Gardening This Weekend: July 25, 2019
Late July brings some very timely tasks in the landscape and garden. Here is an accumulation of what I’d consider to be the most critical.
• Bush beans, squash, cucumbers, corn for your fall garden.
• Marigolds, zinnias, celosia transplants for fall color. Choose plants that are growing vigorously, but that are in bud but not yet showing color.
• New turf as soon as you can. It needs to become rooted well before it starts to cool down. Water in morning and evening (5 minutes each) until the grass gets firmly established (usually 10-15 days). Then gradually lengthen the intervals between waterings and water more deeply when you do irrigate.
• Lawn at recommended height. Letting grass grow taller does not improve its summer durability. In fact, it weakens the grass and allows weeds to get started.
• Deadhead perennials to remove spent flower heads and seed stalks. You do not need to prune crape myrtles to remove fruit. They will rebloom just as quickly and just as heavily if you leave the seedheads in place.
• Shade trees to remove dead or damaged branches. Cuts should be virtually flush with the trunk or other branches. Do not leave stubs. It is fine to prune oak trees at this time, but seal all cut surfaces with pruning paint. You do not need to seal other tree species.
• Erratic shoots from shrubs, groundcover beds to keep the landscape tidy.
• Give annual color beds new sizzle by applying a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Most types bloom on new growth, and that’s exactly what the nitrogen will promote.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer each time that you water them. Nutrients drain out of their soils very quickly, hence the need to replenish frequently.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Gray leaf spot causing St. Augustine to turn yellowish in irregular “washes” across the lawn. Diamond-shaped, gray-brown lesions will also appear on the leaf blades and runners. Avoid nitrogen fertilizers between mid-June and early September. Nitrogen exacerbates gray leaf spot in hot weather. Apply a fungicide labeled for leaf spots in grasses. You’re most likely to find one in an independent retail garden center or hardware store.
• Chinch bugs will kill St. Augustine in hot, sunny parts of the yard. Grass will appear dry, but watering won’t bring it back. You can see the small black insects in the perimeter of the dying area if you part the grass with your fingertips on a hot afternoon. Nurseries and hardware stores have products labeled for control of chinch bugs.