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52 Weeks of Gardening Series

Gardening To-do Lists by Tom Harris, Ph. D. The Hill Country Gardener


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52 Weeks of Gardening Series

Gardening To-do Lists This book tells you in broad terms what to do in the garden/lawn each month. An interesting guide for the novice and a good reminder for experienced gardeners. Thomas O. Harris, Ph. D. The Hill Country Gardener “Working hard to make gardening easy for you.”

Revised and updated 2011

©Copyright 2011. Reproduction with consent of the author only. 3


A few years ago, I found that I needed to quickly see what was supposed to be done and when it was supposed to be done in my gardening efforts. I started looking at past issues of the San Antonio Gardener newsletter and began compiling what has become a sort of data bank that I can refer to whenever I want. I’ve since gone to numerous sources for the inclusion of information contained in these lists and have been called all kinds of names for collecting the information regardless of how useful it is…names like thief, plagiarist, etc. But that’s OK, because it’s very useful and lots of people have asked for copies of it. And, no, I didn’t discover these things originally, I COMPILED them from many sources, so I guess you’d say that I edited it. Whatever. (I find it interesting that if you copy from one person it’s called plagiarism but if you copy from lots of writers it’s called research? Fascinating!) It’s a compilation of lots of information into as short a space as I can work it and still make sense of it. These monthly to-do lists were compiled over a period of several years. They are broad-brush, kinda-generic, guides to what is supposed to happen during a given month. They've turned out to be very popular and are used in several gardening publications around here and are folded into Dr. Jerry Parson's monthly calendars on plantanswers.com, the biggest horticulture website in the world. If the things you read in here don’t make much sense to you, why don’t you come take one of my gardening classes? Check out page 5 of my website: www.thehillcountrygardener.com to see a complete listing of all the classes and descriptions of the classes. There is room left at the end of each month for notes: so USE IT!

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Enjoy! Table of Contents January…page 7 February…page 11 March…page 15 April…page 19 May…page 23 June…page 27 July…page 31 August…page 35 September…page 39 October…page 43 November…page 47 December…page 51 Index…page 54

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January Birds and Wildlife • Clean out your bluebird, wren, martin, and other birdhouses to get them ready for February. Martin scouts and first-breeding birds of other species will be in town in February. • There are still some hummingbirds around, so keep your feeders in place. 1 part sugar, 4 parts sugar. No coloring needed.

insecticide, be sure to spray the soil under the plants as that is where the eggs will be. • Spring-blooming, pre-chilled bulbs can still be planted if done early in the month. Just remember that tulips are considered annuals in south Texas. In the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, they are perennials. • Be sure to maintain moisture in house plants. Humidity is low inside the house and the plants dry out quickly. Do not place houseplants near a heat source or in a brightsun window. Poinsettias may be placed in sunny locations, however. Be sure to keep them watered. If they drop their leaves due to dryness, they will probably die. • Repot Christmas cactus in a peat moss- or pine bark-based medium. Keep the soil moist but not sloppy wet. • This is the time to move any perennials that are in the wrong place at your house. Before moving, prune them back by about 1/3 to 1/2.

Color • Continue

to care for your pansies, bluebonnets, snapdragons, spring bulbs, dianthus, calendulas and other winter annuals. Don’t over-water bluebonnets. • There is still time to transplant pansies, dianthus, stocks, calendulas and other cool-season annual flowers. Protect small plants against severe cold until they are well established (2-3 weeks). • Side-dress flowering plants with your favorite lawn fertilizer if you haven’t fertilized in the last six weeks. Use one cup of lawn fertilizer or two cups of organic fertilizer per 100 square feet. • Bluebonnets will have an active growth spurt in February and March. Protect them and pansies from slugs and snails with labeled baits or beer traps. • Use water-soluble fertilizers or hibiscus food for bougainvilleas and other plants that are actively growing in the greenhouse. Bougainvilleas will bloom all winter if they are in a greenhouse. Keep watering and fertilizing. • Many tulips, daffodils, paperwhites and other spring bulbs emerge and bloom this month. They benefit from nitrogen fertilization at the rate of two cups of lawn fertilizer or 4 cups of organic fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed. • If the weather is warm, watch for aphids. A strong spray of water gets them off the foliage and flowers. If you use an •

