Gardening This Weekend: June 23, 2022

This is the most-read part of e-gardens each week, partly because people look for their critical assignments of what to do in the ensuing three days. So, here you are….

Remember I warned you that fall tomatoes need to be planted starting next weekend and before July 4 in most parts of Texas. Start asking your favorite nursery if they’re going to be handling them for you. New plants set out now will be far more productive than plants you attempt to carry through from the spring.
New lawngrasses, but be prepared to water the new turf morning and evening for about 5 minutes each time. That goes on for a week or 10 days, then cut it back gradually.
Color that can handle the heat from the moment you get it home from the nursery. That list includes trailing lantanas, angelonias, moss rose, hybrid purslane, Cora periwinkles and many others.
Crape myrtles, while plants are in full bloom in your favorite nursery. Choose varieties whose sizes match up with what you have available for them so you won’t feel compelled to prune them to fit later on. And choose the precise color that pleases you most.

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Reshape houseplants that have grown erratically while indoors. This is their chance to regain good form while they’re growing outside in the shade for the summer.
Annuals such as copper plants, coleus and begonias that have become too leggy by pinching them back.
Dead branches extending outside the vigorous canopies of trees and large shrubs can be pruned off now. They are probably left over from the freeze damage from February, 2021, and they are not going to leaf out now.

Trees, shrubs, groundcovers and annuals with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer to promote sustained growth and vigor through rest of growing season. It’s best to do it now before the plants go into hot-weather dormancy.
Bermuda with high-nitrogen fertilizer that has half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form, but avoid applications of nitrogen to St. Augustine until September to lessen chance of gray leaf spot outbreaks.
Iron-deficient plants (yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first) can be treated with iron additive with sulfur soil acidifier to help reduce alkalinity of soil.

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Gray leaf spot causing yellowed “washes” across St. Augustine turf. Sun or shade. Exacerbated by applications of nitrogen in hot weather, so avoid nitrogen and apply labeled fungicide.
Chinch bugs causing dried looking areas in hottest, sunniest parts of your St. Augustine lawn. You will be able to see the small, black insects with irregular white diamonds on their wings if you part the grass with your fingers. Apply labeled insecticide. They can quickly kill affected areas.
Tent caterpillars in pecans and other trees. Use long-handled pole pruner to remove. They are difficult to spray unless you have power spray equipment. Stay 10-15 feet or more away from power lines.
Lacebugs turn blades of American elm, sycamore, bur oak, azalea, pyracantha, boxwood, Boston ivy and other plants mottled tan. You will see black peppery specks (excrement) on backs of leaves. Apply general-purpose insecticide to stop further damage.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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