Gardening This Weekend: September 15, 2022

As it warms back up for a little while it reminds us that there are still things to be done. Here’s the list I’ve put together. You may have a few things of your own.

Nursery stock. My advertisers are touting new fall arrivals from their growers. Fresh stock and the best time for planting combine to make a great landscaping opportunity. It gives new plants a long time to become established before next summer’s hot, dry weather arrives. The only plants to avoid in fall plantings: those known to be tender to winters in your part of Texas.
Quick spots of color from garden mums, petunias, Mexican bush sage, celosia and other potted nursery transplants.
Ryegrass seed for bare areas if you failed to get new grass planted or if you intend to overseed your permanent lawngrass for winter green color. Note: if you applied pre-emergent weedkiller granules in the past couple of weeks, seeding rye would be futile.

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Perennial gardens to remove old stubble as plants finish blooming or begin to die back for winter.
Dead or damaged branches from shrubs and shade trees. It will soon become much more difficult to distinguish these branches from healthy limbs as the plants start losing leaves.

Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer to keep them growing actively in fall’s better weather.
Lawn grasses of all types with all-nitrogen fertilizer containing high percentage of that nitrogen in slow-release form. It does not have to say specifically “Winterizer” fertilizer. The same product you’ve been using the rest of the growing season will be fine.

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Crape myrtle aphids if you’re seeing extremely glossy, sticky surfaces on your plants’ leaves. Most general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticides labeled for control of aphids will slow their progress. It’s important to do so to prevent accumulation of sticky honeydew, the precursor of black sooty mold. The fungus develops in the substrate of the honeydew excretions from the aphids.
Stinging caterpillars of several types on trees and shrubs. They tend to be more numerous in fall. It’s best just not to handle any caterpillars, especially those with bristles. But don’t feel like you must spray all of them just because a few species might sting. Learn what puss caterpillars and larvae of Hagg and Io moths look like.
Yellowing blades in washes across St. Augustine turf are leftover effects of gray leaf spot fungus. It was serious this summer during the hottest weather. It causes small, diamond-shaped lesions on the leaf blades, but they’re much less visible now as its effects are abating. Avoid nitrogen fertilizers between June 15 and September 1 next year. No call to action at this time.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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