Gardening This Weekend: September 17, 2020
Sometime in the next several days, these are the things you’ll want to get done in your landscape and garden.
• Last call to sow wildflower seeds for spring bloom. If you’re planting bluebonnets, buy acid-treated (“scarified”) seeds for best germination. Sow into lightly prepared soil where there is no competition from turf. Here’s one last link back to my short story on growing them from a couple of weeks back.
• Color from mums, petunias, Joseph’s coat, Mexican bush sage and other quick sources of color for your fall garden.
• Ryegrass to overseed established turf. I prefer “perennial” rye (not really perennial in Texas). Its seed may cost more, but the grass is finer textured and it requires far fewer mowings.
• Fescue to overseed or start new fescue lawns. Do not overseed bermuda or St. Augustine with fescue (can’t get rid of it easily).
• Browned foliage and spent flowers, seeds from perennials.
• Dead or damaged branches from trees before they start losing leaves. It’s still easy to tell them apart.
• Lawn to maintain recommended height. Allowing grass to grow taller does not improve its vigor or winter hardiness. It actually weakens it.
• Lawn with all-nitrogen fertilizer (high percentage of that nitrogen in slow-release form) unless soil test instructs otherwise. Product may be labeled as “winterizer,” but it could very likely be the same analysis as your spring and summer food.
• Summer annual flowers and foliage with water-soluble, all-nitrogen food to stimulate one last burst of growth and color.
ON THE LOOKOUT:
• Armyworms in bermuda turf. If the grass is losing its green color because the blades are being devoured (leaving only runners), that’s probably damage of armyworms. You may also be seeing flocks of birds feasting on the armyworms. The caterpillars themselves are about an inch long and quite visible if you’ll look closely. There are many good insecticides, both organic and inorganic that will offer quick knock-down. The good news is that the grass will green up once again. Fertilize and water it.
• Brown patch may begin to show up in St. Augustine in next couple of weeks. Patches will be 18 to 24 inches across and circular. Blades will pull loose from runners without resistance. Local independent nurseries will have fungicides labeled for controlling turf diseases.
• Webworms are really common in Texas pecans, walnuts, persimmons, mulberries and other trees currently. Spraying is impractical. Do not try to burn them (extremely hazardous). Long-handled pole pruners are probably your best solution, or just ignore them. They will fall to the ground over the winter. The trees will be fine.
• Watch patio pots for insects if you intend to bring the plants into your house or greenhouse over the winter. It’s easier to control the pests while the plants are still outdoors.