Gardening This Weekend: April 29, 2021
May is the time that plants grow the most actively. Temperatures are warming. Rainfall hopefully has come or will come to your part of Texas. And here are the things you’ll want to accomplish over the next three or four days.
• Nursery stock. Replace plants that were lost in the February cold, but choose types that will really match up with your landscaping goals. There have been rushes into nurseries this spring. If local nurseries don’t have what you need, wait for supplies to be replenished. If you have to wait until fall, that’s OK.
• New turf, from sod, plugs or seed. Soils are warm enough that the grass will start growing quickly, yet it’s still cool enough that you won’t have to worry about the tiny new roots drying out really quickly between waterings. Seedings, however, should be watered lightly daily for the first 10-15 days to be sure their brand new roots don’t dry in strong spring winds.
• Summer color as your cool-season crops play out.
• Perennials while nurseries still have good supplies. Plant into well-prepared garden soils since they’ll be remaining in place for a longer period of time.
• Remove frozen tops of shrubs and vines. You’ve given them enough time to commit to new growth. Reshape any new growth as needed to maintain plants’ natural growth forms.
• Crape myrtles are an exception. Some are still deciding to leaf out. Some are growing perfectly normally. Some have died back to the ground and need to be trimmed to remove the dead trunks so that sprouts can be trained to be the new trunks. See related story this issue.
• Do not prune oaks yet. Do not allow companies to inject products into their trunks. Just sit tight! Oaks are leafing out at curiously erratic rates, but most are indeed leafing out. Use only certified arborists. Don’t ever use the services of “door-knocking guys in trucks.” Check credentials. Watch here in the next 2-3 weeks for the words of some of Texas’ finest professional tree experts.
• Flowers and vegetables with all-nitrogen fertilizer similar to what you would apply to turfgrass. You might even want to apply a water-soluble, high-nitrogen product for quickest feeding.
• Turf with all-nitrogen, high-quality lawn food with upwards of half of its nitrogen in slow-release form.
• Same fertilizer to trees by making an extra pass beneath the trees while running your spreader over the turf. The trees’ roots are in the same soil. They will compete quite well.
• All of your shrubs and groundcover beds with the same fertilizer. (Yes – one fertilizer may be all that most home gardeners will need for almost all of the plants that they’re growing.)
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Aphids on tender new growth of almost any type of plant. They will always be in clustered populations with pear-shaped bodies. Most general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticides (except Sevin) will control them, or you may be able to blast them off with a hard stream of water.
• Snails, slugs and pillbugs eating holes in tender, new foliage, usually at night. Control with dust or baits, or sink pie pan filled with beer flush with soil. They will be attracted to the fermenting smell and will drown in the pan.
• Galls causing distorted growths on leaves and twigs of oaks, pecans and other trees. No harm. No preventive or cure.
• Non-grassy weeds such as clover and dandelions. Control with broadleafed weedkiller spray containing 2,4-D.
• Annual grassy weeds Poa annua (annual bluegrass) and rescuegrass. There is no control now, but they will soon die as temperatures climb up toward 90F. Prevent the next generation with pre-emergent applied between August 25 and September 5.