into summer’s heat. Stay with small-fruiting types. Here is a story from last week’s e-gardens in case you missed it.
• Peppers, bush beans, squash, cucumbers, corn and other warm-season vegetables. Okra, sweet potatoes and southern peas can be planted in South Texas, but wait several weeks in North Texas.
• Warm-season turfgrasses from sod or plugs. Wait to seed bermuda until May (except in South Texas).
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines to reshape as needed. Avoid formal shearing.
• Dead or damaged branches from trees, shrubs, including stems killed by this past winter’s cold. Wait to prune oaks until mid-July to lessen the chance of spreading oak wilt. Seal all cut surfaces of oaks immediately with black pruning paint.
• Remove spent flowers from spring bulbs such as daffodils and narcissus, but leave foliage intact until it dies to the ground in several weeks. It’s critical in nourishing the bulbs for next year’s blooms.
• Lawn with all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form. That presumes that a recent soil test doesn’t suggest some other type of fertilizer. They rarely do.
• Same type of all-N food will work with most of your other plants, including trees, shrubs, groundcovers and even annual and perennial flowers and vegetables. One high quality fertilizer may truly “do all.”
• New annual and perennial transplants with liquid or water-soluble, high-N fertilizer weekly for several feedings.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Cabbage loopers chewing holes in leaves of cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Apply B.t. biological worm treatment.
• Spider mites on junipers, Italian cypress. See Question of the Week this week. Don’t put this treatment off. It’s critical.
• Aphids congregating on tender new growth. Most general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticides will control them.
• Broadleafed weeds with a spray product containing 2,4-D. Read and follow label directions for best results and to avoid doing damage to desirable trees and shrubs nearby.
• Snails and slugs feeding at night. You’ll see their slime trails on the ground and on plant leaves. Dust with a snail/slug bait. Some people use a shallow pan filled with beer or with dry dog food to which you’ve added water. The pests will be attracted to the smell and will drown.