Gardening This Weekend: August 1, 2019
We’re hitting the downhill slide of the summer. Fall is only a few weeks away. Check out my list of things that need to be done this weekend. I think you’ll find it useful.
• New sod as soon as possible to give it the most possible time to establish before weather turns cool. The same goes for bermudagrass planted from seed.
• Bush beans, cucumbers, squash for fall garden. They germinate quickly and prosper in the warm weather of August and September. They’ll be free from spider mites and other pests you saw in the spring.
• Marigolds, zinnias and celosias. Choose transplants that are in bud, but not yet in full bloom – they establish better and will be spectacular right up until frost. Colors will be more intense in fall’s cooler weather, and again, spider mites won’t bother the marigolds like they did back in the spring.
• If you intend to plant fall-flowering bulbs such as fall crocus (Sternbergias), spider lilies, oxblood lilies and others, buy or order them now. Plant them as soon as you receive them.
• Do not spend time deadheading crape myrtles. They will not rebloom any more quickly than if you leave the seedheads in place.
• Mow lawn regularly to maintain grass at recommended height. Allowing grass to grow tall does not increase its tolerance of heat, drought. Keep it “low and dense” to crowd out weeds.
• Last chance to tip-prune tall-growing mums and Mexican bush sage to keep plants compact. Remove flowers and buds from coleus, basil and caladiums to keep plants growing vegetatively.
• Bermuda turf if it’s been more than 8 weeks since you last did. Unless soil test suggests you do otherwise, apply all-nitrogen fertilizer with upwards of half of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Wait one more month to fertilize St. Augustine to lessen chance of gray leaf spot outbreak.
• Iron-deficient plants every 4-6 weeks with iron additive and sulfur soil-acidifier. Keep iron products off bricks, stone and concrete to avoid staining.
• Annual color beds and patio containers with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate new growth and more color for fall.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Gray leaf spot in St. Augustine continues to be an issue, especially in lawns that have been fertilized recently. Nitrogen exacerbates this disease, so do not fertilize again until temperatures cool in September.
• Chinch bugs continue to cause problems in hot, sunny parts of St. Augustine turf. If areas that appear dry do not improve after watering, check on hands and knees for presence of BB-sized black insects with irregular white diamonds on their wings. Look in the interface of healthy and afflicted grass, not in dead areas. If you see chinch bugs treat immediately with an insecticide labeled for them.
• Stinging caterpillars including asps, IO moths and others are getting an early start. See related story this issue.