Gardening This Weekend: June 6, 2024

Here are your prime tasks now that it’s turning warm.

Tropical color, including caladiums, bougainvilleas, lemon lollipops, crotons, mandevillas, plumbagos, hibiscus, bananas and others. Don’t be afraid to bring tropical foliage into shaded parts of your landscape as well.
Summer annuals that can handle the heat, including copper plants, firebush, purple fountaingrass, Gold Star Esperanza, fanflower, lantanas, hybrid purslane, moss rose, angelonias, pentas and Profusion zinnias.
Turfgrass from sod, seed, or plugs. Planting as soon as possible gives the new grass as much time as possible to become established. It’s usually also cooler at this time than it will be in a few weeks. That means it’s easier to get the new grass established and growing now.
Crape myrtles while nurseries have their best supplies in full bloom. Know how much room you have available and buy varieties that will fit those spaces. Here is a list from our Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney website giving the best varieties in each size and color.

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Remove flowers and buds from garden mums now so they can return to vegetative growth for the summer. That will ensure full plants for the best fall bloom.
Pinch growing tips out of coleus, copper plants, Mexican bush salvias, and fall asters to keep plants shorter and fuller.
Remove flower buds from coleus, basil, santolina, and lamb’s ear. Flowers stop production of leaves and cause plants to become leggy.
Remove erratic new spring shoots on elaeagnus, abelias, and other plants as needed.
Crape myrtles to remove dead stems and stubble left over from winter damage of the past several years. The dead shoots are not going to green up again. Reshape plants as needed to compensate.
Similarly, oaks and other trees that were hurt badly by the cold of February 2021 with subsequent loss of limbs should be pruned to remove the dead branches. They are quite heavy, and they will eventually fall. Have a professional arborist do that removal for you in most cases.
Blackberries to remove canes that just bore fruit. Cut those canes completely to the ground. They will never bear fruit again and you want to get them out of the way.

St. Augustine. Because nitrogen applied in summer can encourage development of gray leaf spot fungus, you don’t want to put this application off any longer. Your lawn fertilizer should probably contain no phosphorus (most Texas soils already have excessive amounts), and 30-40 percent of that nitrogen should be in slow-release form.
Bermudagrass. Same high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer with 30 to 40 percent of the N in slow-release form should be applied now if it’s been 8 weeks or longer since you last fed the grass. Bermuda should be fed early April, early June, early August, and early October.
Patio pots, hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen food weekly. Use a siphoning proportioner and a water breaker or water bubbler.
Iron and sulfur soil acidifier to correct chlorosis (yellowed leaves with dark green veins that show first on leaves at tip ends of branches). Keep all iron products away from painted and masonry surfaces that could be stained.

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This is the time for the second application of pre-emergent granules (Dimension, Balan or Halts) to prevent germination of crabgrass and grassburs. First application should have been made in late February in South Texas or early March in North Texas. If you did not make that application, there is no point in making this one.
Early blight causes lower leaves of tomatoes to turn bright yellow in rather large blotches, especially after all the warm, humid weather. The leaves quickly turn brown and die, making it essential that you apply a labeled fungicide at first signs of infection.
Spider mites on tomatoes, beans and other flowers and vegetables. They cause very fine tan mottling that you soon learn to recognize. If you want to check for their presence, thump a suspect leaf over a sheet of white paper. The almost-microscopic mites will be visible on close observation as they begin to move about. Your Certified Nursery Professional can show you insecticides labeled for their control. Be sure to spray both top and bottom leaf surfaces. Repeat after 7-10 days.
Bagworms are devouring needles of junipers, cedars, arborvitae, cypresses and other conifers now. Sevin, Malathion, B.t., Spinosad, and most other general-purpose organic and inorganic insecticides will control them. Spray immediately, before they strip the branches and attach themselves to the twigs.
Chiggers are active now. Rather than trying to spray your entire lawn and landscape, it’s a lot easier simply to apply DEET repellent to ankles, feet, shoes and cuffs. They will run their course by mid-July when it turns hot and dry.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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