Gardening This Weekend: May 31, 2018

We’re in that transition from those cool times just a few weeks ago into the long and warm days of summer that have already begun. Here are things you’ll want to get done now.


Annuals that will stand up to that heat for the next several months. Remember that annuals give you months of great color. Perennials, nice as they are, are usually in bloom for only a few weeks. If you’re planting perennials, plan for a succession of blooms from different types.
Tropical foliage and flowers to highlight pools and patios: bougainvilleas, mandevillas, bananas, crotons, variegated tapioca, elephant ears and their relatives and hibiscus for flowers.
New turfgrass from sod, plugs or seed. As it gets hotter it becomes more work to get it established. This is the tail end of the best time for planting.


Oddly growing shoots on shrubs. There always are a few of them each spring. Trim them individually so you can maintain the plants’ natural growth forms. There’s no need to do formal shearing and shaping.
Pinch growing tips out of annuals and perennials that tend to get lanky and floppy: fall asters, copper plants, some coleus, Mexican bush sage.
Blackberries, following harvest, to remove all canes that have just borne fruit completely to the ground. They will never bear fruit again. Pinch growing tips out of strong new 2018 shoots to encourage them to branch and stay more compact.


Container plants, including hanging baskets, with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food every few times that you water them. Nutrients leach out of their potting soils rapidly.
Iron and sulfur soil acidifier to correct chlorosis (yellowed leaves, dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first).
Lawns with all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form (encapsulated or coated). Timing of this feeding is especially critical for St. Augustine turf. It should come within next 10-15 days to lessen chance of gray leaf spot invasion.

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Bagworms are active on junipers, arborvitae and other conifers across Texas. Look for the larvae to be feeding voraciously on the small needles. Damage is unnoticeable at first. That’s when their bags are still quite small, and that’s when you need to apply Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) or almost any general-purpose inorganic insecticide. They can quickly kill their host plants.
Early blight causing lower leaves of tomatoes to turn yellow, then quickly dried and brown. Apply labeled fungicide.
Second application of pre-emergent to prevent germination of crabgrass, grassburs. Apply Dimension or Halts granules now followed by a good watering. It may be difficult to find these granules, but your local independent retail garden center can order them in for you. If you did not make first application in March, this application will be useless.
Chiggers, ticks and mosquitoes are active outdoors. Protect yourself by applying DEET before you head outside. Spray all exposed flesh, especially your feet, ankles and shins. Apply to your shoes, socks and cuffs.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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