Gardening This Weekend: May 23, 2024

To help you thin down your list of things to get done, I’ve included only the most time-sensitive among them.

Summertime annuals. This is where your local nursery can best advise you. Look for a member of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, specifically a Texas Certified Nursery Professional. Best plants from the list include lantanas, angelonias, pentas, purple fountaingrass, moss rose, periwinkles, coleus, gomphrenas, Dahlberg daisies, fanflowers, copper plants, firebush and others.
Trees, shrubs, and groundcovers. You can plant them now but transport them home covered with old sheets or nursery shade fabric tied down tightly to protect them from highway winds. Plant them immediately and commit to watering them by hand every two days now into mid-fall.
New turf now from sod, seed or plugs.

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Pinch out growing tips of coleus, copper plants, Mexican bush salvias, mums, fall asters and other annuals and perennials to keep them compact.
As you finish harvesting blackberries cut their canes that have borne fruit completely to the ground. They will never bear fruit again. If you do not remove them, they will make subsequent pruning and harvest very difficult. Tip-prune the new growing shoots to encourage side branching and more compact growth.
Tidy up spring growth on shrubs and vines to remove branches that are growing wildly. As much as possible try to avoid formal shearing into globes or cubes.
As foliage of spring-blooming bulbs turns yellow and brown it’s ok to trim it off. Do not cut green leaves, however.

Turf for second feeding of year with high-quality, all-nitrogen fertilizer. Find one with 30 to 50 percent of the nitrogen in slow-release (coated or encapsulated) form. Water deeply after you apply it. Wait to feed St. Augustine and zoysia again until early September to lessen chance of gray leaf spot fungus (accelerated by nitrogen in hot weather). Bermuda lawns should be fed again early August and early October.
That same fertilizer will work well with annuals, perennials and late spring vegetables.
Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer every couple of times that you water them. Supplement that with a timed-release plant food applied every 45-60 days.
Treat iron deficiency (yellowed leaves with dark green veins – appearing on the newest growth first) with an iron/sulfur additive.

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As you are outdoors, even for short periods of time, wear sunscreen. I am the voice of experience, not because I didn’t use it, but because it wasn’t available when I was a young horticulturist. It does work in lowering your chances of skin cancers. Protect your children as well.
If you have junipers, redcedars, arborvitae, cypress or other conifers that attract bagworms, watch them closely for the next 4-6 weeks for young bagworms to start feeding. Apply B.t. or any general-purpose insecticide while they are still small and moving about actively and you’ll be able to prevent any damage to your plants. Wait two weeks too long and you’ll risk losing the plants entirely.
Chiggers in bermudagrass turf, also in rural areas where you might be having a picnic. Spray your legs, socks, pants, arms, and hands. There is little reason to try to spray an entire yard for them when just a spritz of DEET insect repellent applied to your body will keep them away. They will be present until mid-summer. Use the same preventive spray for mosquitoes, but of course, spray your face, neck, and shoulders.
Second application of pre-emergent granules (Dimension, Balan, or Halts) to prevent germination of crabgrass, grassburs, and other annual grassy weeds needs to be made in 1-2 weeks. Pick up the necessary supplies ahead of time. They may be hard to find, and you may need to have your nursery dealer order them in for you.
Note: Do not confuse dallisgrass with crabgrass. Dallisgrass is a perennial weed that forms deep green, very dense clumps. Its seed heads pop up a couple of days after mowing and are noted by their black, peppery specks. Crabgrass is a medium-green, sprawling annual weed. Dallisgrass must be spot-treated with careful applications of a glyphosate-only herbicide made directly to each clump.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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