Tips for MAY
» Plant these annuals early in the month for spring color: petunias, larkspurs, foxgloves and stocks. Other annuals such as marigolds, celosia and wax begonias may be planted late in the month.
» Plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplants from 4-inch pots after March 15th. Plants should be hardened off (gradually exposed to outside conditions) before putting in the ground.
» Plant warm-season vegetables – beans, corn, squash, melons and cucumbers starting mid-month.
» Plant herbs in raised beds with soil amended with organic matter. Harden off plants before planting.
» Plant perennial flowers in amended well- drained soil. Know each plant’s prime blooming season, height, width and color to ensure season-long color. Mulch new plantings.
Fertilizing and Pruning
» Trees, shrubs, vines and groundcovers can be fed with high-nitrogen fertilizer or compost. For patio pots and container gardens, apply a diluted, water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer once a week.
» Remove old growth from Bermudagrass lawns by lowering mower one or two notches, allowing the grass to spread faster and choke out weeds. Bag the clippings for composting or as mulch.
» Prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines such as flowering quince, azaleas, forsythia, bridal wreath (Spiraea), Lady Banksia rose and Carolina jessamine immediately after they finish blooming.
» If frost or freeze is predicted, cover tender vegetables and annuals with frost cloth. It can make a 6 to 8-degree difference.
» Beware of close-out sales on bare-root trees as survival rate is low when planted this late in the season. Spend a little more on container-grown plants.
» Control black spot, powdery mildew and thrips on roses with an appropriate fungicide or systemic insecticide. Use a stream of water or insecticidal soap on aphids.
» Apply pre-emergent herbicide on lawns to control broadleaf and grassy weeds if needed. A “weed and feed” fertilizer is not recommended because it is too early to fertilize lawns.
» Ellis County Master Gardeners’ Lawn and Garden Expo – March 30th, 2019 The Waxahachie Civic Center will be home to the 19th annual Ellis County Master Gardeners’ Lawn and Garden Expo on Saturday, March 30th. Exhibitors will pack the center with outdoor-living necessities, plants, machinery, yard art and landscape project materials. Shop their exhibits and they will be glad to help with your projects/questions. Adults can also attend sessions on gardening topics, or “Ask The Experts” about specific gardening challenges. The very popular Children’s Gardening Workshop will have numerous interactive displays and take-home projects. And don’t forget the Master Gardener Plant Sale with a variety of plants suited for North Central Texas landscapes. A big “Thank You” to the Expo sponsors and exhibitors for making this event possible.
Tips for APRIL
» Plant warm-season annual flowers. For sun (6+hours per day): angelonias, copper plants, firebush, lantana, moss rose, purslane, pentas, ornamental sweet potatoes and zinnias. For shade (less than 4 hours per day): begonias, coleus, impatiens and perilla. Select short, compact plants.
» Plant okra and southern peas (black- eyed peas, etc). Squash, cucumbers and melons can still be planted.
» Many herbs can also be planted from transplants (dill, parsley, fennel, mint, oregano and thyme).
» Now is the best time to plant Bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass sod. Grade and smooth area prior to installing sod to ensure good soil contact. Keep moist until roots are established.
» Seeded varieties of Bermudagrass may be sown starting mid-month. Keep soil moist until seed germinate and grass has established a good root system.
» Select caladium tubers now, while ample stocks are available, for May planting.
Fertilizing and Planting
» Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to established lawns. Use product containing at least half of its nitrogen in slow-release form.
» Mow common Bermudagrass at 1 1/2 inches and St. Augustine grass at 2 1/2 inches. Frequent mowing with sharp blades will keep an established lawn thick and healthy; but avoid removing more than one-third of the leaf surface each time.
» Fertilize roses every 4 to 6 weeks from now to September. Start with a balanced fertilizer, then apply ammonium sulfate or other high-nitrogen fertilizer as new growth appears, following a flowering cycle.
» Check new plant growth for aphids. A few can be tolerated but large numbers should be controlled. Washing them off with a strong spray of water may be all that is necessary for control.
» Eliminate fire ants in your landscape by broadcasting labeled bait while temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees. If fire ants are still present after using bait, treat the individual mounds with appropriate insecticide. Contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Ellis County at 972-825- 5175 for more information.
» Look for rose rosette disease. New growth on diseased roses exhibit elongated/enlarged canes, reddish leaves and stems, and excessive thorns. Remove and destroy infected plants and roots immediately. There is no proven control for this fatal disease.
» Soil purchased for use in beds, low areas and containers should be examined closely. Nutsedge and other weeds are often brought into the yard through contaminated soil sources.
» Watch newspapers and other media for information regarding wildflower trails, garden tours and plant sales.
» Extreme Flowers – The State Flower of Texas, The Texas Bluebonnet, grows most abundantly right here in Ellis County. In 1997 the State Legislature designated Ennis Texas as the home of the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail and the Official Bluebonnet City. Tens of thousands of visitors make their way to view the 40 miles of driving trails each year. These trails are the oldest known in the state of Texas. The blooms start in late March and usually last through the month of April.