Gardening This Weekend: July 11, 2019
It’s gotten hot across Texas, so we try to make every minute we spend out in our landscapes count double. Here are the things that are most critical right now.
• St. Augustine, bermuda or zoysia sod. Water new grass deeply after planting, then twice daily for about 5 minutes per time for the first 10 days. Gradually cut back to once daily, then twice weekly as its roots grow deeper into the soil.
• Peppers into your fall vegetable garden. South Texas gardeners, this is last call for planting tomato transplants so that they’ll have time to mature before frost. Small and mid-sized varieties only.
• Color plants that can stand up to the heat. Best types include purslane, moss rose, Cora periwinkles (must have perfect drainage), angelonia, pentas, ornamental sweet potatoes, fanflower, purple fountaingrass, crotons, Dahlberg daisies, trailing lantanas, tropical hibiscus and a lot of others.
• Keep mowing lawn at recommended height. Mowing lawn higher than recommended does not improve its summer durability.
• Dead or damaged branches from trees and shrubs. It’s hot enough now to prune oaks without worrying about oak wilt activity. Seal all oak cuts with black pruning paint. Do not seal other types of plants.
• If you live in DFW or other areas where rose rosette virus has become epidemic, remove the plants at once. They will not get better come fall. Here is information regarding RRV that I leave archived on my website.
• Iron chlorosis causes leaves to become yellowed with dark green veins, most prominently on new growth. It’s common with plants that prefer acidic soils when they’re grown near or west of I-35. Use an iron/sulfur product. Keep iron away from concrete and stone that could be stained.
• Hanging baskets and container plants with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food at least weekly.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Watch for chinch bugs in hottest, sunniest parts of St. Augustine lawns. Grass will appear dry, but won’t respond to irrigation. The small black pests will be visible at the interfaces of living and dying grasses. Use a labeled turf insecticide to control them.
• Webworms in pecans, walnuts, persimmons and other shade trees. Clip them out with pole pruner or pull webs open. Spraying is not efficient because webs are so high in trees. Trees will not suffer long-term damage.
• Aphids causing sticky honeydew on pecans, bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, crape myrtles and others. At this point you’ll have to use a power sprayer with a general-purpose insecticide. Next year apply a systemic product according to label directions.
• Lacebugs will cause the same honeydew on leaves of bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, pyracanthas, boxwoods, Boston ivy, sycamores and other plants. Look for black specks on the backs of their leaves. Controls are same as for aphids above.