Gardening This Weekend: August 8, 2019

If you pace yourself properly you can get the critical things done early in the morning and late into the evening – the tolerable times for landscaping and gardening in August. Here are the details.

Finish planting beans, cucumbers and squash. North Texas gardeners: start looking for cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower transplants.
Fall color zinnias, marigolds and celosias. Buy potted transplants that are in bud but not yet in bloom whenever possible.
Dig and divide crowded daffodils, jonquils and narcissus before new root growth begins.
Plant fall crocus, spider lilies, surprise lilies and oxblood lilies as you find them in garden centers.

Remove flowers from coleus, basil, mint, caladiums and other plants where flower buds and flowers stop production of new foliage.
Rose bushes by one-third to reshape the plants and increase vigor for fall bloom. Each cut should be made just above a bud that faces out from the center of the plant. Note that in the DFW area you should also be checking to be sure your roses don’t have the fatal rose rosette virus. Infected plants must be removed immediately. I have much more information on my website.

Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble plant food every couple of times that you water them. Nutrients leach out of their porous potting soils quickly.
Iron/sulfur additive to correct iron chlorosis in iron-deficient plants. Look for yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first. Function of the sulfur is to acidify the soil so that the iron will remain soluble as long as possible.
Bermuda turf with all-nitrogen lawn food in which half or more of the nitrogen is in slow-release form. Do not fertilize St. Augustine for another 3-4 weeks to avoid late-season outbreak of gray leaf spot (fungus that is exacerbated by applications of nitrogen – see related story this issue).

Continued Below

If you have browned, dry and dying spots in St. Augustine, that’s probably chinch bugs. Look at the interface of the dead and healthy grass. You’ll probably find small black insects flitting around there on top of the soil. Look for irregular white diamonds on their backs. Treat with a labeled lawn insecticide.
There is a great deal of lacebug damage to leaves of lantanas, azaleas, pyracanthas, Boston ivy, sycamores, chinquapin oaks, bur oaks, American elms and several other common landscaping plants. Leaves will be turned tan on their topsides and black, waxy specks will be evident on the backs of the leaves. Afflicted leaves won’t green back up again, but you can stop further damage with almost any general-purpose insecticide.
Many of you have asked about armyworms. It was about this time in the past two falls that they were beginning their assaults, but we have no idea if they’ll be back and if so, how serious they might be. Watch for moths hovering over your bermuda turf. Check daily for signs of larvae feeding. Birds will be watching, too. If you see a yardful of birds gorging themselves, look closely for signs of caterpillars stripping the bermuda blades. There is no point in treating with a labeled insecticide until you have confirmation of their presence.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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