Gardening This Weekend: August 4, 2022

Hot weather isn’t the biggest inspiration toward getting out into the garden, but most of us carve out a little time early or late in the day to get these critical tasks done.

New turf. Time is running short. It must be in by mid-September, but early August is far better to get it established well by winter. Warning: You’re going to have to water it morning and evening for its first several weeks in your landscape. Check local water restrictions before you commit to the effort and expense.
Fall vegetables – bush beans, squash, cucumbers, corn. (Too late to plant fall tomatoes except in far South Texas.)
Fall annual color: zinnias, marigolds, celosias, pentas, angelonias, all from 4-in. potted transplants growing vigorously, and in bud (but not yet in bloom).
Spider lilies (Lycoris radiata), naked lady lilies (L. squamigera), oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) and fall crocus, or lilies-of-the-field (Sternbergia lutea).

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Reshape shrubs that have grown erratically or suffered freeze dieback, but avoid formal shearing whenever possible.
Prune dead branches out of shade trees, notably oaks. It is “safe” to do oak pruning at this time. Oak wilt fungus is not active at these temperatures.
Keep mowing grass at recommended height. Raising blade does not aid in drought tolerance, nor does it help turf survive the heat. Tall grass becomes weak, weed-infested turf.

Bermudagrass lawns are normally fed on 8-week turnarounds, but as hot and dry as it is, there is no harm in letting the grass sit this feeding out. Once the weather breaks and we get a soaking rain or two you can resume normal feedings.
Do not fertilize St. Augustine until September. Nitrogen in hot weather encourages gray leaf spot fungus.
Apply water-soluble, high-nitrogen food every second or third time that you water patio pots and hanging baskets.
Not all yellowed plants are exhibiting iron deficiency. But for those that do, iron chlorosis shows up as yellow leaves in which the veins remain green longest, and it’s always most prominent on the newest growth first, while older leaves remain green. Leaves will remain attached to the branches. It will be a problem in alkaline soils along and west of I-35. Plants most commonly impacted include azaleas, wisterias, dogwoods, gardenias, ligustrums, cherry laurels and loropetalums. Keep iron products off concrete, stone and brick to prevent staining.

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Nutsedge. You may know it as nutgrass, but sedges all have triangular stems, while true grasses are round. You can feel that dramatically if you’ll roll their stems between your thumb and index finger. Apply the original form of Image (for nutsedge control exclusively) two times, 30 days apart and with both applications being completed by September 15. That means the first treatment must be made in the next two weeks. Water deeply after each treatment. This herbicide works slowly and must enter through the roots. Again, be sure you have the proper form of Image. Your local independent retail garden center manager or hardware or feed store gardening expert can help you. Sedgehammer is another very good option that many commercial turf managers prefer.
The pecan crop may not be stellar this year due to our prolonged drought, but if you do anticipate a good yield, spray to protect it. Pecan weevils devour kernels and leave small exit holes out of the pecans. Hickory shuckworms cause the pecans not to fill out completely, also cause pecans not to fall at their normal time in early November. Spray with Malathion first and last weeks of month to control both pests.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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