Gardening This Weekend: April 26, 2018
Texas nurserymen will rejoice to see good weather on a Saturday morning. So will avid gardeners. Here are the most pressing things you’ll want to get done.
• New lawngrasses from sod, seed or plugs. Soils are warm enough now that the grass will take off, but the weather is still cool enough that you’ll be able to keep up with your watering responsibilities as the new grass gets started.
• Trees, shrubs and other landscaping plants are looking their best in Texas nurseries. This is a fine time to plant so you can take advantage of the burst of spring growth.
• Summer annual color to replace pansies and other spent annuals of winter. You have dozens of fine choices. Have fun making your selections, and remember that a garden is only as good as the soil you prepare for it.
• Erratic new growth from shrubs, vines and groundcovers to guide them into attractive, natural forms.
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines, as needed to reduce size, now that they have finished blooming.
• Dead flowerheads from daffodils and other early-spring perennials, but leave foliage in place to yellow and brown if you expect them to rebloom next year.
• Almost all plants, including turf, landscape plants, flowers and vegetables with all-nitrogen or high-nitrogen plant food. Perhaps surprisingly, soil tests show that nitrogen is usually the only major element that is deficient in most Texas soils, so almost all of your plants will do best given a high-quality lawn fertilizer.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer every week or two to keep them growing actively. Supplement it with slow-acting, timed-release fertilizer pellets as well.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Rose rosette virus is running rampant across North Central Texas (DFW) and spreading to other parts of the state. See related story this issue.
• Seridium canker and Phomopsis twig blight continue to cause large sections of Italian cypress, Blue point junipers and other conifers to die again this year. Plant pathologists do not offer much hope other than pruning out infected branches and doing whatever we can to improve drainage around the plants. There is no fungicide that will stop their spread.
• Cabbage loopers chewing holes in leaves of cabbage, broccoli and other cole crops. Only effective control is the organic Bacillus thuringiensis dust or spray.