Gardening This Weekend: July 1, 2021

Here are the things I’d deem to be most important for this extended holiday weekend.

Fall tomato transplants (if you can find them). It’s prime time for most of the state. Small and mid-sized varieties. Protect transplants from hot afternoon sun for a few days until they acclimate.
Sun- and heat-tolerant annuals. Your local independent retail nursery manager can show you the best.
Crape myrtles. They’re in full bloom. Choose the colors you like, but be sure their mature heights fit the space you have for them.

Dead branches off shrubs and vines that were damaged by winter’s cold. Leave no stubs so the plants can heal properly. Most shade trees can also be pruned as needed, but wait to prune oaks, both to see if they continue to leaf out and also to wait until the active oak wilt season has passed. Oak pruning season doesn’t begin until mid- or late July.
Trim seedheads and spent flower stalks off spring and early summer perennials.
Odd new shoots off shrubs to maintain good growth forms. However, avoid formal shearing whenever you can.
Mow lawn at recommended height. Raising height does not improve its summer durability.

Bermuda with high-nitrogen fertilizer with as much as half of the nitrogen in slow-release form.
Iron-deficient plants (showing yellowed leaves with dark green veins most prominently on newest growth first). Apply iron supplement with sulfur included to help acidify soil. Iron is far less soluble in alkaline soils.
Patio pots and hanging baskets every time you water them to replace nutrients leached out by frequent watering.

Continued Below

Gray leaf spot in St. Augustine. See related story this issue.
Chinch bugs in St. Augustine causing patches of dry-looking grass in hottest, sunniest parts of yard. Watering, however, doesn’t help. Part the grass at the edge of dying turf and you’ll see the BB-sized black insects with white diamonds on their backs. Treat with labeled insecticide.
Spider mites attacking wide variety of landscape, garden plants. Thump suspect leaf over a sheet of white paper. If you see nearly microscopic pests moving about freely, spray with a labeled insecticide. Be sure spray coats backs of leaves as well as tops.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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