Fruits and Nuts • Apply

dormant oil to control scale and other insects on fruit trees. Wait until the temperature will be at least 70°F for two days following application. Follow the instructions on the label. • January is the second best month to prune trees…February is best. • Bare-root and containerized fruit trees, blackberries and grapes should be selected and planted as soon as possible so they will be well established before spring growth begins. The selection of recommended varieties of fruit and nut trees is critical for long-term success. Ornamentals • Don’t

prune blooms on early-blooming plants like , mountain laurel, flowering peach, ornamental cherry, climbing roses, 7


althea, etc. Wait until after bloom is complete. • Keep your living Christmas tree well watered (once per week) during the establishment period (6-8 months.)

• Don’t

fertilize or use weed-and-feed products. If there is weed growth, mow every 3-4 weeks. • Gradually build up low spots in the lawn with ½-1 inch of compost, sand, or topdressing. Be sure the leaves of the grass stick through the compost so as not to smother the grass. • January is the best month to plant trees but as with fruit and nut trees, selection of adapted species is critical for long-term success. Select trees for permanence and durability, not just for fast growth. • You could still overseed with Elbon rye grass, but it may or may not do well. Depends on how cold it gets after you plant it and before it germinates.

Shade Trees and Shrubs • If

you must prune oak trees, January is a good month to do it. Always paint any wounds bigger than your pinkie immediately after cutting to prevent oak wilt. • January and February are the best months to do any major fruit or ornamental tree and shrub pruning. Prune deciduous trees now while you can see damaged or rubbing limbs, misshaped parts, etc. Do NOT top the trees. • Wait until temperatures are expected to be above freezing for at least 48 hours to apply a dormant oil spray to euonymus, hollies, oaks, pines, pecans, and fruit trees which are prone to scale. • This is an excellent time to plant new shrubs and trees. Dig the hole twice as wide as the pot but no deeper. Dig the hole first and then put the plant in. Water immediately. Remember that many of these plants will be there for years and years so be sure you have it where you want it to be. • Should you need to transplant established trees and shrubs, do so now while they are still dormant and will have sufficient time to re-establish a root system before spring growth begins. Remove at least one-third to one-half of the top growth of bare-root plants (not necessary with container-grown plants) to compensate for roots lost in the transplanting process.

Vegetables • If

you pluck or cut individual leaves from lettuce or spinach, they will continue to produce into late spring. Keep the broccoli, cauliflower, chard and Brussels sprouts harvested (use a sharp knife) to maintain quality and production. • Keep your cauliflower heads bleached by covering them with leaves held in place by a clothes pin or rubber band. • Harvest broccoli heads before the flowers open. • If you notice cabbage loopers in broccoli and other cole crops, use Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) or Spinosad. • String-mow your Elbon rye and vetch and till it into the garden at the end of January. • By the end of the month, thin onions you planted in October so that plants are 6-8 inches apart. This will allow maximum bulbs to develop. • Side dress actively growing vegetables at the rate of one cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer or two cups organic fertilizer per 10 feet of row. Use two cups for leafy vegetables and onions. • It’s time to buy tomato and pepper seeds if you have a greenhouse. Transplants won’t be available for a few weeks yet.

Turf Grass • If

you don’t receive an inch of rain, water the lawn, ½ inch every 2-3 weeks is enough. Buffalo, zoysia and Bermuda grasses are dormant—don’t water them. • It’s a good time to aerate with the plugcutter type and then top dress with a halfinch of compost. 8


• You

may want to plant some potatoes this month. Dig a trench about a foot deep and place potato pieces with one or more eyes every foot. Fill the trench half way with good, loose soil and keep filling as the stems

emerge leaving about 2 inches above the soil. Fill until the soil is level again. • After mid-month, begin planting transplants of asparagus, cabbage, leeks, onions and shallots

NOTES: An example might be to write down how much it rains on which day each month and keep a running total. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________

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February February can still bring bitterly cold weather and freezes. Be very careful about planting perennials at this time. Plant seeds in protected areas either inside a green house or maybe in a bed outside. If you plant seeds outside and severe weather is predicted, try to water all the plants in the yard and be sure to cover the newly emerged plants with old sheets or commercial row-cover of some type. However, it’s a great time to start planning those new beds you thought about last year. I hope you made a few notes about that. There are usually very few pest or disease problems this time of year. Continue to pull weeds as they emerge. Arm-chair gardening now will pay off well next June/July. Birds and Wildlife goldfinches are beginning to show color and seeds are sparse in the field, encouraging the seed-eaters to frequent your feeders. • The cedar waxwings will join the mockingbirds and other fruit-eaters in cleaning up the last of your yaupon holly, nandinas, and pyracantha berries.

