Gardening This Weekend: August 31, 2023

So, I’ve made my list, and I’ve checked it twice. Here are the things that rose to the top.

New sod as soon as possible so it can develop deep roots before the soil starts to cool. This is especially critical in the northern half of the state.
Patio pots of fall color, including zinnias, marigolds, celosia, Joseph’s coat, copper plants, sun coleus, firebush and crotons.
Fall-flowering bulbs immediately, including oxblood lilies, spider lilies, naked lady lilies and autumn crocus (Sternbergias). Dig and divide spring-flowering jonquils and narcissus before they start to produce new roots for the upcoming season.
Wildflower seeds in lightly turned soil in a sunny, well-draining location. Do not sow within lawn areas. Wildflowers do not compete well with turf. Spring-flowering types, for example, must be left in place long enough to go to seed. By then turf will have needed several mowings.

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Pinch flower stalks from basil and coleus plants. If you allow them to go to flower, they will quit producing new foliage.
Erratic growth and frozen branches from shrubs and trees. Reshape plants in the process.
Browned leaves, spent flower stalks from perennials to keep things tidy.
Keep mowing lawn at recommended height up until frost. Tall grass becomes weak grass, more likely to allow weeds to invade.

Just about last call to apply iron and sulfur soil-acidifier to chlorotic plants. Look for yellowed leaves with dark green veins most prominently displayed on newest growth first. If it’s on older leaves down the stems, it’s probably due to high temperatures and moisture stress. Keep all iron additives off surfaces that could be stained.
Annual color plants that have stalled out after the hot weather with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food for a boost of new growth.
Bermuda and St. Augustine turf with all-nitrogen food for fall green-up. Find one with a high percentage of that nitrogen in slow-release form.

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You only get one chance to prevent cool-season grassy weeds annual bluegrass, rescuegrass and ryegrass. Apply pre-emergent weedkiller granules Dimension, Halts or Balan by September 10 to prevent germination of their seeds. See related story this issue. Just remember that if you miss this one chance, you’ll have to live with these weeds for all of next spring. Don’t miss your one chance!
Fall webworms may be forming their webs in pecans, walnuts, persimmons and other trees. Use a long-handled pole pruner to eliminate all the webs you can safely reach before they become large. Be aware of power lines nearby.
Be on the watch for end-of-season outbreaks of chinch bugs in St. Augustine and zoysia. They’ll leave browning spots in the hottest, sunniest parts of your yard. Treat with an insecticide labeled specifically for chinch bugs. They can kill large portions of established St. Augustine in a hurry.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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