Tips for JULY
» Plant tomatoes and peppers from 4-inch pots. Visit http://aggie-horticulture. tamu.edu/vegetable for recommended varieties.
» Early July is the time to plant small and medium pumpkins for a Halloween harvest.
» Plant heat-tolerant annuals that have been acclimated to hot, sunny conditions. This includes moss rose, purslane, trailing lantana, purple fountain grass, firebush and copper plants.
» Lawn grasses can be planted this month, but you will need to water twice daily for short intervals to keep soil surface moist until the grass has established good roots, usually in two to three weeks.
Fertilizing and Planting
» Fertilize plants that bloom on new growth, such as crape myrtles, tropical hibiscus and roses, with a high-nitrogen fertilizer to promote late-summer growth and fall blooms. Apply same fertilizer to boost summer annuals and fall-flowering perennials.
» Light pruning of erratic spring growth may be done to maintain the natural form. Dead and diseased wood from trees and shrubs should be removed. Major pruning should be postponed until mid- winter.
» Deadhead all blooming plants. Remove dead leaves and spent blooms from
» Be a “plant health” detective! Plants respond in various ways to heat and drought stress. These symptoms are often misdiagnosed as an insect or disease problem. Correctly identify the problem before turning to a pesticide.
» Galls on leaves of oaks, hackberries and other trees are caused by many species of gall-forming insects, and are result of the female stinging the leaf tissues as she lays her eggs. Galls are harmless since the insect doesn’t feed on plant tissues
» Watch for lawn pests. Dry, light-colored areas in sunny parts of St. Augustine are probably the result of chinch bugs (small black insects with a white diamond on their backs). Apply Merit (imidacloprid) or other labeled insecticide. Grub worms are the culprits if the turf turns brown and easily comes up when pulled on. Treat with a granular insecticide.
» Rapid death of established landscape plants and orchard trees during the summer may signify the presence of cotton root rot, a soil-borne fungal disease common in our calcareous clay soils. Since there is no effective control, verification by the Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab at Texas A&M will help you know what plants can be used as replacements.
» Judge watering needs in the morning! High afternoon temperatures leave normally well-hydrated plants lacking sufficient water. If the lawn or plants are still wilted or off color in the morning, watering is required.
» To slow evaporation rates, always water your lawn after 6 PM and before 10 AM. If disease problems are a concern, watering may be delayed until the early morning hours (4 AM-10 AM).
» Drip irrigation and multi-stream rotors are great technologies for reducing water loss to evaporation. Soaker hoses and/ or hand watering also will work in certain situations.
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 Planting
» 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.
» Adjust the height setting on your mower up one or two notches during the heat of the summer. Taller grass will create shade which will reduce evaporation of water from the soil and protect the roots from excessive heat.
» Don’t Bag It – Mulch It! Mulch your grass clippings. It’s an excellent way to recycle nutrients.
» Be sure to provide water for birds, squirrels and other wildlife that may visit your property.