Tips for August
» Plant these fall vegetables early in the month: beans, cucumbers and squash. Follow up late in the month with transplants of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Acclimate transplants to full sun before planting. Water immediately after planting.
» Plant bluebonnet and other spring wildflowers starting this month. Select a sunny, well-drained area with minimal vegetation. If planting into existing vegetation, mow area as short as possible; then lightly disturb with a disk or rake. Drag seeded area to ensure good seed-soil contact.
» Plant fall-flowering bulbs such as spider lily, naked lady lily, rain lily, oxblood lily and fall crocus. Place in the ground twice as deep as the diameter of the bulb.
» Dig and divide daffodils, daylilies, iris, liriope, oxalis, and other spring-flowering perennials.
Fertilizing and Pruning
» Caladiums require plenty of water if they are to remain lush and active until fall. Fertilize with 21-0-0 at the rate of 1/3 to 1/2 pound per 100 square feet of bed area and water thoroughly.
» Plants with yellowed leaves and dark green veins may be suffering from iron deficiency. Apply an iron/sulfur product.
» Prune bush roses by removing dead canes and weak, spindly growth. Cut back tall, vigorous bushes to about 30 inches. Then apply a complete fertilizer and water in for beautiful fall blooms.
» Pinch flowers from coleus, basil, mint, caladiums and other plants where flower buds and flowers stop production of new foliage.
» By now you know the real winners and losers in your landscape. Replace the “losers” with a Texas Superstar®. These plants have been tested and proven to be outstanding performers under our growing conditions. Visit Texas Superstar for a list of these amazing stars.
» Control fire ants in your lawn with mound treatments, as opposed to baits, since ants are foraging less now. Organic insecticides such as pyrethrins and spinosad can be sprinkled on or drenched into the mound.
» Continue to follow the “Homeowners Fruit and Nut Spray Schedule” to protect pecan trees against pecan weevils and hickory shuckworms, and to control peach tree borers on peach and plum trees.
» Order spring-flowering bulbs for planting in November and December. Remember ‘biggest is best’ in regard to bulb size. Be aware of “bargain” bulbs as they may be small or of inferior quality.
Extreme Gardening Topics
» Extreme Chemical Usage – In 2001 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans used around 888 million pounds of conventional pesticides. These include: insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and rodenticides. An IPM or Integrated Pest Management system can help reduce the amount of pesticides we use. The goal of IPM is not to eradicate pests, but to eliminate pest problems by strengthening and stabilizing the landscape so that conditions are more favorable for plants than pests. This balance is achieved by employing a combination of practices to prevent or avoid pest problems rather than treating them once they occur. For more information go to Texas IPM Program.
Tips for September
» Plant these fall vegetables now: beets, carrots, “greens” (mustard, collard, turnip), kale, lettuce, radishes and spinach.
» Lawn establishment using warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, St. Augustine, zoysia and buffalograss should be completed early in the month.
» Overseed established Bermudagrass lawns with perennial ryegrass this month, if desired.
» Plant these fall-blooming annuals from bedding plants before buds have opened: marigolds, petunias, asters, pinks, snapdragons and mums. Wait until cooler weather to plant pansies, violas and ornamental cabbages and kale.
» Complete sowing bluebonnets to ensure spring flowers. For season-long color, purchase a wildflower mix that contains annuals and perennials, as well as cool-season and warm-season plants such as bluebonnets, black-eyed Susan, Indian blanket, Indian paintbrush, Mexican hat, plains coreopsis, purple coneflower and evening primrose. Sow seeds in areas that are free of grasses and lightly tilled. Lightly rake the area to get good seed-soil contact before watering.
Fertilizing and Planting
» Apply high-nitrogen fertilizer (4-1-2 ratio) on lawns and shrubs to prepare plants for fall and winter. Container plants will benefit from using high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizers.
» Tidy up summer perennials by removing dead and faded flower stems and seed stalks. Continue through fall.
» Root-prune trees and shrubs to be transplanted this winter. Cutting the roots around the plant with a spade will stimulate new root growth in what will become the soil ball when plant is moved.
» Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to lawns early in the month to control winter weeds. Depending on the type of weed targeted, it may be necessary to apply two products – one for grassy weeds (annual bluegrass, ryegrass, etc.) and another for broadleafed weeds (chickweed, clover, dandelions, henbit, etc.).
» Make final application of Image® or SedgeHammer® before mid-month to control nutsedge in warm-season lawns.
» Remove webworms from pecan trees. Cut off the ends of branches as soon as the webs appear. Tear open large webs to expose worms for the birds. Spraying is not practical.
» Spray roses suffering from black spot and powdery mildew with labeled fungicide.
» Prepare beds for spring-flowering bulbs. Add organic matter to improve water drainage.
Extreme Garden Topics
» Extreme Invasion – Cricket outbreaks are one of the most predictable pest events of the year in most areas of Texas. Known as black field crickets, or just field crickets, outbreaks occur when large numbers of nymphs complete their development and embark on nighttime mating flights.
Tips for September
» Plant cool-season annuals such as pinks, snapdragons and ornamental cabbages and kale early in the month. Wait until temperatures have cooled to plant pansies and violas.
» Complete planting these fall vegetables early in the month: radishes, spinach and turnips.
» Last chance to sow wildflowers in order to have blooms next spring. Always purchase “fresh” seed.
» Purchase spring-flowering bulbs while selection is good. Chill tulip and Dutch hyacinth at 45°F for 60 days prior to planting. Daffodil and grape hyacinth require no special handling but should be stored in a cool location until planting (soil temperature below 55° F). Recommended daffodil varieties include Ice Follies, Fortune, Carlton, Cheerfulness and Tahiti.
» Fall is a great time to set out perennial herbs, including thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, lemon balm, pineapple sage and Mexican mint marigold. Work a few inches of compost into soil prior to planting and mulch the plants after planting.
Fertilizing and Pruning
» Remove annuals that have completed their life cycle. Leave seed pods to self-seed next year (cleome, cosmos, four o’clock).
» Continue to feed tropical plants in containers and hanging baskets with a water-soluble fertilizer. Cut back or repot overgrown houseplants and fertilize with same fertilizer.
» Spring and summer-flowering shrubs and vines (including climbing roses, wisteria, etc.) should not be pruned at this time because they have already established their buds for next year’s bloom. Prune these plants immediately after they stop blooming next year.
» Watch for brown-patch fungus on St. Augustine lawns. Water only in the mornings and apply turf fungicide at first sign of fungus.
» Watch for cutworms and looper caterpillars on young leafy vegetables. Products containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) are safe to control these pests. Control aphids with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap.
» Attention, Christmas cactus owners! To initiate flower buds, give the plants bright light each day followed by 12-14 hours of total darkness at night, for 30 days starting mid-month. And keep night temperatures under 65° F.
» Extreme Trees – Mesquite trees are considered one of the toughest, most invasive species of brush in the world. This thorny and extremely drought tolerant native is considered a weed species by farmers and ranchers.