Timely Tips: May 2015
Plant: Summer vegetables, including okra, southern peas and melons. Hot-weather color from tropical plants, including firebush, croton, mandevilla, hibiscus, pentas, cuphea, bougainvillea. Summertime color plants, including moss rose, purslane, gomphrena, copper plant, zinnias, marigolds, lantana, cosmos, amaranthus, and, for shade, coleus, begonias and caladiums. Warm-season lawngrasses, including St. Augustine, bermuda, zoysia, buffalograss. Summer- and fall-blooming perennials from pots. Landscape trees, shrubs and groundcovers.
Prune: Spring-flowering shrubs, vines and climbing roses early in month, to allow maximum regrowth. Prune them branch by branch, to maintain plants’ natural shapes. “Pinch” mums, copper plants to keep plants shorter, bushier. Shrubs, trees, to correct misdirected or damaged growth.
Fertilize: Turf, with all-nitrogen or high-nitrogen plant food every 8 to 10 weeks. Groundcover beds, shade trees, evergreen shrubs, spring-flowering shrubs, vines, all with same fertilizer. Container plants, with diluted complete-and-balanced analysis plant food with each watering. Timed-release plant foods are also good for patio pots and hanging baskets.
On the Lookout: Cabbage loopers on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower. (Use Bacillus thuringiensis.) Pecan casebearer spray (in early May in South Texas, mid-May in Central Texas, late May in North Texas). Contact County Extension office for precise timing for your area. Lace bugs on sycamores, pyracanthas, azaleas, Boston ivy, others. Control with systemic insecticide before leaves turn tan. Spider mites in junipers and other plants (general-purpose insecticides offer best controls). Lower leaves will turn tan. You may even see fine webbing. Thump suspect leaves over white paper to see the nearly microscopic pests as they move. Bagworms on evergreens (general-purpose insecticide or B.t.). Broadleafed weedkiller (containing 2,4-D) for non-grassy weeds. Follow directions carefully. Webworms in pecans and other trees. Prune as soon as you see the webs. Sprays are not especially prudent.