Gardening This Weekend: July 9, 2020
Remember your plants out there in the heat. Learn to recognize early signs of drought and step to the rescue soon when you see them. Here are other things you’ll want to get done this weekend.
• New turfgrass from sod, or bermuda from seed. Water morning and evening for the first couple of weeks until roots are established.
• Fall annual color. Copper plants, firebush, purple fountaingrass, fanflower, periwinkles, pentas, angelonias, marigolds, zinnias, celosias. It’s especially easy to pot these up into decorative patio containers for a quick splash of color.
• Fall perennials as they appear in nurseries (or order by mail very soon): fall asters, Mexican bush salvias, Mexican mint marigold, spider lilies, autumn crocus, naked lady lilies, oxblood lilies.
• Dead and broken branches from shade trees and shrubs. Leave no stubs by making all cuts flush with remaining trunks, limbs.
• Flowerbuds as they form on coleus, basil, caladiums and lamb’s ear. Flowers stop further production of the desirable foliage.
• Wait another week or two to prune oaks. Plant pathologists tell us we need to wait to resume pruning until summer’s heat sends the oak wilt fungus into dormancy until next spring. Seal all cuts with black pruning paint.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Grasshoppers devouring foliage of vegetables, ornamentals. Sprays should be applied in a downward sweep to coat the pests as they try to fly away. Let your Texas Certified Nursery Professional show you the products available for their control.
• Large, striped and low-flying wasps are probably predatory cicada killers (beneficial). They build nests in the ground. Their encounters with cicadas are very noisy, after which they take the paralyzed insects back to serve as food for their larvae. They are harmless to humans unless provoked at which point their stings can be quite painful.
• Spider mites turn leaves of many types of plants mottled tan (see related story this issue).
• Lace bugs will also cause tan mottling of leaves of Chinquapin and bur oaks, azaleas, Boston ivy, pyracanthas, sycamores, cotoneasters and ceniza (Texas sage). However, with lace bugs you’ll see their black droppings on the backs of the leaves. General-purpose insecticides will stop them, but the leaves will not green back up again.
• Leafrollers will attack trailing periwinkle groundcover, sweetgums, redbuds, cotoneasters, pyracanthas and other landscape plants. Apply systemic insecticide Imidacloprid to prevent them 2-3 weeks prior to normal time of infestations.
• Chinch bugs will attack St. Augustine. Watch the hottest, sunniest parts of your lawn for signs of dry grass. If, after you water, the grass does not respond by greening back up, part the grass and look closely for BB-sized black insects with irregular white diamonds on their wings, also small, red nymphs. Those would all be chinch bugs. Your local independent garden center, feed store or hardware store will have several products labeled for their control. Do not delay. They can kill large parts of your lawn within just a few days.