Gardening This Weekend: April 22, 2021
We have some warmer weather ahead. Here are your late April gardening “goals.”
• Nursery stock. You’re going to have to be willing to compromise just a bit. If you have to buy larger plants, invest in them and get them started so they can be establishing. There’s been a rush toward replacement plants. Don’t buy plants you don’t know or that might not fit. Wait if you have to – fall is also a great time for planting. Let a Texas Certified Nursery Professional guide you. Shop at nearby independent retail garden centers for the best localized advice.
• New sod or plugs. Soils are still rather cool to be seeding bermudagrass. And remember that even St. Augustine, our most shade-tolerant lawngrass, needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily to grow well. If you’ve already tried it and failed, quit wasting your money on new sod.
• Summer annuals, but wait another week or two for tropicals just because of recent cold.
• Frozen shrubs to remove remnants of damaged branches. Exact types will vary with where you are in Texas, but suffice to say that they’ve had enough time to throw out new growth by now. If you see new buds and shoots, trim back to them and reshape your plants. If they show vigorous regrowth, train it and let them come back. If they’re lethargic, better plan on replanting. If you have to wait until fall to find types that you want, that’s fine, too. Pretty much everyone (except HOAs) understands.
• Spring-blooming shrubs and vines now that they have finished flowering (or even if they didn’t bloom due to the cold) to reshape them. Avoid formal shearing into cubes and globes.
• Mow lawn frequently to discourage late winter weeds from setting seeds, also to encourage spreading new growth of turfgrass to crowd out summer weeds.
• Turfgrass with all-nitrogen food unless soil test dictates otherwise. As much as half of that nitrogen should be in slow-release form.
• Trees, shrubs and groundcovers should be fed with the same type of plant food.
• Annual and perennial flowers and vegetables will probably need the same fertilizer unless they are being grown in sandy soils. In those cases a high-nitrogen fertilizer will still be in order, still with comparatively low percentages of phosphorus and potassium. Have your soil tested every three or four years to be sure.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Cabbage loopers chewing holes in cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and other Cole crops. B.t. biological worm sprays or dusts will control them.
• Snails, slugs and pillbugs chewing tender new growth of annual flowers and vegetables. Apply Sevin dust or bait or sink a pie tin filled with beer flush with its rim into the soil. They will be attracted to the fermenting smell and will drown.
• St. Augustine that is showing signs of take all root rot (TARR). (Yellowed, unresponsive grass in irregular patches.) The fungicide Azoxystrobin is most effective at stopping it. It’s available at the consumer level in Scott’s Disease-EX and in the commercial lawn care industry as Heritage.