Gardening This Weekend: August 27, 2020

Here’s hoping this weekend will allow you a little extra time for routine gardening activities. Unless you’re right on the Louisiana border, Laura probably spared you the majority of the clean-up and repairs. Now you can use that time to get out and plant flowers!

Spruce up for fall with color plantings of marigolds, zinnias, celosia, copper plants, wax begonias, purple fountaingrass, pentas and other plants available now.
Wildflower seeds for spring blooms. You’re trying to catch rains in early to mid-September to get them off to a good start. Buy scarified bluebonnet seeds (treated with acid to soften the seed coats) for most reliable germination. Do not plant where you have turfgrass growing, and do not plant where you will be using pre-emergent granules.
Finish planting Cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale) from transplants in southern half of the state. Leafy and root vegetable crops can be planted all across Texas now.

Continued Below

Branches broken by this week’s winds in eastern portions of Texas. All dead or dying branches elsewhere while you can easily distinguish them from healthy limbs.
Spent flower stalks and browned foliage from perennials. Do not trim off any green leaves (iris, for example) unless you are digging and dividing them.
Remove all rose bushes identified as having rose rosette virus. Characteristic symptoms: clubby, malformed growth. Buds that don’t open properly. Ultra-strong “bull” canes. Unusually thorny stems. Somewhat gradual to rapid decline of vigor of plants. Click to see photos and information on RRV on my website. Infected plants must be destroyed immediately.

Flowerbeds and fall vegetable plantings with high-nitrogen plant foods to keep crops growing, producing vigorously.
Apply high-nitrogen, or for almost all clay soils, all-nitrogen food to lawngrasses, landscape shrubs and groundcovers, flowers and vegetables. Unless you have active gray leaf spot outbreaks in your St. Augustine, it is probably safe to fertilize it now that cooler weather is on the horizon. Water deeply after feeding. Avoid weed-and-feed products. It’s always better to do the two processes separately.
Iron additive to correct chlorosis in acid-loving plants. Iron deficiency shows up as yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominently displayed on newest growth first. Include agricultural sulfur to keep soil less alkaline. Iron remains water-soluble in acidic conditions.

It is prime time (before Labor Day!) to apply pre-emergent weedkiller granules to prevent germination of annual bluegrass, rescuegrass, ryegrass and other cool-season weeds. Options include Dimension, Halts and Balan among others. Also include Gallery granules to prevent germination of broadleafed weeds. See much longer story here.
Fall webworms. If you are seeing their unsightly webs developing in your pecans, walnuts and other large trees, prune them out as soon as they start to form. Use long-handled pole pruners and drop them to the ground. Gather and destroy them. Spraying is not efficient, nor is it effective.
As you are working around your shrubs and in fallen leaves, keep a sharp eye out for stinging caterpillars, wasp nests and snakes. Human encounters with these are more common in fall than at other times of the year. It’s the wise gardener who heeds the warning.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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