Gardening This Weekend July 15, 2021
It doesn’t take long to do a quick analysis of things in your landscape and garden, just to see that all is well for your plants. Here’s this week’s list.
• New shrubs can be planted now if you’re willing to commit to watering by hand every two days. Use a garden hose, water wand and breaker or bubbler to soak soil deeply. Water their original soil balls with amounts of water equal to the size of the container from which they were planted.
• Crape myrtles, while they’re in bloom in local nurseries. They’ve been a little slower to flower than in most years, but they’re finally hitting full stride. Shop now, while selections are best.
• Annual flowers and foliage that can handle the heat to brighten up drab spots in your gardens. Let your local independent retail garden center help you.
• New lawngrass from sod, plugs or seed (bermuda only). Be sure sod or plugs are fresh and vigorous. Plant lawn immediately, then water twice daily for 5 to 10 minutes to help it get started. After two weeks, water once daily, then increase days between waterings, and water more deeply.
• Perennials to remove spent flower stalks and browned foliage.
• Oak trees as needed to remove damaged branches, but be very cautious about pruning to remove winter damage. They may still produce new leaves later this season or even next spring. Relative to pruning now, the oak wilt fungus is not active in the hottest summer weather, so this is an acceptable time to trim them. Seal all cut surfaces with black pruning paint.
• Tall grass becomes weak grass. Keep mowing lawn at same height. It is a mistake to think that the grass will be healthier if you raise the mowing height.
• Iron-deficient plants (yellowed leaves, dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first) with iron/sulfur additive. Keep iron off masonry surfaces that could be stained.
Note: Many of our fast-growing shade trees will have yellowed leaves over the next several weeks of hot and dry weather. But they’ll be the older leaves, farther down on the stems. That will be due totally to water stress. Don’t confuse it with shortage of iron.
• Bermudagrass if it’s been longer than 8 weeks since the last feeding. Wait to fertilize St. Augustine until early September to lessen chance of gray leaf spot outbreaks.
• Container plants with timed-release fertilizer every three or four months, and also high-nitrogen, water-soluble food each time you water.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Gray leaf spot in St. Augustine causes grass to develop yellowed areas. On closer inspection you will see gray/brown, BB-sized spots on blades and runners. This fungus is made worse by application of nitrogen in hot weather, so do not feed St. Augustine between mid-June and early September. Apply Daconil or Azoxystrobin to stop spread of the disease.
• Chinch bugs causing dried and dead spots in sunny parts of St. Augustine. Check edges of dying grass for presence of small, black insects with irregular white diamonds on their wings. Treat with turf insecticide.
• Lacebugs continue to turn leaves of Boston ivy, pyracanthas, bur oaks, sycamores, azaleas and other plants tan. You’ll see their black droppings on the backs of the leaves, but you probably won’t be able to see the pests themselves. Most insecticides will control them, but systemic insecticide applied in early summer will prevent this damage from showing up in the first place.