Gardening This Weekend: July 8, 2021

So far much of Texas has enjoyed a relatively pleasant, moist early summer. Let’s get ready (as best we can) for what is coming. Here are this weekend’s goals.

Color plants that can stand up to the heat. Best types include purslane, moss rose, Cora XDR vinca, angelonia, pentas, ornamental sweet potatoes, fanflower, purple fountaingrass, crotons, Dahlberg daisies, trailing lantanas, tropical hibiscus and a lot of others. Let a Texas Certified Nursery Professional help you match the best plants with your surroundings.
Peppers into your fall vegetable garden. South Texas gardeners, this is last call for planting tomato transplants so that they’ll have time to mature before frost. Small and mid-sized varieties only.
St. Augustine, bermuda or zoysia sod. Water new grass deeply after planting, then twice daily for about 5 minutes per time for the first 10 days. Gradually cut back to once daily, then twice weekly as its roots grow deeper into the soil.

Keep mowing lawn at recommended height. Mowing lawn higher than recommended does not improve its summer durability. Mowing more often than weekly is good for the vigor of your turfgrass.
Dead or damaged branches, including those killed by the winter cold, from trees and shrubs. It’s hot enough now to prune oaks without worrying about oak wilt activity. Seal all oak cuts with black pruning paint. Do not seal other types of plants.
If you live in DFW or other areas where rose rosette virus has become epidemic, remove the plants at once. They will not get better come fall. Here is information regarding RRV that I leave archived on my website. It appears that many gardeners have become complacent about RRV in their landscapes to the point of ignoring it.

If it’s been more than 8 weeks since you last fed your bermuda turf, apply an all-nitrogen food to it now. As much as half of that nitrogen should be in slow-release form. Do not fertilize St. Augustine until September if gray leaf spot has been a problem. See related story in last week’s e-gardens.
Hanging baskets and container plants with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food at least weekly.
Iron chlorosis causes leaves to become yellowed with dark green veins, most prominently on new growth. It’s common with plants that prefer acidic soils when they’re grown near or west of I-35. Use an iron/sulfur product. Keep iron away from concrete and stone that could be stained.

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Webworms in pecans, walnuts, persimmons and other shade trees. Clip them out with pole pruner or pull webs open. Spraying is not efficient because webs are so high in trees. Trees will not suffer long-term damage.
Watch for chinch bugs in hottest, sunniest parts of St. Augustine lawns. Grass will appear dry, but won’t respond to irrigation. The small black pests will be visible at the interfaces of living and dying grasses. Use a labeled turf insecticide to control them.
Aphids causing sticky honeydew on pecans, bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, crape myrtles and others. At this point you’ll have to use a power sprayer with a general-purpose insecticide. Next year apply a systemic product according to label directions.
Lacebugs will cause the same honeydew on leaves of bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, pyracanthas, boxwoods, Boston ivy, sycamores and other plants. Look for black specks on the backs of their leaves. Controls are same as for aphids above.
Gray leaf spot causing large areas of St. Augustine turf to develop light green or yellow color. On closer inspection you’ll see the diamond-shaped fungal spots on the blades and even the runners. Treat with Azoxystrobin or other labeled fungicide. See story on gray leaf spot in last week’s e-gardens.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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