Gardening This Weekend: May 11, 2017
Grab a pencil and start making your own list. Here are things many people need to consider for the next several days. Perhaps a few will hit your memory bank, too.
• New shrubs and shade trees while nurseries still have outstanding supplies. Transport the plants home very carefully. Either put them inside a vehicle or wrap them in an old sheet or nursery shade fabric.
• Sod, seed or plugs to start new lawn plantings. This is singly the best and easiest time of the year to get new grass started.
• Annuals for summer color. I put my own list of my 10 favorite types for hot weather in e-gardens recently. Click to see what I wrote.
• Dead or damaged branches from shade trees. There seem to have been many more than usual on the lawn and drive around our house, and others are reporting the same to me. Be sure there are no large branches that could cause damage or injury. If you need professional help, hire a certified arborist.
• Mow lawn at recommended heights. Some people have the mistaken idea that grass is healthier if you mow it tall. Low, dense grass crowds out the weeds and makes a more vigorous turf. Check the recommended mowing height for your type of lawngrass, then mow to maintain it.
• Reshape overgrown houseplants you have brought outside for their annual “summer rehab” in the shade.
• Lawns, probably with an all-nitrogen food (unless a Texas A&M soil test recommends otherwise). Half or more of that nitrogen should be slow-release.
• Trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables can probably be fed with that same all-nitrogen or high-nitrogen fertilizer. Most Texas soils have excessively high amounts of phosphorus (middle number in the analysis).
• Iron-deficient plants that show the typical yellowed leaves with dark green veins on their newest growth first. See recent e-gardens article on how to identify and cope with true iron deficiency.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Take all root rot continues to be an issue in many St. Augustine lawns. Affected grass is yellowed in irregular sweeps across the lawn. Dr. Phil Colbaugh, retired plant pathologist with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, specializes in this disease even in his retirement. He wrote to me three days ago to advise that it is or soon will be time to stop the application of peat moss and start planting plugs to fill in the dead spaces. This disease activity slows when it starts to get hot so the benefits peat brings in repressing it will also diminish as summer approaches.
• Early blight on tomatoes in South Texas, in a week or two in North Texas. (See related story this issue.)
• Cabbage loopers chewing holes of leaves of cabbage, broccoli and other cole crops. Apply B.t. (Bacillus thuringiensis) biological worm spray or B.t. dust.