Gardening This Weekend: June 27, 2024

Some of the best nursery bargains I’ve ever found were over the Independence Day period. Get out early and you’ll miss the heat.

Fall tomatoes. The next 10 days will be your prime time to be planting them. Call ahead to see if your favorite nursery has transplants available. “Shelf life” is short for the nurseries since the plants grow so quickly, so when you find them, grab them. Choose small and mid-sized varieties. Large types won’t set fruit as reliably in cool fall weather.
Pumpkins for Halloween. Again, stick with small and mid-sized fruiting varieties. The large ones won’t have time to ripen.
Crape myrtles while nurseries have their full supplies. Read labels carefully regarding mature heights and widths of types you’re considering. Watch for sales on these.
New turfgrass, but you’ll have to water it twice daily, morning and evening, for 5 minutes each time for the first week or two to get it established. Then you can cut back on frequency as you step up the amount per time.

Continued Below

Wind-broken branches in trees. If they’re of size or position that represents risk to you or property, hire a certified arborist. If the recent storms have them behind in their work, be patient, please.
Continue mowing turf at recommended height. Raising the mower blade does not improve summer hardiness or durability to drought. It actually weakens the grass and makes it easier for weeds to get a roothold.
Crape myrtles as needed to remove any branches or trunks killed by last winter’s cold, but no need to remove seedheads.
Overly eager, elongated shoots from Lady Banksia roses, abelias, elaeagnus, and other shrubs to restore natural growth form.

Bermuda turf with all-nitrogen fertilizer 30 to 40 percent of that nitrogen in slow-release form.
Liquid iron and sulfur soil acidifier for quickest green-up of iron-deficient plants. This is impractical, however, for large trees and shrubs. It’s best simply to admit an error in planting them and replace them with a better adapted species.
Container plants and hanging baskets regularly. Due to their limited soil reservoirs and porous potting soils, these plants run out of nutrients quickly.

Continued Below

Webworms are forming canopies over pecans, mulberries, native persimmons, walnuts, and other trees and shrubs. Spraying is usually impractical. If possible, trim them off the plants by removing impacted twigs while they are still small. If you leave the webworms on their own for a few days, they will form large webs that will develop farther back on the branches. By then you would disfigure the tree were you to remove a branch. At that point, take a coathanger on the end of a pole and pull the webs open. Birds will feed on the newly exposed webworms.
Bagworms are devouring needles of junipers, cedars, arborvitae, and cypresses, among others. You will see the larvae pulling the small, conical bags behind them for a few weeks until they finally tie the bags to small twigs. At that point you can no longer treat to control them. You need to apply a general-purpose organic or inorganic insecticide while they are actively feeding. They can inflict fatal damage to these plants in a hurry.
Chinch bugs in St. Augustine. They will always be in hot, sunny parts of a lawn. Infested grass will appear dry but will not respond to irrigation. You should be able to see the small, black insects by parting the grass with your fingers. Apply a labeled insecticide to the entire lawn.
Lacebugs are common on Texas landscape plants currently. They turn leaves mottled tan, and black specks will be visible on the backs of the leaves. Most general-purpose insecticides will stop them, although the leaves will not green up again.
Leafrollers are beginning to show up on trailing periwinkle groundcover beds, also on redbuds, sweetgums, cannas and other plants. Apply Imidacloprid systemic insecticide immediately.
Gray leaf spot appears in washes of yellowed St. Augustine, both in sun and shade. On closer inspection you’ll see diamond-shaped lesions on the grass blades. Do not apply nitrogen until September. (It exacerbates the problem.) Slow the fungus with Azoxystrobin fungicide.

Posted by Neil Sperry
Back To Top