Gardening This Weekend: July 29, 2021

Here are your gardening assignments for this last weekend of July.

New turfgrass. Most of us prefer the “warm-season” choices (bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia), and that means they need to be planted and established before the weather turns cool in mid-fall. Your prime time for planting runs out in 4 to 6 weeks. Don’t delay.
Bush beans, squash, cucumbers, corn for your fall garden.
Marigolds, zinnias, celosia transplants for fall color. Choose plants that are growing vigorously, but that are in bud but not yet showing color.

Any remaining freeze damage to shrubs and vines. Reshape new growth as needed.
Frozen trunks and branches from shade trees, crape myrtles, etc. Retrain new sprouts coming up from bases if it appears there will be no hope for the old tops. See story on oak damage in last week’s e-gardens if you missed it.
Lawn at recommended height. Letting grass grow taller does not improve its summer durability. In fact, it weakens the grass and allows weeds to get started.
Deadhead perennials to remove spent flowerheads and seed stalks.
Do not prune crape myrtles to remove fruit. They will rebloom just as quickly and just as heavily if you leave the seedheads in place.

Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer each time that you water them. Nutrients drain out of their soils very quickly, hence the need to replenish frequently.
Apply iron supplement with sulfur soil-acidifier to chlorotic plants. Iron deficiency shows as yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominently displayed on newest growth at ends of branches. Keep iron products off masonry and painted surfaces to prevent staining.
Give annual color beds new sizzle by applying a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Most types bloom on new growth, and that’s exactly what the nitrogen will promote.

Continued Below

Lace bugs turning leaves of pyracanthas, Boston ivy, azaleas, Chinquapin and bur oaks, sycamores, gray cotoneasters and other plants mottled tan. Use Imidacloprid systemic insecticide.
Leafrollers tying leaves of trailing periwinkle groundcover, redbuds, pyracanthas, cannas, sweetgums and other plants together. Imidacloprid systemic insecticide will stop further damage, but it will require 2-3 weeks to take effect.
Crape myrtle bark scale and crape myrtle aphids can be controlled with the same Imidacloprid systemic insecticide, but treating in mid-May gives season-long prevention.
Gray leaf spot causing St. Augustine to turn yellowish in irregular “washes” across the lawn. Diamond-shaped, gray-brown spots will also be evident on the leaf blades and runners. Avoid nitrogen fertilizers between mid-June and early September. Nitrogen exacerbates gray leaf spot in hot weather. Apply Daconil or Azoxystrobin fungicide for control of current outbreak.
Chinch bugs will kill St. Augustine in hot, sunny parts of the yard. Grass will appear dry, but watering won’t bring it back. You can see the small black insects in the perimeter of the dying area if you part the grass with your fingertips on a hot afternoon. Nurseries and hardware stores have products labeled for control of chinch bugs.
If you have nutsedge (“nutgrass”) in turf or landscape beds you must begin your treatment program soon. If you opt to use Image labeled for nutsedge control, make two applications 30 days apart with the latter coming no later than September 15. That means the first application must be made no later than August 15. Sedgehammer is another option.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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