This is the time of year when gardeners go to sleep thinking of all the great things they can do the next day. Here’s my list for the upcoming week.

New turf from sod or plugs. Soils are warm enough to seed common bermuda in the southern half of the state. Wait a couple more weeks in the northern half.
Nurseries are filled to the brim. Shop now! Pick up trees, shrubs, vines, and groundcovers to take advantage of spring growth spurts. Either have them delivered or take care to protect their foliage from highway winds on your way home. Plant them immediately. Nothing good happens to plants as they sit on the driveway.
Hot-weather annuals that will provide color throughout the summer. Let a Texas Certified Nursery Professional help you choose the best types for your needs. You’ll find them at member nurseries of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.

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Spring-flowering shrubs and vines immediately to reshape them.
Dead flower stalks from daffodils, iris and other spring perennials as they finish their bloom cycles. Leave the green foliage in place. It is important so that the plants can store food in their bulbs and roots for next year’s flowers.
Dead and damaged growth from shrubs and vines. Last winter may have caused dieback on some plants, and believe it or not, there still are dead trunks from February, 2021, in crape myrtles. Take time now to tidy them up and reshape them.

Trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers and turfgrass. If you’ve had a good bit of rain, and if it’s been more than 6 weeks since you fed your landscape plants, it would probably give them a new burst of strong spring growth to feed them again.
Soil tests from the TAMU lab most commonly show that gardeners with clay soil need to be adding primarily nitrogen (first number of the 3-number analysis) and probably not any phosphorus (middle number). Phosphorus dissolves slowly and accumulates in clay soils to harmful levels. Choose a high-quality fertilizer with 30 to 40 percent of the nitrogen in slow-release form.
Dilute solution of high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food for hanging baskets and patio pots with each watering. I also use an encapsulated, timed-release fertilizer for simultaneous sustained feeding.
Liquid high-phosphate root stimulator fertilizer to all newly transplanted trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and annuals and perennials for first 1-4 months to help them establish new roots.

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Take all root rot is quite bad across Texas this spring. St. Augustine is lethargic in its spring green-up. Large patches will be awash in yellow blades. Bermuda has dead spots in the turf. In both cases, the runners will have very short, stiff, and black (dead or dying) roots. The fungicide Azoxystrobin will help, but so will improving drainage and avoiding nitrate-form nitrogen lawn foods. See the story we had here last week on TARR.
Watch your cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts leaves for holes. Cabbage loopers are very active and can ruin your plants. Apply Bacillus thuringiensis biological worm control (organic) to stop them. You’ll be able to harvest and use your vegetables almost immediately.
Aphids will congregate on tender new growth of many of their favorite host plants. They’re generally BB-sized, pear-shaped, and their colors will vary from green to white, brown, yellow, red, and black. It’s easiest usually just to wash them off with a hard stream of water, although general-purpose insecticides dispatch them in a hurry.
If you are seeing semi-circular holes cut out of the edges of rose and other leaves, that’s the work of leaf cutter bees. They use those tissues to build their nests. They do no major damage, and there is no real control. Just ignore them.
Apply broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D and likely two other broadleafed herbicides) to eliminate clover, dandelions, thistles and other non-grassy weeds.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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