• It’s

best to plant spring blooming bulbs early in the month so that they finish blooming before the weather gets hot. There is still time to plant them if you purchased pre-chilled bulbs. Be sure to water in all new plants.

Color

• Pruning

• The

Fruits and Nuts is the key activity for fruit trees. The trees need to be opened up to allow sun, air, and pesticides to penetrate. Use thinning cuts (whole branch) rather than hedging cuts (mid-branch)…peaches and plums to an open vase shape, apples and pears to a modified central leader shape.

• Mid-February

is rose-pruning time (Valentine’s Day—remember?) Leave 4-5 pencil-width stems arranged around an open center. Reduce height to approximately 2436 inches. Begin your insecticide and fungicide weekly sprays if your roses are prone to black spots and bugs. Fertilize with rose food or slow-release lawn fertilizer. This is also the time to plant new roses or move old ones to new locations where they can be appreciated more. • Do not cut back the daffodils until the leaves turn brown. It doesn’t matter with tulips; they are an annual in the San Antonio area. • Divide summer-, fall-blooming perennials, including cannas, mallows, fall asters, mums, coneflowers, and perennial salvias before growth begins. • Pansies are heavy feeders. If your pansies are still blooming, be sure to fertilize with your favorite fertilizer about every 2-3 weeks.

Ornamentals • Fertilize

winter bedding plants such as pansies, snapdragons, calendulas, dianthus with a slow-release lawn fertilizer at the rate of 1 pound per 10 square feet of bed area. • Water indoor plants only when they need it. Test by sticking your finger into the soil. If it’s moist, don’t water; if it’s dry, water. Use water-soluble fertilizer for indoor plants. • Go ahead and cut back ornamental grasses that froze. Shade Trees and Shrubs

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• February

is the ideal time to fertilize healthy trees. A simple calculation is based on trunk diameter - use one pound of a high nitrogen fertilizer (slow-release type such as 19-5-9) per inch diameter of tree trunk… measure the distance around the tree about 4 feet above the ground and divide by 3. Spread the fertilizer evenly throughout under the canopy of the tree. Fertilize evergreen trees, such as live oak, at the rate of 1-3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of root area. Fertilize deciduous trees (oaks, cypress) at the rate of 6-8 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. • This is a good month to plant trees and shrubs. Fall and winter are better, but February still gives the root systems time to become established before the stress of summer sets in. Dig the hole as deep as the container and 2-3 times as wide. Add back the native soil and cover with 3 inches of mulch leaving a 6” clearance around the trunk. Consider cedar elm, Chinese pistache, bur oaks, Montezuma cypress, Arizona cypress, Monterrey oak, and desert willow for planting. Water deeply once per week. • Prune trees and shrubs this month. Paint wounds larger than ¾ inch on oaks only. • Use oak leaves for mulch in the gardens or add them to the compost pile. • Use Bt or Spinosad to control caterpillars on mountain laurel. • Remove browned tissues from Asian jasmine, liriope and mondograss. Reshape lanky nandinas by pruning the tallest one-third of canes back to within 2 inches of the ground. New shoots (with new leaves) will fill in from beneath. • Wait for a time period that will ensure temperatures above freezing for at least 48 hours to apply a dormant oil spray to euonymus, hollies, oaks, pines, pecans, and fruit trees which are prone to scale. To prevent damage, cover any actively growing flowering annuals or overseeded lawn areas to avoid contact with the dormant oil spray. Follow label directions carefully to ensure good results without damage.

