Gardening This Weekend: May 30, 2024

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago when mornings were brisk? Now the warm days of summer have blown into town. Here are the critical tasks that come with them.

Tropical foliage and flowers to highlight pools and patios: bougainvilleas, mandevillas, bananas, crotons, variegated tapioca, elephant ears and their relatives, and hibiscus.
Throw in hot-weather annual color from vinca, angelonias, pentas, lantanas, cosmos, celosias, and zinnias for flowers and coleus, caladiums, copper plants, firebush, and purple fountaingrass for foliar color.
New turfgrass from seed (bermuda) or sod (bermuda, St. Augustine, or zoysia). Water daily for the first week to get the new grass started, especially new seedings.

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Pinch growing tips out of annuals and perennials that tend to get lanky and floppy: fall asters, copper plants, coleus, Mexican bush sage.
Remove flowers that try to form on santolinas, basil, coleus, and lamb’s ears. Flowers suppress production of new leaf growth, and flowers on those particular plants are not showy anyway.
Blackberries, following harvest, to remove all canes that have just borne fruit completely to the ground. They will never bear fruit again. Pinch growing tips out of strong new 2024 shoots to encourage them to branch and stay more compact.

Lawns with all-nitrogen fertilizer with half or more of that nitrogen in slow-release form (encapsulated or coated). Timing of this feeding is especially critical for St. Augustine turf. It should come within next 10-15 days to lessen chance of gray leaf spot invasion.
Container plants, including hanging baskets, with high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food every few times that you water them. Nutrients leach out of their potting soils rapidly.
Iron and sulfur soil acidifier to correct chlorosis (yellowed leaves, dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first). Keep iron products off masonry and painted surfaces that could be stained.

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Early blight causing lower leaves of tomatoes to turn yellow, then quickly dried and brown. Apply labeled fungicide.
Chiggers, ticks and mosquitoes are active outdoors. Protect yourself by applying DEET before you head outside. Spray all exposed flesh, especially your feet, ankles and shins. Apply to your shoes, socks and cuffs.
Bagworms are active on junipers, arborvitae and other conifers across Texas. Look for the larvae to be feeding voraciously on the small needles. Damage is unnoticeable at first. That’s when their bags are still quite small, and that’s when you need to apply Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) or almost any general-purpose inorganic insecticide. They can quickly kill their host plants.
Second application of pre-emergent granules to prevent germination of crabgrass, grassburs. Apply Team, Dimension or Halts granules now followed by a good watering. It may be difficult to find these granules, but your local independent retail garden center can order them in for you. If you did not make first application in March, this application will be useless.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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