Gardening This Weekend: March 23, 2023

Keep a list of the things you need to get done. Here – I’ll add some for you.

Nursery stock. The sooner you plant it the better it will be rooted before summer arrives.
Lawngrasses. Sod or plugs of St. Augustine, bermuda, zoysia. Wait for warmer soils to seed bermuda.
Warm-season annuals including marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, wax begonias, pentas, angelonias and coleus. In South Texas you can add lantanas, firebush, Gold Star Esperanza, moss rose and hybrid purslane to the list, but save them for planting later in April in North Texas.
Tomatoes. Getting them into the garden now is absolutely essential. See related story this issue.
Other warm-season vegetables including peppers, bush beans, squash, cucumbers, and corn.

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Spring-flowering shrubs and vines as you strive to reshape and train them from cold damage and after blooming. It’s best to do so one branch at a time so that you can avoid the highly sheared look.
Have a certified arborist look at weak trees before spring winds catch them and cause them to fall. They can cause injuries and serious damage.
Mow lawn at recommended height regularly to encourage low, spreading growth that will crowd out the weeds.

Lawn with all-nitrogen fertilizer with as much as half of that nitrogen in slow-release form.
Annual and perennial transplants with liquid or water-soluble, high-N fertilizer weekly for several feedings. That will get them off to a quick start.
Same type of all-N food will work with most of your other plants, including trees, shrubs, groundcovers and even annual and perennial flowers and vegetables. One high quality fertilizer may truly “do all.”

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Snails and slugs feeding at night. You’ll see their slime trails on the ground and on plant leaves. Dust with a snail/slug bait. Some people use a shallow pan filled with beer or with dry dog food to which you’ve added water. The pests will be attracted to the smell and will drown.
Fire ant mounds. Use individual mound treatments near high-traffic areas (walks, patios, etc.) and area-wide baits elsewhere. Use baits around perimeters of vegetable plantings, but not within the actual garden.
Cabbage loopers chewing holes in leaves of cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.). Apply B.t. biological worm treatment.
Aphids congregating on tender new growth. Most general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticides will control them, or you can blast them away with a hard stream of water.
Broadleafed weeds such as clover, dandelions, plantain, chickweed and others with a spray product containing 2,4-D. Read and follow label directions for best results and to avoid doing damage to desirable trees and shrubs nearby.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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