• Prune

fruit trees just before bud-break. Remember that peaches and plums need to be an open-bowl shape after pruning. • Remove any bagworm pouches you find and either burn them or throw them in the trash. Turf Grass • There

is a lot to do for your lawn, but fertilizing is not one of them. Wait until April or May. Don’t use weed-and-feed products. All that is growing now is the weeds and there is no need to fertilize them, is there? Grass is still dormant. Don’t waste water and fertilizer. You can, however, still aerate and top-dress. Spring weather and fall fertilization determine when grass greens up in the spring, not excessive watering or spring fertilization. • This is a good month to apply preemergent herbicides to prevent warm weather weeds. • "Scalp" the lawn late in the month to remove winter-killed stubble. Set the mower down one or two notches. • Apply broadleaf weed killer on warm days to eliminate henbit, chickweed, dandelions, clover and non-grassy weeds. Vegetables • “Pot-up”

your tomatoes and peppers into 1-gallon pots to maximize growth before stable weather arrives. For tomatoes, the "hot" named tomatoes do well in this area. Move the plants into cover if cold weather is predicted. Plant the potted-up plants in April. • Plant radishes, spinach, beets, carrots, and onion sets this month. • Perk up your garden with the addition of rotted manure or compost. Two to four inches spread over the surface and tilled to a depth of 8-12 inches will improve the spring garden. • February is the month to begin spring gardens with crops such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower (transplants only), Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, 12


lettuce (leafy), mustard, Irish potatoes, radish, and turnip. • Use disease-free transplants of recommended short-day onion varieties such as 1015Y, Granex (Vidalia) and Grano. Onion transplants can be mail-ordered from http://dixondalefarms.com if plants cannot be found in local nurseries. Use a

pre-planting application of a slow-release fertilizer at the rate of 2-3 pounds per 100 square feet of planting area. • If you decide to plant a few tomatoes in the ground this month, don’t plant all of them. Save a few in case a “blue-norther” blows through and kills those in the ground.

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March March is a major gardening month in our area. The weather stabilizes and by the end of the month it is warm enough to consider planting warm season plants. The last average freeze date occurs during mid-month. Make lots of notes about what happens this month. New bedding plants should be planted this month before the weather gets hot. Birds and Wildlife

• The

bluebonnets should begin flowering this month after a major growth of the foliage. Do not over-water them as they are xeriscape-type plants. • Cross vines put on a spectacular show this month, but “Texas Gold” columbines are even more impressive, especially when fertilized frequently. If you buy one, be sure it says “Texas Gold” on the tag in the pot. • Keep up the spray regimen with roses… Orthene and Funginex are the favorites. Fertilize with rose food every 4-8 weeks according to the label instructions. Select old-fashioned rose varieties if you want plants that are easy to care for…they grow well in our soils. • Fertilize the cool-season flowers one more time early this month. • Other wildflowers will begin blooming this month. Remember, they must be allowed to mature their seeds if you want more new plants next year; that means they’re going to be brown and ugly before the seeds are mature. • Plant hibiscus, bougainvillea, mandevilla and allemanda vines in containers for tropical landscape color. • Impatiens, fibrous begonias and coleus are summertime favorites for shade. In areas where space is limited, plant your favorite flowers and vegetables in containers or hanging baskets. • Perennials which can be planted now include perennial phlox such as ‘John Fanick’ and ‘Victoria’, iris and daylilies. • Be on the lookout for a spectacular spring wildflower display. The spring months in South central Texas are perhaps best known for their Indian paintbrush, mountain laurel, winecup, pink evening primrose, prairie

• Later

this month, we may see the first hummingbirds. They will seek out the cross vine, columbines, salvia and honeysuckle. This can be one of the best months at your feeders if you put them up this month. Black chin, ruby-throats and rufous hummingbirds will show up sometime during the month. • Thistle or hulled sunflower seeds attract the goldfinch flocks that linger until May. Seeds are still scarce this month. Cardinals and purple finches are active and the doves show up at the feeder. • Purple martins will be settling in this month. Be sure your houses are cleaned, raised, and placed at least 25 feet away from trees to allow a clear flight path to the house. Color • You can cut tulip foliage down as soon as it is unattractive because they won’t come back. On daffodils, Dutch iris and other low-chill bulbs, however, leave the foliage until it turns brown. The green leaves are replenishing the bulbs for next year’s blooms. • Fall-planted pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, stocks, alyssum and larkspur are spectacular this month. • Containerized plants can still be put in the landscape this month. • It is not too late to plant daylilies and irises if they are well rooted in containers. • March is great geranium month. Use them in morning sun locations. • If the weather is warm after the 15th, consider moving the bougainvillea, plumeria, and hibiscus on to the patio. 15


verbena, horsemint and, of course, the bluebonnets. • Make some notes about which ones you’d like next year. • Fertilize established perennials this month. Use your favorite fertilizer according to the directions on the package. • Be sure to fertilize the roses this month. They will be putting on a major flush of new growth now and need lots of nitrogen to do that.

