Gardening This Weekend: August 5, 2021

You must prioritize your gardening work this time of the year. It’s hot, and you don’t want to waste time doing things that aren’t really necessary. Here are your most critical tasks for this first full weekend of August.

Nursery stock as it becomes available. Supplies are still very limited. Talk to your preferred local independent retail garden center owner about what inventories are likely to look like come fall. Make your landscaping plans accordingly.
Dig and divide crowded daffodils, jonquils and narcissus before new root growth begins.
Plant fall crocus, spider lilies, surprise lilies and oxblood lilies as you find them in garden centers.
Sod and bermuda from seed as soon as possible to give the new turf as long as possible to become established before the first frost stops growth this fall.
Finish planting beans, cucumbers and squash. North Texas gardeners: start looking for cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower transplants.
Fall color zinnias, marigolds and celosias. Buy potted transplants that are in bud but not yet in bloom whenever possible.

Remove flowers from coleus, basil, mint, caladiums and other plants where flower buds and flowers stop production of new foliage.
Dead and damaged branches from shrubs and vines, and, where you can safely reach them, from smaller trees. Have a certified, insured and bonded arborist do complicated tree removal for any large trees or tree limbs. One mistake can be very dangerous.

Bermuda turf with all-nitrogen lawn food in which half or more of the nitrogen is in slow-release form. Do not fertilize St. Augustine for another 3-4 weeks to avoid late-season outbreak of gray leaf spot (fungus that is exacerbated by applications of nitrogen – see related story recent issue).
Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble plant food every couple of times that you water them. Nutrients leach out of their porous potting soils quickly.
Iron/sulfur additive to correct chlorosis in iron-deficient plants. Look for yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first. Function of the sulfur is to acidify the soil so that the iron will remain soluble as long as possible.

Continued Below

If you have browned, dry and dying spots in St. Augustine, that’s probably chinch bugs. Look at the interface of the dead and healthy grass. You’ll probably find small black insects flitting around there on top of the soil. Look for irregular white diamonds on their backs. Treat with a labeled lawn insecticide.
There is a great deal of lacebug damage to leaves of lantanas, azaleas, pyracanthas, Boston ivy, sycamores, chinquapin oaks, bur oaks, American elms and several other common landscaping plants. Leaves will be turned tan on their topsides and black, waxy specks will be evident on the backs of the leaves. Afflicted leaves won’t green back up again, but you can stop further damage with almost any general-purpose insecticide.
To repeat last week’s alert about armyworms: Watch for moths hovering over your bermuda turf. Check daily for signs of larvae feeding. Birds will be watching, too. If you see a yardful of birds gorging themselves, look closely for signs of caterpillars stripping the bermuda blades. There is no point in treating with a labeled insecticide until you have confirmation of their presence.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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