Gardening This Weekend: September 22, 2022
It’s still warm and dry across Texas, but nothing like it was 6 or 8 weeks ago. It’s a fine time for gardening. Here are the things you might want to get done as soon as this weekend.
• Ryegrass to overseed established turf or to hold soil in bare areas until you can plant permanent turf next spring.
• Fescue to overseed or start new fescue lawns. Do not overseed bermuda or St. Augustine with fescue. It is a permanent turf – best suited to the Panhandle and mountains of the Big Bend Country (although it requires a great deal of water).
• Color from mums, petunias, Joseph’s coat, Mexican bush sage and other quick sources of color for your fall garden. These work well in pots and hanging baskets.
• Wildflower seeds for spring bloom. If you’re planting bluebonnets, buy acid-treated (“scarified”) seeds for best germination. Sow into lightly prepared soil where there is no competition from turf.
• Browned foliage and spent flowers, seeds from perennials.
• Dead or damaged branches from trees before they start losing leaves. It’s still easy to tell them apart.
• Lawn to maintain recommended height. Allowing it to grow taller does not improve its winter hardiness. It merely serves to weaken the grass and make it more vulnerable to weed invasion.
• Lawn with all-nitrogen fertilizer (30 to 40 percent of that nitrogen in slow-release form) unless soil test instructs otherwise. Product may be labeled as “winterizer,” but it could very likely be the same analysis as your spring and summer food.
• Patio pots and annual color beds with one more round of water-soluble plant food to stimulate final burst of growth and color for fall.
ON THE LOOKOUT
• Pecans, oaks, azaleas, crape myrtles, probably a dozen or more other types of plants for sticky leaf surfaces. This is honeydew, the result of aphids sucking sap from the host plants and secreting the sugary excretions onto everything around and beneath them, including cars, walks, drives, patios – and people. Use a general-purpose insecticide labeled for aphids and apply it to all leaf surfaces. I prefer a hose-end sprayer for aphids so I can get enough pressure for complete coverage.
• St. Augustine is showing late-season symptoms of gray leaf spot and chinch bugs, and I’ve had confirmation of grub worm damage from one of my radio callers. Take all root rot will even make an autumn appearance. Brown patch (now referred to as “large patch” by university turf experts) will start showing up as soon as the weather turns cooler and rains return. (They will return, won’t they?)
To help you in diagnosing your St. Augustine’s issues, please see this page that I’m leaving archived on my website.