Gardening This Weekend: April 20, 2017

If you’re trying to stay ahead of your gardening game – if that was your biggest New Year’s Resolution – I’m here to help. Here are the critical tasks for this weekend.


• Summertime annuals to replace pansies and other cool-season crops. Some of the best: trailing lantanas, copper plants, firebush, coleus, wax begonias, ornamental sweet potatoes, angelonias, cleome, moss rose, hybrid purslane…this could go on forever.
• Heat-tolerant vegetables: okra, sweet potatoes (sandy soils), southern peas.
• New trees and shrubs while nurseries have the best supplies of the year. Be prepared to water them by hand for the first two years. Sprinkler irrigation doesn’t soak their root balls thoroughly enough.
• New turf from sod, seed or plugs.


• Dead shoots from frozen hydrangeas, crape myrtles, pomegranates, oleanders and other plants that may have suffered damage in your part of Texas. You may have to reshape the new growth that comes back.
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines to remove errant branches and reshape the plants in the process.
• Mow regularly and at recommended height to eliminate spring weeds and get grass off to a good start.


• All turf, trees and shrubs with all-nitrogen fertilizer (in sandy soils high-nitrogen) containing half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form.
• Container plants including hanging baskets with encapsulated, timed-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Supplement that with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer.


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• Cankerworms may be devouring foliage from parts or all of some species of trees. The insects will soon run their course and trees will fill in again, or you can apply Bacillus thuringiensis biological worm spray.
• Seridium canker is turning big areas of Italian cypress and Leyland cypress brown/dead. There is no spray to control this fungus. Sadly, the plants will need to be replaced.
• Broadleafed weeds can be controlled with application of broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D). That list would include dichondra, dollar weed, dandelions, clover and poison ivy among many others.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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