Gardening This Weekend: August 30, 2018

Here are your assignments for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Hopefully you’ll find a few minutes to check through them.


Wildflower seeds, including acid-scarified bluebonnets for best germination. Plant into dedicated wildflower spaces where you do not have turfgrass. They do not compete well.
Fall-flowering bulbs as you find them in nurseries. List includes spider lilies, fall crocus, oxblood lilies and naked lady lilies.
Fall-flowering perennials as they are sold in nurseries, including Mexican bush sage, Mexican mint marigold, mums and Gregg’s mistflower.


Dead stubble from crape myrtles. The past two winters have done damage to Natchez and Tuscarora varieties in North Texas. Trim out all the dead wood now, while it’s easy to identify.
Tall weeds, especially ragweed, to lessen allergies and spread of seeds. If you happen to have milkweed on a rural Texas property, however, leave it in place for the Monarchs.
Dead branches from trees and shrubs. If you have dead branches high up in pecans and other large shade trees, contract to have them removed before winter. We had a 4-inch red oak branch fall just a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately it did no damage.


Water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer for hanging baskets, patio pots. Take advantage of their burst of new growth they will put out with fall’s improved growing conditions.
High-quality lawn fertilizer as prescribed by soil test. For most Texas soils that will mean an all-nitrogen food with a significant percentage of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Water deeply after application.

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Pre-emergent granules of Halts, Dimension or Balan to prevent germination of winter grasses including annual bluegrass (Poa annua), rescuegrass or ryegrass and Gallery to prevent broadleafed weeds such as henbit, chickweed, dandelions and clover. See related story last week. This application must be made within the next week.
Armyworms in bermuda turf may be stripping lawn bare. Most general-purpose insecticides will eliminate them. Follow up a few days later with fertilizer and a deep watering. See related story in last week’s issue.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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