Plant: Plant: For summer color and fall beauty,
plant Texas' tough annuals and heat-loving tropicals in beds and
containers. To brighten a landscape in the heat of the summer,
plant lantana, bougainvillea, mandevilla vine, allamanda, hibiscus,
salvia, periwinkle, marigold, zinnia, portulaca, purslane, copper
plant, and Bush Morning Glory. Start over in the vegetable garden.
The new 'Tomato444' can be used but is not technically a heat-setting
variety so some late cold protection may be required to produce
vine-ripened fruit if unusual weather conditions occur. Diffuse
sunlight on young seedlings and transplants and protect them from
pest damage until well established by using a cloth covering such
as GrowWeb, Plant Shield or Plant Guard. A complete description
about how this is helpful can be found at:
Other popular vegetable crops to plant in August for fall production
are beans, sweet corn, cucumber, eggplant, lima beans, black-eye
peas, peppers, and squash. A complete listing of what to plant
for fall and when to plant it can be found on the website PLANTanswers
Remember when laying new sod, roll the turf to insure good soil-root
contact and water thoroughly on a daily basis until the grass
is established -- in a week or 10 days. Bermuda grass can be seeded
(August is the last chance to plant bermuda grass seed) now; use
some of the hybrid bermuda grass seed such as Sahara or Cheyenne.
Windmill palm, Mexican fan palm and Sabal palm are especially
well-adapted to this area, and now is a good time to plant them.
Palms require warm soil to establish their root systems.
Prune: Roses (except climbing varieties) should
be pruned early August to insure fall bloom. Remove one third
of the bush with old canes, dead canes, spent bloom stems comprising
the majority removed. More about roses and the fall pruning of
roses can be found on the website PLANTanswers at site:
in the "Pruning roses" section under "Steps to
Pruning Roses - Fall"
This will stimulate vigorous new growth and abundant fall blooms.
Keep tree pruning to a minimum during summer especially on oaks.
However, if the weather is hot and dry, oak pruning can be done
without fear of oak wilt disease since disease spores will not
be present. Vigorous-growing shrubs such as pyracantha, photinia,
elaeagnus, privet or ligustrum may need to be pruned regularly
to keep them within bounds. Trim back overgrown or leggy spring"planted
annuals such as petunias and impatiens to encourage new flushes
of growth and renewed flower production. Add two pounds of a slow
release fertilizer such as 19-5-9 per 100 square feet after pruning.
Vigorous growth on hedges of photinia, privet or elaeagnus should
be pruned as needed.
Fertilize: Fertilize hanging baskets and other
containerized plants regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer.
If you failed to make a second application of fertilizer to your
lawn in June and moisture is available, do so now. Use a 3-1-2
or 4-1-2 formula of a slow-release fertilizer such as 19-5-9 or
15-5-10. Water thoroughly after application. Iron deficiency (chlorosis)
can show up in many landscape and garden plants at this time of
year. Look for yellowed leaves with characteristic darker green
veins. Frequent applications of iron sulfate (Copperas) as foliar
or applications to mulching materials may he needed to correct
this deficiency. Green Sand can also be used and is effective.
Lower leaves in the interiors of trees and shrubs may turn yellow
and drop. This is caused by heat and dry weather stress, and is
no cause for alarm.
On the Lookout: Insects to watch for include
white flies, spider mites, webworms, tent caterpillars, aphids
and grasshoppers. Symptoms of chinch bug damage can appear anytime
in healthy St. Augustine lawns. Look for dry, burned-looking patches
in the hottest parts of the lawn. Control with any contact insecticide.
Left unchecked, these sucking insects can destroy large patches
of turf. Abnormal swellings on plant foliage or other plant parts
may be a sign of galls. These are only curiosities, cannot be
prevented and cause serious damage. Trees and shrubs may experience
some leaf drop this time of year, caused by summer's heat and
dry weather stress. There is nothing which can be done except
mulch and hope for cooler weather. Fall webworms may appear on
pecan, mulberry, ash, persimmon, and other trees. The biological
spray Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) provides control but a new,
longer-lasting fungal metabolite is now available. It is an insect
nerve agent named Spinosad and sold as Fertilome Borer, Bagworm,
Leafminer, and Tent Caterpillar Spray (8 Fluid Ounces for $8.98).
It is also labeled for use on fireants. Spinosad is sold as mail-order
from Gardens Alive as Bulls-Eye BioInsecticide.
Odd Jobs: Give special attention to water requirement
of leafy garden plants such as coleus, caladiums and elephant
ears during hot, sunny periods. Mulch heavily. Maintain a heavy
(two to four inches) mulch throughout your landscape and gardens
to reduce water needs and eliminate weeding. Water plants when
needed and not according to the calendar or day of the week. Water
(soak) thoroughly rather than applying frequent light sprinklings.
Install a drip or trickle irrigation system in your vegetable
and flower gardens to make watering more efficient and less time-consuming.
Convert sections of your landscape into low maintenance areas
with "hardscaping" such as bark, gravel and wood decking.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch! For more information about mulching and the
benefits derived from mulching, see the PLANTanswers website at:
· Keep rose bushes cleaned out to help prevent fungus and
· Wash the bottom side of foliage on rose bushes with Liquid
Seaweed or a miticide to keep them fresh and control spider mites.
· Fertilize roses with a complete rose food to help encourage
· Fertilize caladiums with 21-0-0 at the rate of 1/3-1/2
lb. per 100 square feet of bed. Water it in.
· Pick flowers frequently to encourage annuals to flower
· Deadhead spent flowers on annuals and perennials to encourage
· Plant zinnias which are among the easiest annuals to
grow from seed.
· Plant bluebonnet and other spring-flowering wildflowers.
They must germinate in late summer or early fall to develop good
root systems and be ready to grow in spring when the warmer weather
comes. Sow seeds and rake them into a shallow layer of soil. Keep
them moist until they sprout. For additional information, see:
Fruits and Nuts
· Water fruit trees with one inch of water over the drip
line per week until the fruit are harvested.
· Take out the old canes in the blackberries to make way
for the new ones next spring.
Shade Trees and Shrubs
When you prune, take out the dead, damaged or diseased limbs first.
People needs come second or third or fourth or fifth. It's best
to do your pruning in January or February.
· Set your lawnmower height at the highest level while
it's hot. 3 ½ - 4 inches for St. Augustine.
· Only if you can see your footprints in the grass should
you water the lawn. Water deeply.
· If you see dead areas in the St. Augustine, check for
grubs and chinch bugs. To check for grubs, dig a hole a foot square
and about 5-6 inches deep. If you find more than 3 grubs in the
soil, apply an approved insecticide. Chinch bugs like the hottest
part of the yard; like beside driveways and sidewalks. Cut the
top and bottom out of a coffee can. Push it down into the soil
about an inch and then fill it with water. If little bugs float
up, they're usually chinch bugs. Apply an approved insecticide.
· Remove spent tomatoes, beans, and other veggies. They
serve as disease and insect hosts now.
· Prepare for fall gardening. Add about 2-3 inches of compost
and 3-4 pounds (cups) of 19-5-9 slow release fertilizer every
100 square feet to the veggie beds and till in.
· Continue to harvest and enjoy herbs.
Drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and work in the gardens
early in the morning or late in the evening. Take plenty of breaks
and don't get overheated. Just relax and enjoy the fruits of your