Gardening This Weekend – July 6, 2023
- Fall tomato transplants. For most of the state, this is the tail end of prime time. Choose small and mid-sized varieties for heaviest total production. (Large-fruiting types like Big Boy and Beefsteak don’t set fruit well in hot weather, and they don’t set fruit in cool weather.) Protect your new transplants from hot afternoon sun for a few days until they acclimate.
- Sun- and heat-tolerant annuals. Your local independent retail nursery manager can show you the best types to give you color now until frost.
- Crape myrtles. They’re still in full bloom. Choose the colors you like, but be sure their mature heights fit the space you have for them.
- New sod, plugs or seed, but be prepared to water the new plantings for 8-10 minutes morning and evening daily for the first 10-15 days until roots are established.
- Trim seedheads and spent flower stalks off spring and early summer perennials.
- Odd new shoots off shrubs to maintain good growth forms. However, avoid formal shearing whenever you can.
- Dead and damaged branches from shade trees and pecans. Limbs are falling all over Texas this year, many of them left over from damage done by the cold of February 2021.
- Mow lawn at recommended height. Raising height does not improve its summer durability.
- Bermuda with high-nitrogen fertilizer with high concentration of slow-release nitrogen. St. Augustine can be fed with the same plant food, but only if gray leaf spot is not present in the lawn. The damage done by that fungus is exacerbated by nitrogen in hot weather. In that case, wait to feed St. Augustine until early September.
- Iron-deficient plants (showing yellowed leaves with dark green veins most prominently on newest growth first). Apply iron supplement with sulfur included to help acidify soil. Iron is far less soluble in alkaline soils.
- Patio pots and hanging baskets every time you water them to replace nutrients leached out by frequent watering.
ON THE LOOKOUT
- Chinch bugs in St. Augustine causing patches of dry-looking grass in hottest, sunniest parts of yard. Watering, however, doesn’t help. Part the grass at the edge of dying turf and you’ll see the BB-sized black insects with white diamonds on their backs. Treat with labeled insecticide.
- Spider mites attacking wide variety of landscape, garden and even house plants. You won’t see the spider mites themselves on the backs of the plants’ leaves unless you have very sharp eyes, but you’ll see the tan mottling they cause and you’ll also see very fine webbing when their populations build to extreme levels. We no longer have products labeled specifically for mites (they are 8-legged pests, not true insects), but several general-purpose insecticides are labeled for control of them. You may need to make repeated applications to both top and bottom leaf surfaces. Thump a leaf over a sheet of white paper to check for their presence. If they’re there you’ll see the nearly microscopic specks starting to move about freely.
Posted by Neil Sperry