Gardening This Weekend: May 20, 2021

Knowing that e-gardens distributes each Thursday evening, I try to list the things most of us need to be doing over the weekend in this column each Thursday. Here’s my collection for this weekend.

New turf from seed, sod or plugs. Can you plant later into the summer? Sure. But it will be much more difficult. You’ll have to water twice a day, especially with new bermudagrass seedings. If you’re in a part of Texas where there’s been rain much of this week, however, let the soil dry out a few days before you start tilling.
Crape myrtles, roses-of-Sharon and other summer-flowering shrubs as they begin to come into bloom in nurseries so you can get the exact shades that you want. Check mature sizes to be sure that they fit the space you have available for them. These are plants you don’t want to prune very much.
Hot-weather annuals. Replace your cool-season color with moss rose, hybrid purslane, fanflowers, pentas, trailing lantanas, copper plants, purple fountaingrass, angelonias, firebush, cleome and other summer-proof bloomers. These plants may even be useful in replacing shrubs that were killed by the February cold if you need to buy time until your favorite shrubs are back in inventory in local nurseries this fall.

Continued Below

Mow lawn at height recommended for that type of turfgrass. Maintaining grass at mowing height higher than recommended results in thinning turf that becomes weak and weedy.
Low-hanging branches from shade trees if it is causing lawngrass beneath to thin from lack of sufficient sunlight.
Spent flowers, seedheads from perennials, roses, shrubs and vines. Foliage from daffodils and other spring bulbs, but only after it turns brown.
Erratic shoots of new spring growth from shrubs and vines to maintain natural growth forms. Remove last of winter-killed growth from shrubs.

Use high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food to feed patio pots and hanging baskets each time you water them. Supplement that with timed-release fertilizer.
Lawn with high-quality all-nitrogen plant food, upwards of half that nitrogen in encapsulated or coated slow-release form.
Same lawn food can be used on almost all flower, fruit and vegetable plants as well.

St. Augustine and other turf for take all root rot (TARR). See diagnostic and control information I had in last week’s e-gardens.
Rose rosette virus if your plants and their flowers are growing and blooming strangely. I have archived information on this fatal virus on my website. Click to see photos.
Chiggers. If you are going to be working in weeds or walking in bermudagrass of any kind, better protect yourself and your children by spraying legs, feet, socks, shoes, cuffs and arms with DEET repellent. These microscopic pests are active from May (once it turns warm and dry) until mid-summer. It’s easier to protect ourselves than it is to spray the entire environment. Plus, the repellent protects us against mosquitoes.
Use a high-grade sunscreen. This is the voice of experience speaking. It works if you use it.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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