Gardening This Weekend: August 15, 2019

This is the weekend that many summer gardening opportunities wind up for another year. And it’s the time that fall responsibilities kick into gear. Here is your list of critical issues.

New turf as soon as possible to give grass time to become well established before winter. This is especially critical with St. Augustine sod and bermuda from seed, and most especially in the northern half of the state.
Fall vegetables. Finish planting beans, squash, cucumbers and corn very soon. It’s time to plant broccoli, cabbage and other cole crops.
Fall annuals. Marigolds, zinnias and celosias from 4-inch pots. Buy plants that are just showing color, not those in full bloom. The blooming specimens tend to stall after planting.
Just about last call for buying crape myrtles in bloom. Prime time is winding down, so buy and plant now. Plan on watering them by hand. Soak deeply every other day the rest of this year.
Fall-flowering bulbs, including spider lilies, fall crocus, oxblood lilies and surprise lilies as you are able to find high-quality bulbs in stores and online. Plant as soon as you can.

Mow lawn at recommended height. Mowing it higher will weaken the grass and allow weeds to get started.
Have your professional arborist remove dead or damaged branches from large trees before fall winds and winter storms. It’s best to have them check your trees now, while they are still fully leafed out.
Prune or pinch out spent flower stalks, seed heads and dead leaves from annuals and perennials to keep flower garden looking its best.

This is just about last chance to apply iron to correct chlorosis – yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominently displayed on newest growth. Include source of sulfur to lower soil pH and help keep iron in soluble form as long as possible.
Third feeding of year for bermuda turf with all-nitrogen food. Upwards of half of that nitrogen should be in slow-release form. Wait to feed St. Augustine until early September to less chances of gray leaf spot outbreak.
Patio pots and hanging baskets to replenish nutrients that have leached out of the potting soil with frequent irrigation.

Continued Below

Look for pre-emergent granules and get your supply to apply in two weeks. This will be for winter and early spring weeds annual bluegrass, rescuegrass and ryegrass. You’ll want Dimension, Halts or Balan for them. This is your only chance to avoid them for the entire year.
Have Gallery available for preventing broadleafed weeds such as henbit, dandelions, clover and chickweed. Details on all this here next week.
Last call for treating for nutsedge in turf. See related story this issue.
Watch for chinch bugs causing browned areas in hot, sunny parts of St. Augustine. Confirm that the BB-sized, fast-mowing insects are on surface of the soil in those areas. If so, apply a labeled control immediately. Your nursery or hardware store professional can show you several options.
Watch for gray leaf spot causing irregular washes of yellowed St. Augustine in sun or shade. Diamond-shaped brown lesions will accompany the yellowing. Apply fungicide labeled for leaf spots in turf, but more importantly, stop all applications of nitrogen between mid-June and early September each year. Nitrogen exacerbates the fungus.
Stinging caterpillars (puss caterpillas – also known as asps – Hagg moth caterpillars and Io moth caterpillars are three of the most common, but there are others. Best rule to follow: Don’t touch any caterpillar at all. Teach your youngsters as well. Some of the scariest types are really quite pretty.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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