Gardening This Weekend: August 29, 2019
Hopefully the somewhat better temperatures and a little extra time will let you look over your landscape and garden this weekend. Here are things I’d suggest you put on your “to-do” list.
• Sod to start new bermuda and zoysia. The longer you wait, the less established it will be when winter arrives. It’s already risky to plant St. Augustine in North Texas. Plant soon in South Texas.
• Wildflower seeds for spring blooms. You’re trying to catch early fall rains to get them off to a good start. Buy scarified bluebonnet seeds (treated with acid to soften the seed coats) for most reliable germination. Do not plant where you have turfgrass growing, and do not plant where you will be using pre-emergent granules.
• Watch for early fall sales at local nurseries. Plants set out in September will have eight months to establish good roots before summer.
• Dead and damaged branches from shade trees and landscape shrubs. This is especially important for large trees such as pecans that might drop dead branches in winter storms.
• Spent flower stalks and browned foliage from perennials. Do not trim off any green leaves (iris, for example).
• Reshape erratic growth of abelias, elaeagnus and other shrubs, but do so with lopping shears to maintain natural growth forms.
• Apply high-nitrogen, or for almost all clay soils, all-nitrogen food to lawngrasses, landscape shrubs and groundcovers, flowers and vegetables. Unless you have active gray leaf spot outbreaks in your St. Augustine, it is probably safe to fertilize it now that cooler weather is on the horizon. Water deeply after feeding.
• Continue feeding patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble food to keep them vigorous in fall’s better weather.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Pre-emergent weedkillers must be applied by the end of the first week of September, so your time is running short! See complete details in last week’s e-gardens. If you miss this application you will have blown it for another whole year.
• Stinging caterpillars are abundant this year in shrubs and trees and other places. Teach your children and grandchildren not to handle any caterpillars, no matter how cute. Their stings can be extremely painful.
• Chinch bugs in St. Augustine. If you have dead grass in the hottest, sunniest parts of your yard, and if they appeared over the past 8 or 10 weeks, they’re probably the result of chinch bugs. You can see the very small pests at the interface of the healthy and dying grass. They’re black with irregular white diamonds on their backs. Apply a labeled insecticide, but next year watch the very same areas and treat earlier, before damage becomes severe.