Gardening This Weekend: July 12, 2018
No one wants to spend more time than necessary out in the heat. But your plants are counting on your help over the next several weeks. Here are my suggestions.
• Fall annual color. Copper plants, firebush, purple fountaingrass, fanflower, Cora periwinkles, pentas, angelonias, marigolds, zinnias, celosias.
• Fall perennials as they appear in nurseries: fall asters, Mexican bush salvias, Mexican mint marigold, spider lilies, autumn crocus, naked lady lilies, oxblood lilies.
• Peppers, both sweet and hot peppers for the garden and ornamental peppers for the landscape
• Oaks now that we’re into mid-July. Pathologists and foresters tell us it’s OK to prune now – that chances of spreading oak wilt have diminished now that it’s hot. Seal all cuts with black pruning paint to be sure.
• Flowerbuds as they form on coleus, basil, caladiums and lamb’s ear. Flowers stop further production of the desirable foliage.
• Dead and broken branches from shade trees and shrubs. Leave no stubs by making all cuts flush with remaining trunks, limbs.
• Annuals that are producing smaller flowers and that have pale green foliage probably need a boost of nitrogen. Most of them flower on new growth, so the nitrogen should help them pick things up for the fall.
• Trace element “packages” are usually included in water-soluble fertilizers. It takes very little of these minor elements to satisfy plants’ requirements, so count on the commercial products to provide all that they need.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• St. Augustine lawns are being ravaged by chinch bugs. Always in sunniest, hottest parts of yard. Grass will appear dry, but won’t respond to watering. Insects will be visible at interface of green and dying grass. BB-sized black with white diamonds on wings. Apply Merit insecticide.
• Signs of moisture stress. Lower leaves yellowing, dropping. Foliage of hollies turning olive drab (since they don’t wilt). Leaves of Asian jasmine, St. Augustine folding downward. All are signs that you need to water very soon.
• Grasshoppers devouring foliage of vegetables, ornamentals. Sprays should be applied in a downward sweep to coat the pests as they try to fly away. Let your Texas Certified Nursery Professional show you the products available for their control.
• Large, striped and low-flying wasps are probably predatory cicada killers (beneficial). They build nests in the ground. Their encounters with cicadas are very noisy, after which they take the paralyzed insects back to serve as food for their larvae. They are harmless to humans unless provoked.