Gardening This Weekend: July 2, 2020

Hopefully you’ll be staying away from crowds over this weekend. Maybe even getting a little gardening done. Here are the things I’d outline as the most pressing for this first weekend of July.

Fall tomato transplants. It’s almost last chance for most of the state. Small and mid-sized varieties. Protect transplants from hot afternoon sun for a few days until they acclimate. See related story this issue.
Crape myrtles while they’re in full bloom. Choose the colors you like, but be sure their mature heights fit the space you have for them.
New turf. You have 6 or 7 good weeks left to get this job done, but sooner is better than later.
Sun- and heat-tolerant annuals. Your local independent retail nursery manager can show you the best. Go in early to avoid crowds. Or call ahead. They’ll be glad to meet you at curbside.

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Mow lawn at recommended height. Raising height does not improve its summer durability.
Odd new shoots off shrubs to maintain good growth forms. However, avoid formal shearing whenever you can.
Trim seedheads and spent flower stalks off spring and early summer perennials.

Bermuda with high-nitrogen fertilizer with high concentration of slow-release nitrogen. Hold off on applying nitrogen to St. Augustine if gray leaf spot has been a problem in your lawn.
Patio pots and hanging baskets every time you water them to replace nutrients leached out by frequent watering.
Iron-deficient plants (showing yellowed leaves with dark green veins most prominently on newest growth first). Apply iron supplement with sulfur included to help acidify soil. Iron is far less soluble in alkaline soils.

Gray leaf spot in St. Augustine. Lawn will have yellowed patches. On close inspection you’ll see diamond-shaped gray-brown lesions on blades. Treat with fungicide Azoxystrobin (Scotts Disease-EX) and discontinue nitrogen feedings until early September.
Chinch bugs in St. Augustine causing patches of dry-looking grass in hottest, sunniest parts of yard. Watering, however, doesn’t help. Part the grass at the edge of dying turf and you’ll see the BB-sized black insects with white diamonds on their backs. Treat with labeled insecticide.
Spider mites attacking wide variety of landscape, garden plants. Leaves will have tiny tan speckles. If you thump leaves over white paper, and if spider mites are the cause, you’ll be able to see them walking briskly on the paper. Spray top and bottom leaf surfaces with an insecticide labeled for control of mites.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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