Gardening This Weekend: May 5, 2022

Here’s my list of the most important gardening tasks for this first full weekend of May.

Summer color from annuals: angelonias, pentas, lantanas, coleus, firebush, copper plants, purple fountaingrass, crotons, Gold Star esperanza, purslane, moss rose, fanflowers.
Trees, shrubs and groundcovers to gain benefit of the rest of the spring growth. Protect tender foliage by covering plants with nursery shade fabric or old sheets on the way home from the garden center.
New turfgrass from sod, seed or plugs. There is no better time of the entire year to plant new grass than the middle of May! It’s warm enough for it to grow well and cool and moist enough to make it easier to get it growing.

Shade trees to remove branches that have been broken or damaged in recent winters. Dead branches are heavy and can do extensive damage should they fall.
Erratic new shoots that are causing shrubs to be misshapen. Whenever possible avoid formal shearing.
Pinch growing tips out of fall asters, Mexican bush salvias, copper plants, coleus, poinsettias and other annual and perennial plants that tend to become leggy by the end of the growing season. Pinching forces them to produce side branching and stay more compact.

Lawns with all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of that nitrogen in encapsulated or coated, timed-release form. If in doubt, ask for the help of a Texas Certified Nursery Professional. He or she will be able to show and explain it all to you.
In most cases, use same lawn-type fertilizer for flower and vegetable gardens. Feed those plantings every 3-4 weeks to keep the plants growing actively.
Container plants such as patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, complete fertilizer (all three major elements included) in water-soluble form every couple of times that you water them. Every 3-4 weeks water heavily to leach accumulated mineral salts out through the drain holes.
Iron with sulfur soil-acidifier to correct iron chlorosis. Iron deficiency shows up as yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominently displayed on the newest growth first. The leaves will then turn creamy white, then brown and crisp before the ends of the branches die. It will be primarily in alkaline soils.

Continued Below

Crape myrtle bark scale can be prevented by application of Imidacloprid systemic insecticide as a soil drench now around the drip line of the plants. See related story this issue.
Early blight on tomatoes causes thumbprint-sized yellow blotches on lower leaves. Watch for it over the next couple of weeks. It can quickly cause plants to defoliate. Apply a labeled garden fungicide.
Chiggers are out and about across much of the state. For them and for mosquitoes, protect yourself with DEET spray, both on ankles and feet, boots, socks and slacks, also on arms and face for mosquitoes.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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