Gardening This Weekend: June 6, 2019
You have to be mindful of the 12 or 14 weeks ahead when you tackle gardening tasks this time of the year. It’s about to turn really hot, and it can also be really dry. Out of respect for your plants, do check through our list.
• Crape myrtles are, or soon will be, in full bloom in local nurseries. Buy while they’re flowering to be sure you get the exact shade that you want. And measure things carefully before you go shopping, then choose one that fits the space you have available for it. Do your homework ahead of time so you’ll never have to butcher your plants by topping them.
• Summer annuals that can handle the heat, including copper plants, firebush, purple fountaingrass, ‘Gold Star’ Esperanza (a Texas SuperStar®), fanflower, lantanas, purslane, moss rose, angelonias, pentas and Profusion zinnias.
• Tropicals, including caladiums, bougainvilleas, crotons, mandevillas, plumbagos, hibiscus, bananas and others. Buy plants that have been in the same lighting conditions in the nursery that you’ll be able to provide them when you get them home. In other words, don’t take plants that have been in the shade and put them out into the sun.
• New lawngrasses as soon as possible, before it turns beastly hot.
• Blackberries to remove canes as soon as they finish bearing fruit completely to the ground. (They will never bear fruit again.)
• Erratic new shoots on elaeagnus, abelias, Lady Banksia roses and other plants as needed.
• Pinch growing tips out of coleus, copper plants, Mexican bush salvias, mums and fall asters to keep plants shorter and to remove flowers that tend to cause new growth to stall out.
• Wait to prune oaks until mid-July to reduce risk of spreading oak wilt.
• Finish fertilizing St. Augustine for this season by mid-June. If you apply nitrogen to susceptible St. Augustine in hot weather you will encourage development of gray leaf spot fungus. Next feeding should be withheld until early September. For what it’s worth, I read recently that Raleigh St. Augustine, the variety many of us grow, is highly susceptible to gray leaf spot, which explains why we see the disease so commonly.
• Patio pots, hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food weekly. Supplement the liquid fertilizer with an encapsulated, timed-release product applied every 90 days.
• Iron and sulfur soil acidifier to correct chlorosis (yellowed leaves with dark green veins that show first on leaves at tip ends of branches).
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Bagworms on cone-bearing plants such as cedars, junipers, cypresses and arborvitae. (See related story this issue.)
• Chiggers are generating lots of “activity” currently. People want to know what to spray on their lawns and landscapes, and honestly, I suggest simply applying DEET to ankles, feet, shoes and cuffs. It’s easier to protect ourselves than to clean up the entire environment from these “invisible” critters. They will run their course by mid-summer when it turns hot and dry.
• Early blight causes lower leaves of tomatoes to turn bright yellow in rather large blotches. They quickly turn brown and die, making it essential that you apply a labeled fungicide at first signs of infection.
• I’m seeing a good bit of spider mite activity already this year. See the related story in the hopes you can keep ahead of them at your place.
• Second reminder: It’s time for that second application of pre-emergent granules (Dimension, Balan or Halts) to prevent germination of crabgrass and grassburs. First application should have been in late February in South Texas or early March in North Texas. If you did not make that application, there is no point in making this one.