Gardening This Weekend: September 23, 2021

Finally we’ve had a hint of autumn as cool air plunged into Texas earlier this week. That was a nice respite, and it reminds us that these are the tasks we need to be working on now.

Trees and shrubs. Nurseries have good supplies of some of the best types – things that were sold out last spring. Work with a professional designer, perhaps at the nursery, to be sure all of the plants fit into your plans.
Ryegrass, either to overseed an established lawn or to cover bare ground temporarily over the winter. I’ve heard rumors that ryegrass seed may be in short supply this fall, so if you need it, better shop now.
Fall color from mums, Joseph’s coat, Mexican bush salvia, Mexican mint marigolds, petunias and other fall color plants.
Wait until temperatures fall substantially to plant pansies. 90-degree days are not their friends. When planted in warm conditions plants will tend to become lanky.
Last call to sow wildflower seeds for spring bloom. If you’re planting bluebonnets, buy acid-treated (“scarified”) seeds for best germination. Sow into lightly prepared soil where there is no competition from turf.

Spent flower stalks and seedheads, damaged foliage from perennial beds. Keep the garden tidy as things wind down.
Turf to maintain lawn at recommended mowing height. Tall grass invites weed growth.
Dead branches from trees while they are easily identified. It becomes difficult later into the fall. Be especially conscious of trees that suffered dieback from last winter’s cold. Those branches could fall during winter storms. They are quite heavy and could cause damage and injury.

Lawn with all-nitrogen fertilizer (half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form) unless soil test instructs otherwise. Product may be labeled as “winterizer,” but it could very likely be the same analysis as your spring and summer food.
Summer annual flowers and foliage with water-soluble, all-nitrogen food to stimulate one last round of fall growth and blooms.
Houseplants that you have on patio or beneath trees for the summer one last time before you bring them inside in a few weeks.

Continued Below

Dead areas in turf are not likely to be due to grub worms unless you can pull the grass up, runners and all. If it’s St. Augustine, it’s probably old chinch bug damage or perhaps the aftermath of gray leaf spot.
Browned areas in bermuda turf are likely damage done a week or two earlier by armyworms. Their patches will be unevenly sized and spaced and they will be interspersed with vigorous green growth. Your best approach, if you think they have been involved, would be to apply an all-nitrogen fertilizer and water the turf. It should green up and start growing very quickly.
Webworms are prevalent in Texas pecans, walnuts, persimmons, mulberries and other trees currently. Spraying is impractical. Do not try to burn them (extremely hazardous). Long-handled pole pruners are probably your best solution, or just ignore them. They will fall to the ground over the winter. The trees will be fine.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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