Gardening This Weekend: July 27, 2017
Late July brings some very timely tasks in the landscape and garden. Here is an accumulation of what I’d consider to be the most critical.
• New turf as soon as you can. It needs to become rooted well before it starts to cool down. Water in morning and evening (5 minutes each) until the grass gets firmly established (usually 10-15 days). Then gradually lengthen the intervals between waterings and water more deeply when you do irrigate.
• Bush beans, squash, cucumbers, corn for your fall garden.
• Marigolds, zinnias, celosia transplants for fall color. Choose plants that are growing vigorously, but that are in bud but not yet showing color.
• Shade trees to remove dead or damaged branches. Cuts should be virtually flush with the trunk or other branches. Do not leave stubs. It is fine to prune oak trees at this time, but seal all cut surfaces with pruning paint. You do not need to seal other tree species.
• Erratic shoots from shrubs, groundcover beds to keep the landscape tidy.
• Lawn at recommended height. Letting grass grow taller does not improve its summer durability. In fact, it weakens the grass and allows weeds to get started.
• Deadhead perennials to remove spent flower heads and seed stalks. You do not need to prune crape myrtles to remove fruit. They will rebloom just as quickly and just as heavily if you leave the seedheads in place.
• Give annual color beds new sizzle by applying a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Most types bloom on new growth, and that’s exactly what the nitrogen will promote.
• Iron-deficient plants to correct chlorosis. This is most common in areas with alkaline soils and alkaline irrigation water. Iron becomes insoluble under those conditions. Recognize iron deficiency by yellowed leaves with dark green veins most prominently displayed on the newest growth first. Apply an iron additive along with a sulfur soil-acidifier.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer each time that you water them. Nutrients drain out of their soils very quickly, hence the need to replenish frequently.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Gray leaf spot causing St. Augustine to turn yellowish in irregular “washes” across the lawn. Diamond-shaped, gray-brown lesions will also appear on the leaf blades and runners. Avoid nitrogen fertilizers between mid-June and early September. Nitrogen exacerbates gray leaf spot in hot weather. Apply a fungicide labeled for leaf spots in grasses. You’re most likely to find one in an independent retail garden center. Here is a link to a recent story we published here in e-gardens. See the photos for an indication of how it appears in the lawn.
• Chinch bugs will kill St. Augustine in hot, sunny parts of the yard. Grass will appear dry, but watering won’t bring it back. You can see the small black insects in the perimeter of the dying area if you part the grass with your fingertips on a hot afternoon. Here is a link to a recent story we did here on chinch bugs.
• Lace bugs are bleaching all of the color out of leaves of pyracanthas, azaleas, sycamores, Boston ivy, bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, lantana and other plants. Spray with a contact insecticide now, but apply a systemic insecticide earlier next year to prevent the damage ever from happening. To ease your mind, there should be no long-term damage to the affected plants.
• Spider mite damage looks similar to that of lace bugs, but it is often associated with fine webbing. Here is an explanation of how to identify them from a recent e-gardens.