Gardening This Weekend: April 27, 2023

Here are the things that need to top your list of goals for these last days of April.

New lawngrasses from sod, seed or plugs. Soils will be warm enough as soon as they dry out that the grass will take off, but the weather is still cool enough that you’ll be able to keep up with your watering responsibilities as the new grass gets started.
Summer annual color to replace pansies and other spent annuals of winter. You have dozens of fine choices. Have fun making your selections, and remember that a garden is only as good as the soil you prepare for it.
Trees, shrubs and other landscaping plants are looking their best in Texas nurseries. This is a fine time to plant. Just make sure to water them by hand with a bubbler or breaker a couple of times weekly for their first Texas summer.

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Spring-flowering shrubs and vines, as needed to reduce size now that they have finished blooming. The list would include quince, bridal wreath, forsythia, azaleas, Carolina jessamine, wisteria, and Lady Banksia roses among others.
Shrubs, vines, and groundcovers lightly to even up their new spring growth and to remove any branches killed by the cold. Avoid formal shearing into unnatural shapes whenever possible.
Dead flowerheads from daffodils, summer snowflakes, Byzantine glads and other perennials, but leave foliage in place to yellow and brown if you expect them to rebloom next year.

Almost all plants, including turf, landscape plants, flowers, and vegetables with all-nitrogen or high-nitrogen plant food. Perhaps surprisingly, soil tests show that nitrogen is usually the only major element that is deficient in most Texas soils, so almost all of your plants will do best given a high-quality lawn fertilizer.
Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizer every week or two to keep them growing actively. Supplement it with slow-acting, timed-release fertilizer pellets as well.
If you have plants with yellowed leaves with dark green veins that are displayed most prominently on their newest growth, they are showing iron deficiency. Apply an iron amendment with a sulfur soil acidifier. Repeat monthly during the growing season.

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Take all root rot continues to be an issue with St. Augustine lawns across Texas. Random areas are yellowed, both in sun and shade. It can be stopped with application of Azoxystrobin. See related story in last week’s e-gardens.
Cabbage loopers chewing holes in leaves of cabbage, broccoli and other cole crops. Control with organic product Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.). Read and follow label directions for best results.
Non-grassy weeds in lawns can be controlled with broadleafed weedkiller spray (containing 2,4-D). Read and follow label directions to avoid damage to desirable plants in the same area.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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