Shasta daisy. Repot overgrown, root-bound pot plants. Keep plants in light shade until re-established. Shade Trees and Shrubs • Be

careful not to get lawn herbicides too close to trees. Weed-and-feed type fertilizers are notorious for killing young shade trees. • If you plant container-grown trees this month, be sure to make a 6-8 ft. circle around the tree for mulch which will keep the grass at bay. Do not add organic material to the planting hole. The tree needs to root in the soil in which it will live the rest of its life. • Paint all wounds on oak trees immediately to prevent oak wilt. • Ball moss is not a parasite on oak trees, but if you don’t like the looks of it, spray copper hydroxide (Kocide) or a 3 percent solution of agricultural baking soda this month. • If you see army worms or leaf rollers on your oak trees, apply Bt, Spinosad, or Malathion quickly once they appear. • Fertilize trees early this month if you missed it last month. Use one lb. (2 cups) slow-release lawn fertilizer per inch of diameter spread throughout the drip line or place in aeration holes spread throughout the drip area of the canopy. • Finish any pruning except for the early bloomers such as climbing roses, mountain laurel and ornamental fruits. Prune them after they lose the major flush of blooms. • Check mountain laurels for worms. Use Bt or Spinosad to control them. • Live oak trees are called “evergreen” but they actually drop their leaves in lateFebruary or early March. Almost immediately new leaves emerge. • Cross vines put on a spectacular show this month, but “Texas Gold” columbines are even more impressive, especially when fertilized frequently. If you buy one, be sure it says “Texas Gold” on the tag in the pot. • Keep up the spray regimen with roses… Orthene and Funginex are the favorites. Fertilize with rose food every 4-8 weeks

Fruits and Nuts • You

can spray fungicides while the trees are in bloom, but not insecticides. The bees are still pollinating your fruit trees and are susceptible to the sprays. • It is not too late to spray dormant oil on the trunks of pecans to control phylloxera. Also apply one cup of slow release lawn fertilizer per inch of trunk diameter. Spread thinly throughout the drip line so as not to burn the grass and use a chelated zinc product such as Pecan King. • When peaches are the size of a dime, thin them to one fruit every 6-8 inches of stem. If you don’t thin, you will have a tree full of small fruit and broken branches. • You can still plant the thornless Navajo blackberry. The fruit is as large as Brazos and Roseborough, is sweeter and ripens in late June and early July. Keep in mind that late fruits need irrigation to produce large fruit. Ornamentals • Orchids inside the house will put on a spurt of growth this month. Be sure to fertilize with an orchid-fertilizer every time you water and place them in a bright location. • Use a pre-plant application of a slow-release fertilizer analysis such as 19-59 at the rate of 2-3 pounds per 100 square feet of garden planting area. Early March is the ideal time to fertilize landscape plants because you give them food just before the spring growing season starts. • March also is a good time to divide and transplant mums, ajuga, liriope, daylily and 16


according to the label instructions. Select old-fashioned rose varieties if you want plants that are easy to care for…they grow well in our soils. • Spring-flowering trees such as Bradford pear and redbud usually bloom in early spring.

such as English or Algerian ivy, Asian jasmine, or mondograss. • Establish or renovate the lawn as needed. Re-sod or replant with turf grasses adapted to this part of Texas and suited to the planting location (shade or sun). Vegetables

