Timely Tips – June 2013

Plant: Warm-season turf, early in month, before really hot weather. Assuming water curtailments allow, water lightly and at least once or twice a day for 1-2 weeks, until roots become fairly well-established. Crape myrtles, while in full bloom, to ensure specific colors. Match space with plants’ mature sizes. You’ll find a list of all the known varieties by size at http://crapemyrtletrails.org/list.html and a list of the best varieties by size at http://crapemyrtletrails.org/best.html. Heat-tolerant annuals, including moss rose, purslane, trailing lantana, pentas, copper plant, firebush, purple fountaingrass, caladiums, coleus, crotons, tropical hibiscus, mandevilla and Gold Star esperanza. Watch for good sales on trees, shrubs and other landscape plants. Keep new plants watered very carefully, since they will dry out more quickly than the surrounding soils.

Prune: Branches damaged by recent drought, high winds, etc. Erratic spring growth from shrubs, trees and groundcovers. Avoid formal shearing whenever possible. Mow frequently (4- or 5-day intervals) to keep turf low, dense. “Pinch” to remove flowers from santolinas, coleus, caladiums, lamb’s ear and mums.

Fertilize:  Turf, shrubs, trees, groundcovers, flowers and vegetables with all-nitrogen fertilizer in clay soils, high-nitrogen fertilizer in sandy soils. Patio pots and hanging baskets with high-nitrogen, water-soluble food every few times that you water them. Use timed-release fertilizer for containers, too. Apply iron/sulfur amendments to correct iron chlorosis (yellowed leaves, dark green veins; most prominent on newest growth first). Keep iron additives off masonry, painted surfaces.

On The Lookout: Webworms in pecans, walnuts, persimmons and others. Remove with pole-pruner as soon as you see webs starting to form. Bagworms devouring foliage of junipers, arborvitae, cypress and other conifers (B.t. or general-purpose insecticide). Lace bugs causing leaves of pyracanthas, sycamores, azaleas, Boston ivy and other plants to turn tan and crisp. You’ll see small black specks on backs of leaves, but insects will be more difficult to see (systemic or general-purpose insecticide). Tomatoes may show lower leaves first bright yellow, then dried and crisp. This is early blight — control with labeled fungicide. Spider mites may cause leaves of beans, tomatoes, marigolds, violets and many other plants to turn tan and crisp. Thump suspect leaf over white paper, and look for almost-microscopic specks to start moving (general-purpose insecticide sprayed onto both top and bottom leaf surfaces). Tomatoes with dried, sunken spots at distant ends of fruit. This is blossom-end rot, and it’s the result of letting tomatoes get too dry between waterings. It is quite common on tomatoes growing in pots. Keep plant more uniformly moist. Leafrollers on cannas, redbuds, sweetgums, pyracanthas (systemic insecticide).

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