Gardening This Weekend: May 23, 2019
Here are things I would deem to be “top-of-the-list” for gardening in Texas at this time of the year.
• Hot-weather annuals. Replace your cool-season color with moss rose, hybrid purslane, fanflowers, pentas, trailing lantanas, copper plants, purple fountaingrass, angelonias, firebush, cleome and other summer-proof bloomers.
• Crape myrtles, roses-of-Sharon and other summer-flowering shrubs as they begin to come into bloom in nurseries so you can get the exact shades that you want. Check mature sizes to be sure that they fit the space you have available for them.
• Watch for nursery sales on trees, shrubs, perennials and other landscape plants. Have your planting sites ready. Transport your new plants home carefully. Plant them immediately. Water them thoroughly.
• New turf from seed, sod or plugs. Can you plant later into the summer? Sure. But it will be much more difficult. You’ll have to water twice a day, especially with new bermudagrass seedings.
• Spent flowers, seedheads from perennials, roses, shrubs and vines. Foliage from daffodils and other spring bulbs, but only after it turns brown.
• Erratic shoots of new spring growth from shrubs and vines to maintain natural growth forms.
• Low-hanging branches from shade trees if it is causing lawngrass beneath to thin from lack of sufficient sunlight.
• Mow lawn at height recommended for that type of turfgrass. Maintaining grass at mowing height higher than recommended results in thinning turf that becomes weak and weedy.
• Lawn with high-quality all-nitrogen plant food, upwards of half that nitrogen in encapsulated or coated slow-release form.
• Same lawn food can be used on almost all flower, fruit and vegetable plants as well.
• Use high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food to feed patio pots and hanging baskets each time you water them. Supplement that with timed-release fertilizer.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• St. Augustine and other turf for take all root rot. See diagnostic information we have just posted on my website.
• Rose rosette virus if your plants and their flowers are growing and blooming strangely. I have archived information on this fatal virus on my website. Click to see photos.
• Chiggers. If you are going to be working in weeds or walking in bermudagrass of any kind, better protect yourself and your children by spraying legs, feet, socks, shoes, cuffs and arms with DEET repellent. These microscopic pests are active from May until mid-summer. It’s easier to protect ourselves than it is to spray the entire environment. Plus, the repellent protects us against mosquitoes.
• Use a high-grade sunscreen. This is the voice of experience speaking. It works if you use it.