Gardening This Weekend: July 21, 2022

Short and to the point. That’s how I’ll keep these notes. Nobody needs to be outside any more than necessary right now.

Spend time Web-surfing wildflower seed sources and preparing your order. Planting time will come in early September.
Order fall-flowering bulbs such as spider lilies (Lycoris), fall crocus (Sternbergia), schoolhouse lilies (Rhodophiala) as supplies become available.
New turf as soon as the hottest weather lessens. New sod and seedings need to be completed by end of August into early September, but it’s too hot now. Do so as soon as possible, however.
Pepper plants now, but buy plants that have been acclimated to full sun at the nursery. You may want to plant them in large patio pots so you can move them into shade for 3-4 hours during these hottest days.

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Oaks can be pruned now through mid-February. Oak wilt fungal mats are now dormant. Seal all cuts with pruning paint.
Keep weeds out of gardens and shrub beds. They rob much-needed water. Use a freshly sharpened hoe for the job. Mulches are also excellent, especially organic types such as compost, shredded tree leaves and finely ground pine bark.

Patio pots and hanging baskets every time that you water them. Use a water-soluble plant food to replace nutrients leached out with all the waterings you’re having to make.
It might be well to hold off on other feedings for a week or two until temperatures moderate to more normal levels. Landscape plants are too stressed now to utilize them properly. Water is more critical.

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Chinch bugs are sucking the life out of St. Augustine turf. Hot, sunny parts of the yard will look dry but they won’t respond to watering. The insects are BB-sized, black with white diamonds on their wings. Use a labeled insecticide immediately. Chinch bugs can kill large parts of a lawn in a hurry.
Lacebugs suck the color out of leaves of loropetalums (fringeflowers), azaleas, Boston ivy, pyracanthas, cotoneasters, bur oaks, chinquapin oaks, sycamores and many other types of plants. Leaves will become shiny and sticky. Most insecticides will control them, but the green won’t return to the old leaves. New growth should be normal.
New plantings of trees and shrubs from this spring must be watered by hand using a hose and water breaker or bubbler. Sprinkler irrigation alone will not be sufficient. See related story this issue. (Double coverage because I worry about your plants!)

Posted by Neil Sperry
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