Gardening This Weekend: June 30, 2022

Most folks have big plans for this holiday weekend, so I’ve narrowed the to-do list down to those things that are most critical.

Tomato transplants for your fall garden. Hopefully you can find them in your local garden center or feed store. In most of Texas they need to be planted in the next week in order to mature and make a good crop by the first frost this fall. See related story this issue.
Pumpkins from seed so that you’ll have mature fruit by Halloween. Choose small to mid-sized varieties.
Crape myrtles while they’re in full bloom to ensure you’re getting the exact shades that you want. See related story this issue.
Hot-weather color, especially into patio pots. You can get a lot of bang for your buck if you plant in containers. They’re more easily planted since you don’t have to rototill, and you can get instant color to boot. They’re portable so that you can place them wherever you need that spot of attention.

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Spent flower stalks, seed heads and browned foliage off perennials to keep garden tidy.
Growing tips out of coleus, copper plants, other color plants that are tending to become lanky.
Errant shoots from shrubs to maintain natural growth forms.

Patio pots and hanging baskets with diluted, water-soluble, high-nitrogen food with each watering. Nutrients leach out of potting soil quickly with frequent waterings.
Bermuda turf with all-nitrogen food if it’s been more than 8-10 weeks. Do not fertilize St. Augustine or zoysia due to likelihood of gray leaf spot.
Iron-deficient plants with iron additive combined with sulfur soil amendment. Iron becomes insoluble in alkaline conditions. Sulfur lowers soil pH and helps keep iron soluble a little bit longer. Iron chlorosis is identified by yellowed leaves with dark green veins at the tip ends of branches. Keep all iron products off concrete, stone and brick surfaces to prevent rust staining.

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Chinch bugs and gray leaf spot are becoming common in St. Augustine turf. Here is a link to information on St. Augustine diagnostics we had here in e-gardens two weeks ago and that is now archived on my website.
Webworms are attacking pecans, walnuts, persimmons and other trees currently. Spraying is not an efficient way of controlling them. I prefer to use a pole pruner when their webs are still small to clip out the ends of the branches where they are starting. If you wait a few days they will form webs that are massively larger, at which point about all you’ll be able to do is pull the webs open so that birds can “harvest” the caterpillars.
If you are seeing large black-and-white, wasp-like insects hovering near the ground, those are probably cicada killers. They are basically beneficial insects that seek out noisy cicadas, sting them and carry them back to their in-ground nests where they lay eggs in their paralyzed bodies. My practice has always been just to leave them alone. They have a very painful sting, but they don’t bother you if you don’t annoy them, and anything they can do to lessen the din of the cicadas will be appreciated.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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