Gardening This Weekend: May 21, 2020

It seems like each week the temperatures go up by 3 or 4 degrees. We’re on that steady climb toward summertime, and that means there are things we really must do now.

Soils are warm now. It’s the best time of the entire year to start new lawns from seed, sod or plugs.
Watch nurseries for late-spring perennials like coneflowers, cannas, mallows, daylilies and others. Also fall-blooming perennials such as fall asters and Mexican bush sage. Buy them when you see them. Supplies often go quickly.
It’s warm enough to plant vincas, copper plants, moss rose and hybrid purslane, fanflowers, angelonias, pentas, purple fountaingrass and other summer color.

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Last call to remove winter-killed branches from crape myrtles, figs and other tender plants.
All spring-flowering shrubs and vines to remove erratic shoots and to reshape for the rest of the growing season.
Low-hanging branches from shade trees if they are hazardous or if they’re keeping sunlight from reaching your lawn. Wait two months to prune oaks to lessen chance of spreading oak wilt.
Pinch out growing tips of Mexican bush sage, copper plants, fall asters and new shoots on blackberries to keep plants shorter and more compact.

Turf, trees and shrubs with all-nitrogen fertilizer with as much as half of that nitrogen in slow-release coated or encapsulated form. Independent hardware stores and nurseries have it and can explain it to you.
Flower and vegetable gardens every 3 weeks with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food to keep plants growing vigorously.
Container plants with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer with every watering. Potted plants dry out quickly and must be watered frequently.

Insect galls on trees. Whether they’re tan, tennis-ball-sized galls on red oaks, warty pecan phylloxera galls on pecan leaves or nipple galls on hackberry leaves (or any of many other leaf and twig galls), they do little or no harm and there’s no way to control them. Just move on with life.
Bagworms on junipers, arborvitae and other cone-bearing plants. These small larvae construct the bags from needles they harvest from the twigs, then carry the canvas-like enclosures with them as they feed. You must treat before they finish feeding 2-3 weeks after they begin. Sevin, B.t., Malathion and other insecticides will control them.
Nutsedge. You may know it as “nutgrass,” but it’s not a true grass. Its stems are triangular like all of the sedges. All grass stems are round. Treat with Sedgehammer or the original Image according to label directions. See related story last week.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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