Gardening This Weekend: July 14, 2022

In the spirit of getting you back indoors as quickly as possible, here’s your abbreviated checklist for this middle week of the summer.

Fall color annuals, including hybrid purslane, portulaca, periwinkles (Cora XDR®, the disease-resistant types), trailing lantanas, cleome, amaranthus, pentas, angelonias, Dahlberg daisies, purple fountaingrass, fanflower, purpleheart and others.
Peppers for fall. This applies to bells, jalapenos, sweet bananas and all the various ornamental peppers as well. This is their prime time for planting.
Turfgrass from sod or even from seed. Be prepared to water morning and night for short intervals until the new grass establishes its roots.
Crape myrtles while you can still buy them in bloom at the garden centers. Carry them home inside your car. Don’t expose them to highway winds.

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Wild or freeze-damaged shoots on shrubs, groundcovers to maintain tidy landscape appearance. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible, however.
Dead limbs left over from extreme cold of February 2021 from live oaks, red oaks and other trees before they fall and cause harm or damage.
Late spring and summer perennials to remove spent flowers and seed stalks.
Flower buds out of growing tips of coleus, caladiums, basil and other plants whose foliage production is stopped by development of flowers.

Bermuda turf if it’s been more than 8 to 10 weeks since last you did. Apply all-nitrogen fertilizer with as much as half of that nitrogen in slow-release form. Do not fertilize St. Augustine until early September due to possibility of gray leaf spot.
Patio pots and hanging baskets every third of fourth time that you water them. Potting soils are notoriously low in nutrition since it leaches out the drain holes quite quickly.
Iron-deficient azaleas, gardenias, fringeflowers, other shrubs and small trees with chelated iron and sulfur soil acidifier. Keep iron products off masonry and painted surfaces that could be stained. It is almost always futile and prohibitively expensive to treat larger trees.

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Gray leaf spot causes irregular areas of yellowed St. Augustine in sun and shade. Infected grass will have BB-sized gray/brown, diamond-shaped spots on blades, runners. Discontinue all nitrogen until mid-September, and treat with Azoxystrobin.
Chinch bugs in St. Augustine. Watch the sunniest, hottest parts of your lawn. If they begin to look dry, and if watering doesn’t perk them up, part the grass with your fingers and look for BB-sized black insects with irregular white diamonds on their backs around the perimeter of the affected area. Treat at once with an insecticide labeled for chinch bugs. They can quickly kill large areas of turf.
Grasshoppers, katydids and other chewing insects will bother a wide assortment of landscape and garden plants. Look for the pests. If you can find them, you’ll have a head start in knowing what to use and how and when to apply it. Contact insecticides work best on the flying pests, while Bacillus thuringiensis is best for caterpillars.
All plants for signs of moisture stress. Water by hand if you must, but don’t lose plants just because you forgot to water them once. In answer to the question I’m being asked repeatedly, “No, it’s ultimately unlikely that you are over-watering your plants. Not in these temperatures.”

Posted by Neil Sperry
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