Gardening This Weekend: August 3, 2023

Parts of Texas may be in store for a little moisture and slightly cooling weather, in which case we’ll shout, “Yahoo!” In any event, here are the things you’ll want to get done.

Beans, squash, cucumbers, Irish potatoes. In South Texas, peppers.
Dig and divide fall-flowering bulbs, including spider lilies, oxblood lilies, sternberbias and others before they start growing.
Dig and divide spring-flowering bulbs, including daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, grape hyacinths and others.
Buy spring wildflower seeds for Texas for planting later this month.
New lawngrass. St. Augustine or zoysia from plugs or sod. Bermuda from sod or seed. You will have to water bermudagrass seedlings for short intervals in morning and evening.

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Allowing grass to grow taller does not improve its durability to heat. It actually weakens the grass and allows weeds to move in. Mow at the recommended height all year long.
Errant spring and summer growth from shrubs and vines to tidy up the look of your landscape.
Spent flower stalks and seed heads in annual and perennial gardens.

New flower and vegetable plantings for fall garden with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food for quickest start.
High-phosphate root-stimulator monthly for trees and shrubs that were transplanted last winter and early spring.
Iron-deficient plants with a granular iron product. Hopefully it will also contain sulfur to help acidify the soil at least long enough to allow the iron to remain soluble.

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Be extremely observant of new tree and shrub plantings to be sure you don’t forget to water them by hand every couple of days the rest of this year. Sprinkler irrigation alone will not be adequate. Soak the plants deeply with a bubbler attachment at the end of your garden hose.
Chinch bugs remain extremely threatening to St. Augustine turf everywhere that it’s grown. If patches of grass (a) look extremely dry even 12 hours after you soak them, and if (b) they’re in the hottest, sunniest parts of your yard, get down on your hands and knees and part the grass at the interface of healthy and declining grass. Look for BB-sized, black insects moving freely around on the soil surface. They’ll have irregular white diamonds on their wings (one diamond per chinch bug). Treat with an insecticide labeled to control them.
Leafrollers are attacking vinca groundcovers, sweetgums, redbuds, cannas and several other plant species. Apply a systemic insecticide to stop further outbreaks, but it will take regrowth to conceal the current ugliness. You can trim trailing vinca groundcover beds to get rid of the browned stubble. Fertilize and water to encourage regrowth.
If you have an automatic sprinkling system, be sure all stations are functioning properly. Walk through your entire landscape with a keen eye toward problems. Watch, especially, for couplings and fittings that may have popped loose as glue fittings have dried out and as the ground has shifted.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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