Gardening This Weekend: March 19, 2020
Many parts of Texas have been through a lot of rainy weather the past 10 days. It looks like we might have a couple of windows of opportunity to get some work done. Here are the critical tasks.
• Trees, shrubs and other nursery stock as you’re able to get out to shop. Supplies are at their best this time of year. Nurseries are less crowded during the weekdays.
• Warm-season annual color as temperatures rise. You’re fine to do so in South Texas now. You might wait a week or two in North Texas and then check the 10-day forecast just to be sure.
• Tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash and corn after the cold spell of the next couple of days passes in the broad belt of Central Texas. (Although it’s still possible for a late frost or freeze to hit.) Those, plus peppers, melons, sweet potatoes and eggplant in South Texas. Wait to plant okra and southern peas until soils have warmed. Wait to plant all of them until April in the Panhandle.
• Sod in most of the state now, but rototill the ground to 2 inches prior to planting. Rake to establish a smooth planting bed.
• Mow lawn to eliminate many of the rank spring weeds. Mow at the recommended height to keep the turf low and spreading. Low, dense turf crowds out most weeds.
• Spring-flowering shrubs and vines immediately after they finish blooming. Remove errant branches. Do not shear the plants. Aim to establish natural growth forms.
• Almost all of your plantings with a food that’s high-nitrogen, with upwards of half that nitrogen in slow-release, encapsulated or coated form. Most Texas soils have excessive amounts of phosphorus, middle number of the fertilizer analysis.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food each time that you water them.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Aphids congregate on tender new growth of many types of plants. Colors will vary, but all will have pear-shaped bodies and twin “exhaust pipes” on either side. They are easily controlled with almost any organic or inorganic insecticide. You may even be able to wash them off with a hard stream of water.
• Chickweed, dandelions, clover, dichondra and dollarweed can be controlled with application of broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D). Read and follow label directions carefully for best results. Be patient – these products may take a week or two to show effects and you may have to treat more than one time for tenacious weeds. Small droplets that coat the weeds’ leaves are most effective.
• Take all root rot attacking St. Augustine may leave irregular patches of turf yellowed and lethargic. The fungicide Azoxystrobin is labeled for its control and has proven to be quite effective.