Gardening This Weekend: May 18, 2023

Week in and week out, this is the most looked-at section of e-gardens. If you find it useful, Chapter 2 of Neil Sperry’s Lone Star Gardening will be right up your garden pathway. It has 48 pages of the kind of information you see here. (Click here for more information.)

New lawns. Sod or seed planted now will establish quickly without the challenges of our hottest summer weather.
Nursery stock. You’ll need to water it by hand every couple of days this summer, but you should be doing that to all new plantings anyway. Use a water bubbler to speed up the process.
Groundcovers. You’ll still get almost a full season of growth if you plant them soon. Prepare the soil as you would for flowers or vegetables.
Hot-weather color. Pansies have gone. Spring flowers are going to be are going. It’s time for the plants that can handle our heat. Let your nursery professional show you the best options.

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Mums, coleus, copper plants, begonias, fall asters and even new growth of blackberries. “Pinch out” growing tips to encourage side branching.
Mow lawn at recommended height to keep grass low and dense. Tall grass quickly becomes weak grass.
Trees, shrubs to remove erratic spring growth, but avoid formal shearing whenever possible.
Winter-killed growth from trees and shrubs.
Any crape myrtles that suffered significant freeze damage should be trimmed completely to the ground. Leave the strong new shoots coming up from the bases to become the new trunks. You’ll be able to retrain them into perfect form within one or two growing seasons.

Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food regularly. Nutrients leach out of containers’ soils very quickly with watering.
Lawns, landscape plants and vegetables with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer, as directed by soil test. Texas A&M Soil Testing Laboratory gives outstanding details.

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This is time to apply Imidacloprid soil drench to prevent crape myrtle bark scale and crape myrtle aphids this summer. Click for all the details.
Fire ant mounds: use individual mound treatments near walks, play areas. Area-wide baits work best for larger spaces, also give best long-term control.
Webworms will soon develop in pecan, walnut trees. Prune to remove them as soon as you see the small webs starting to develop. Get them while webs are still grapefruit-sized. Use a long-handled pole pruner. (Do not use near power lines.) Spraying is difficult, costly and ineffective.
Early blight will begin to cause lower leaves of tomatoes to turn yellow (thumbprint-sized blotches), then brown, then to drop. Keep leaves dry whenever possible.
Poison ivy. Treat with a broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D). Apply carefully to lush new growth. Remember that all parts of poison ivy plants, even roots and stems, can cause the severe skin reactions.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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