VOLUME 19, ISSUE 33 • August 31, 2023

Neil Sperry editor. Gretchen Drew design and circulation.


Our final e-gardens for August, which sentimentally feels like the last one for summer. I've tried to assemble it accordingly.

In this issue…
Add spice to your fall colors (ornamental peppers);
Call after call this week (tree issues);
       (Watch here next week for story on "Sudden Limb Drop”)
Finally time for pre-emergents;
Labor Day weekend's assignments; and
Great questions, team - and my replies.

LAST CALL for sale price

My wife Lynn has asked me to thank all of you who have bought my book in support of her re-election campaign to the McKinney ISD board of trustees. I'm leaving the special offer in place this final weekend to finish it out.

The book will pay for itself before the end of the year.
Thousands of facts on lawns, landscapes, fruit, flowers, and vegetable gardening.
A great gift for a new homeowner or a gardening friend.
A 48-page perpetual calendar telling you when to plant, prune, fertilize and protect all your plants - never before in one of my books.
344 pages. 840 of my photos. Hardback. Printed in Texas.
Not in stores. Not on Amazon so I can I sign every copy as it sells.
Satisfaction guaranteed or full refund.

*Special sale price to help my wife finish off her campaign loan. She successfully ran for reelection to the unpaid position of trustee, McKinney Independent School District Board on May 6. We support public schools, and they are under attack by people intent on taking much-needed tax dollars to bolster private schools. I set aside books to help us accomplish it all, and we should meet our goal this weekend. After that you'll have to pay more.

ORDER from my website anytime
Or call my office M-F 9-5
at (800) 752-4769
(Office closed Labor Day)

Photo: Few plants equal the zing and zest that ornamental peppers can bring to the fall color garden and patio pots.


Gardening This Weekend

The cooler weather this week has been so very welcomed. It's given us a chance to get back outdoors and assess what work lies ahead. Some of these things are really time sensitive. Check out my lists.

Photo: Pot up a coleus or two for color the balance of fall.


Your One Chance to Stop Winter Weeds

It's a hard call this year, folks, what with the heat and the drought. However, sooner or later we're all going to have a break in the weather and the cool-season weeds will start to sprout. Better to be a little bit early than a day too late. This is the best time to discuss them.

Photo: Annual bluegrass will soon be germinating.


Add Spice to Your Fall Color Program

I've been a lifelong fan of ornamental peppers since our next door neighbor grew them along her white picket fence every fall. And they've just gotten better thanks to the great work of the world's plant breeders. Let's take a look.

Photo: Their colors are constantly changing as the fruit matures day by day.


Call After Call…

Last week seemed like the culmination of it all. The long, hot summer has taken its toll on the shade trees of Texas. They're dropping their leaves as if it were autumn. But is it drought? Heat? Or are they sick? I'll give you my answers.

Photo: Why is magnolia dropping so many leaves?


Ask Neil

Burned up lawn. Burned up Gold Dust. Burned up tomatoes. Burned up Carolina jessamine. Burned up magnolia. Detective Sperry here. I think I'm sensing a trend.


And, in closing…

That's it for this week. Have a safe and fun-filled gardening Labor Day weekend.

It's a great time to adopt a pet, and shelters across Texas are at or near their capacities.

I've worked with the SPCA of Texas for more than 40 years. They invite you to browse their available animals at spca.org/findapet. Visit spca.org/dogadopt to inquire about a dog or spca.org/catadopt to inquire about a cat. Throughout September, all adult dog and cat adoptions are only $25 at the SPCA Dallas Animal Care Center (2400 Lone Star Drive) and the Ellis County Animal Care Center (2570 FM Road 878 in Waxahachie, Texas). Exception: senior pets (7 and older) can be adopted free by senior citizens.

And two longtime good friends are leaders at The Humane Society of Dallas County, also known as Dog and Kitty City. That organization rescues and finds homes for hundreds of dogs and cats in North Texas each year. They do it with the support of people from the North Texas community. They are a small shelter with a huge heart. They need your help and donations to save more animals! Donate September 1 through September 21 for North Texas Giving Day at linktr.ee/humanesocietyofdallascounty.

If you're outside the Metroplex, your local animal shelter needs your support, too.

That’s what I have, friend. Remember between now and next week:

Water your trees and shrubs deeply – many are browning and dying.

Buy pre-emergent granules to prevent winter weeds. Apply them when you hear the weather is about to break to cooler temperatures.

Take advantage of my sale on my book.

Until next week…

Happy gardening!



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