Gardening This Weekend: April 25, 2019

It would be easy to list 100 things that a gardener should do this time of the year, but I’m going to boil them down to the most important for this last weekend of April. See if you agree with my choices.

Nursery stock. Supplies are still good. Transport the plants home carefully by wrapping and securing them in old sheets or nursery shade fabric or putting them in an enclosed trailer. Highway winds will ruin new foliage.
New lawngrasses. Sod and plugs can be planted anywhere in Texas now. Bermuda can be seeded in South Texas. Wait until mid-May in North Texas.
Summertime color from annuals that can hold up to the heat. I’ve spotlighted some of the best in this issue. Take a look.

Branches that have failed to leaf out before they drop to do damage. You’ll probably want to hire a certified arborist to do this work for you.
Spring-blooming shrubs and vines now that they have finished flowering to reshape them. Avoid formal shearing into cubes and globes.
Mow lawn frequently to discourage late winter weeds from setting seeds, also to encourage new growth of turfgrass to spread and crowd out summer weeds.

Turfgrass with all-nitrogen food unless soil test dictates otherwise. Upwards of half that nitrogen should be in slow-release form.
Trees, shrubs and groundcovers should be fed with the same type of plant food.
Annual and perennial flowers and vegetables will probably need the same fertilizer unless they are being grown in sandy soils. In those cases a high-nitrogen fertilizer will still be in order with comparatively low percentages of phosphorus and potassium. Have your soil tested every three or four years to be sure.

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Cabbage loopers chewing holes in cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and other cole crops. B.t. biological worm sprays or dusts will control them.
Snails, slugs and pillbugs chewing tender new growth of annual flowers and vegetables. Apply Sevin dust or bait or sink a pie tin filled with beer flush with its rim into the soil. They will be attracted to the fermenting smell and will drown.
St. Augustine that is showing signs of take all root rot (TARR). Grass is slow to green up in patches, showing varying degrees of yellowing. Dr. Phil Colbaugh, retired plant pathologist of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station has been doing research on this disease and has recently told me that the fungicide Azoxystrobin is most effective at stopping it. It’s available at the consumer level in Scott’s Disease-EX and in the commercial lawn care industry as Heritage. Applying a 1-inch layer of sphagnum peat moss still works, but more to slow the spread, not to stop the disease.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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