Gardening This Weekend: May 13, 2021

Here are your important goals for the second half of May.

Hot-weather annuals. Caladiums can be planted as soils warm. Coleus, begonias, angelonias, Dahlberg daisies, fanflowers, pentas, lantanas, purple fountaingrass, ‘Cora’ periwinkles (because of their resistance to disease), alternantheras, ornametal sweet potatoes – the list goes on and on. Shop at a really good independent retail garden center.
Perennials for summer color. Nurseries have excellent selections, but buy soon. They probably will not restock as summer approaches.
Lawns. You are coming into the best two weeks of the entire year to plant sod, seed or plugs. Go for it!

Finish up reshaping and removing shrubs, vines and groundcovers that were lost in the February cold. Wait to trim oaks and other high quality shade trees. See if they are going to be producing any more new growth first.
Pinch growing tips out of fall asters, Mexican bush sage, mums, copper plants, coleus and other plants that tend to grow tall and lanky if you do not.
Prune to remove spent rose blooms as they drop their petals. If you are in the North Texas/DFW area, give your rose plants a close check for rose rosette virus and remove the plants immediately and entirely if you see it. Visual inspections are adequate. See examples on my website.

Apply high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen plant food to trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, annuals, perennials and turf. Yep! The same fertilizer will probably suffice with all of the plants that you’re growing. The Texas A&M Soil Testing Lab has been preaching that gospel for many years. Most of our soils have excessive amounts of phosphorus already.
Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer every week or two. Supplement it with a long-lasting, timed-release product.
Use iron/sulfur soil acidifier product to correct iron deficiency. (Yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first.)

Continued Below

Chiggers will become abundant in bermuda that has not been mowed recently, also in weeds in fields, roadsides and even parks. Apply DEET repellent to your legs and feet, also to the outsides of your socks and shoes. They are microscopic, but their itch is as big as Texas.
Same DEET repellent is the best way to deter mosquitoes. Yes, there are other ways of keeping them from biting you, but they’re not as dependable. With potentially fatal viruses involved, I’m going to give my family the product that is most likely to protect them.
Dead St. Augustine should be replaced with plugs planted into the bare areas. (That presumes it’s in full or nearly full sun and did not thin and die due to insufficient sunlight.)
Blossom-end rot is already showing on tomatoes in South Texas. The ends of the fruit farthest from the stems are becoming sunken and turning dried and brown. This is almost always due to irregular and insufficient water. In very sandy soils it’s also possible that a shortage of calcium can add to the problem.
Apply Imidacloprid systemic insecticide as a soil drench around crape myrtles if bark scale or aphids have been problems in the past. See related story this issue.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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