Gardening This Weekend: July 28, 2022
I’ll keep the list short again since it’s still best to be out in the garden morning and evening. Here are this weekend’s prime tasks.
• Bush beans, cucumbers, squash for fall garden. They germinate quickly and prosper in the warm weather of August and September. They’ll be free from spider mites and other pests you saw in the spring.
• If you intend to plant fall-flowering bulbs such as fall crocus (Sternbergia), spider lilies (Lycoris), oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala) and others, buy or order them now. Plant them as soon as you receive them.
• Marigolds, zinnias and celosias. Choose transplants that are in bud, but not yet in full bloom – they establish better and will be spectacular right up to frost.
• New sod as soon as possible. It’s going to be hot, but if you have to get new grass growing, August is just about the end of the prime time. Sod is usually dug in late afternoon and shipped overnight. Have it delivered first thing in the morning and have a crew ready to lay it onto freshly tilled and raked soil prepped the day before. Water it as soon as it’s been laid.
• Mow lawn regularly to maintain grass at recommended height. Allowing grass to grow tall does not increase its tolerance of heat, drought. Keep it “low and dense” to crowd out weeds.
• Last chance to tip-prune tall-growing mums and Mexican bush sage lightly to keep plants compact. Remove flowers and buds from coleus, basil and caladiums to keep plants growing vegetatively.
• Remove branches of trees, shrubs that were killed by past two winters’ cold. It is fine to prune oaks now. Seal all cuts made to oaks (but not other plants) with pruning paint to prevent entry of the oak wilt fungus. Make cuts flush with remaining branches. Leave no stubs.
• Iron-deficient plants every 4-6 weeks with iron additive and sulfur soil-acidifier. Keep iron products off bricks, stone and concrete to avoid staining.
• Annual color beds and patio containers with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate new growth and more color for fall.
• Bermuda turf if it’s been more than 8 weeks since you last did. Use all-nitrogen fertilizer with upwards of half that N in slow-release form.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Dry plants in landscape that your sprinkler system might be missing. Water them and all new plantings by hand every 2-3 days with a garden hose and water bubbler attachment. Soak the new plants deeply to keep them alive and thriving. Just a few dollars of water and a few minutes of your time can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
• Gray leaf spot in St. Augustine continues to be an issue, especially in lawns that have been fertilized recently. Nitrogen exacerbates this disease, so do not fertilize again until temperatures cool in September.
• Chinch bugs continue to cause problems in hot, sunny parts of St. Augustine turf. If areas that appear dry do not improve after watering, check on hands and knees for presence of BB-sized black insects with irregular white diamonds on their wings. Look in the interface of healthy and afflicted grass, not in dead areas. If you see chinch bugs treat immediately with an insecticide labeled for them. Here is information on diagnosing St. Augustine troubles that I prepared recently and am leaving archived on my website.