Gardening This Weekend: July 22, 2021

When things start to happen in your landscape and garden at this time of year, they happen in a hurry. You need to keep your eyes open constantly. Here are the tasks for mid- to late July.

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.
Crape myrtles. Nurseries are selling down their supplies of the best varieties, so don’t wait any longer. As you’re buying check mature heights to be sure the plants that you’re choosing will fit the space that you have for them.
Annual flowers and foliage that can handle the heat to brighten up drab spots in your gardens. Let your local independent garden center owner or manager show you the best choices for your needs.

Keep mowing turf at the recommended height to keep it low and dense, better able to crowd out weeds.
Oak trees as needed. 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.
Tidy up perennial and annual color beds to remove spent flower stalks and browned foliage. Water deeply to encourage regrowth for fall.

Iron-deficient plants with yellowed leaves, dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first by applying iron/sulfur additive. Keep iron off masonry surfaces that could be stained and repeat in 4 to 6 weeks as needed.
Container plants with timed-release fertilizer every three or four months, and also high-nitrogen, water-soluble food each time you water. Their loose potting soils do not retain nutrients very well.
New fall garden transplants once they are established and starting to grow with complete-and-balanced, water-soluble plant food.

Continued Below

Watch for signs of chinch bugs in sunniest, hottest parts of St. Augustine turf. Grass will appear dry but will not respond to watering. The insects will be visible if you part the grass and look at soil surface. They are BB-sized, black with irregular white diamonds on their backs. Treat at once with labeled insecticide.
Leafrollers attacking foliage of cannas, vinca groundcover, sweetgums, redbuds, pyracanthas and other plants. The caterpillars roll leaves together to form their pupal cases. Systemic insecticide Imidacloprid will stop them, but it needs to be applied several weeks before they start attacking the plants. It may be too late to get much help for this year. You’ll need to make that determination.
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.
Crape myrtle bark scale (white, immobile pests on twigs, trunks) exude sticky honeydew (as will aphids). Control with Imidacloprid systemic insecticide. Best results come from mid-May soil drench, but spraying now as well as soil drench, both with Imidacloprid, will help. Use Imidacloprid. If it’s any relief, this pest is more aesthetic than threatening. There are more details here.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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