Gardening This Weekend: July 13, 2017
There’s hardly a soul who wants to spend hours and hours in their landscape and garden in the mid-summer heat. Still, there are critical things to be done. I’ve pared them all down to the most important few.
• Peppers for fall. This applies to bells, jalapenos, sweet bananas and all the various ornamental peppers as well. This is their prime time for planting.
• Fall color annuals, including hybrid purslane, portulaca, periwinkles (Cora, the disease-resistant types), trailing lantanas, cleome, amaranthus, pentas, angelonias, Dahlberg daisies, purple fountaingrass, fanflower, purpleheart and others.
• Turfgrass to get it established before the first killing frost in late October, November.
• Late spring and summer perennials to remove spent flowers and seed stalks.
• Flower buds out of growing tips of coleus, caladiums, basil and other plants whose foliage production is stopped by development of flowers.
• Wild shoots on shrubs, groundcovers to maintain tidy landscape appearance. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible, however.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets every third of fourth time that you water them. Potting soils are notoriously low in nutrition since it leaches out the drain holes quite quickly.
• Iron-deficient azaleas, gardenias, fringeflowers, other shrubs and small trees with chelated iron and sulfur soil acidifier. Keep iron products off masonry and painted surfaces that could be stained. It is usually futile and prohibitively expensive to treat larger trees.
• Bermuda turf if it’s been more than 8 to 10 weeks since last you did. Apply all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Do not fertilize St. Augustine until early September due to possibility of gray leaf spot.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Chinch bugs in St. Augustine. Watch the sunniest, hottest parts of your lawn. If they begin to look dry, and if watering doesn’t perk them up, part the grass with your fingers and look for BB-sized black insects with irregular white diamonds on their backs around the perimeter of the affected area. Treat at once with an insecticide labeled for chinch bugs. They can quickly kill large areas of turf.
• Gray leaf spot causes washes of yellowed St. Augustine in sun and shade. Infected grass will have BB-sized gray/brown, diamond-shaped lesions. Discontinue all nitrogen until mid-September, and treat with a labeled turf fungicide. Your local independent nursery owner can show you your choices. See related Question of the Week.
• Grasshoppers, katydids and other chewing insects will bother a wide assortment of landscape and garden plants. Look for the pests. If you can find them, you’ll have a head start in knowing what to use and how and when to apply it. Contact insecticides work best on the flying pests, while Bacillus thuringiensis is best for caterpillars.
• All plants for signs of moisture stress. Water by hand if you must, but don’t lose plants just because you forgot to water them once.