Gardening This Weekend: July 7, 2022

In an effort to get you indoors and out of the heat as efficiently as possible, here are the critical tasks for this part of early July.

Crape myrtles while selections are still excellent. Protect plants from highway winds on way home from nursery.
Peppers, both sweet and hot peppers for the garden and ornamental peppers for the landscape
Fall annual color including copper plants, firebush, purple fountaingrass, fanflower, Cora XDR periwinkles, pentas, angelonias, marigolds, zinnias, celosias.
Fall perennials as they appear in nurseries: fall asters, Mexican bush salvias, Mexican mint marigold, spider lilies, autumn crocus, naked lady lilies, oxblood lilies.

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Flowerbuds as they form on coleus, basil, caladiums and lamb’s ear. Flowers stop further production of the desirable foliage.
Blackberry canes that bore fruit a few weeks ago. Cut completely to the ground. They will never bear fruit again. Prune growing tips out of this year’s new canes to force them to produce side branches. That will keep plants more compact.
Dead and broken branches from shade trees and shrubs. Leave no stubs by making all cuts flush with remaining trunks, limbs. This includes freeze-damaged oaks and other trees still showing effects of extreme cold of February 2021. If in doubt, hire a certified arborist. Dead branches can be amazingly heavy.

Annuals that are producing smaller flowers and that have pale green foliage probably need a boost of nitrogen. Most of them flower on new growth, so the nitrogen should help them pick things up for the fall.
Trace element “packages” are usually included in water-soluble fertilizers. It takes very little of these minor elements to satisfy plants’ requirements, so count on the commercial products to provide all that they need. However, iron products may be needed to correct chlorosis for acid-loving plants being grown in alkaline soils. (Keep iron products off concrete and other masonry surfaces that could be stained.)

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Signs of moisture stress. Lower leaves yellowing, dropping. Foliage of hollies turning olive drab (since they don’t wilt). Leaves of Asian jasmine, St. Augustine folding downward. All are signs that you need to water very soon.
Water newly planted nursery stock by hand using a water breaker or water bubbler. Soak the plants deeply every two or three days. Sprinkler irrigation will not be sufficient, nor will drip irrigation.
Grasshoppers devouring foliage of vegetables, ornamentals. Sprays should be applied in a downward sweep to coat the pests as they try to fly away. Let your Texas Certified Nursery Professional show you the products available for their control.
Tent caterpillars build large webs on pecans’ and other trees’ branches, stripping foliage as they feed. Prune the webs out when they’re just getting started using a long-handled pole pruner to reach into the trees. (Stay far away from power lines!) Sprays are very difficult and inefficient.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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