Turf Grass • Put

the containerized tomatoes in the ground towards the end of the month. Save some for April planting and a few for May in case of weather problems. • Don’t forget to keep onions and cole crops well fertilized with one cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 10 feet of row this month. Thin out the onions to 6 inches apart. Use the thinned ones for green onions. • March is a month to plant the gardener's favorite vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet corn, snap beans and peppers as well as cucumbers, lima or butter beans, cantaloupe, okra (if the soil has warmed sufficiently--70 degrees F. or higher), southern peas, pumpkin, squash, peanuts and watermelon. • The last frost of spring may have already occurred but even if it doesn't frost the wind WILL blow. Protect tender transplants and seedlings with Grow-Web (Plant Guard, ReeMay, Plant Shield) for wind protection, insect avoidance and unexpected cold (3-5 degrees cold protection). • Rather than planting a whole package of veggie seeds, plant only the number you want or can eat and save the rest in the fridge for staggered planting. Put seeds in sealable bags so they don’t attract moisture. Plant the seeds the distance apart that it says to “thin to” on the back of the package— usually 2-6 inches. Plant seeds no deeper than the largest dimension of the seed; i.e., beans can be planted about 1/2“ while radishes can only be planted about 1/16” deep. • Harvest cool season veggies as soon as they’re big enough to eat. Raishes – 1”, carrots – 1”, turnips – 2”, beets – 3 “. Broccoli – when the flowers are about the size of a match head. Lettuce and spinach – when the leaves are big enough to eat. Cut the outside leaves first and leave the rest to re-sprout later. • It’s

still too early to fertilize the lawn. It may begin to green up, but the root systems are not fully active until warmer weather arrives. Any greening that occurs this month is due to fall fertilization. Do not use “weed-and-feed” type products. They only encourage weeds to grow more vigorously. Wait until at least next month to fertilize. • March is a good month for aeration and adding a half-inch of compost as a soil dressing if you haven’t done so in two years. • Apply pre-emergent broad-leaf herbicides like Amaze, Balan or Betasan if you didn’t apply them last month. Read the labels carefully and be sure your weeds are listed. The weeds that are already up may be killed by the coming heat or with contact herbicides like MSMA or glyphosate. Follow instructions on the label carefully. • Mow your Asiatic jasmine at the highest level on your mower to encourage a new growth of leaves. This is a good month to plant ground covers. • It’s too early to seed a Bermuda lawn; seed will not germinate until late April or early May. • You may start mowing grass this month. Tune up the lawnmower (or have it done) and be sure the blade is very sharp. Remember that dull blades tear the grass, sharp ones cut it. • Check out the automatic lawn sprinkler system for leaks, broken pipes or heads, or wasteful misting. • In heavily shaded parts of the landscape where grass is difficult to maintain, choose one of the well-adapted groundcover plants

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April 18


April can definitely feel like summer with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, but that’s not summer in south Texas. That makes April a great time to do that last minute planting you didn’t finish last month. Don’t forget to put some flowering vines in pots where they can put on a great show on the patio for you. Drive around the neighborhood and see what looks good and what the neighbors are doing in their gardens and beds. Also check out the nurseries; their summer stock is arriving. Be sure to make some notes about what you see there as well as what’s happening at home. Be careful about the plants on sale—there’s a reason they’re on sale. Birds and Wildlife

annual color can be planted using trailing lantanas, cosmos, zinnias, firebush, copper

• If

blackbirds and English sparrows are dominating your feeders, switch to pure sunflower seeds. Orange halves may attract orioles and butterflies. • Supplement your hummingbird-friendly plants with sugar-water feeders. Use one part sugar and four parts water by volume. You do not need to boil the water or use food coloring, but neither hurts the birds.

plant, moss rose (portulaca), purslane, Dahlberg daisy, purple fountain grass, bachelor buttons and pentas for the sunny locations. For shade areas choose from begonias, impatiens, caladiums, coleus and pentas. • Watch the containerized plants closely. They can dry out quickly in the warmer weather. • Remember that perennials grow considerably larger than they are in the pot you bought. Be sure to leave plenty of space between them. Read the label. It’s on there. • Water containerized plants when they need it, not necessarily on some arbitrary schedule. Stick your finger into the soil in the pot. If it’s dry, water. If it’s moist, don’t. • Be sure the roses get fertilized this month if you didn’t do it last month. This is their best growing season.

Color • The

weather in April is usually stable enough that you can plant warm weather bedding plants such as lantanas, begonias, firebush, impatiens, portulaca, coleus and zinnias. Wait on periwinkles until late May. • Try to resist the cool season plants that are on sale at the nurseries. That’s why they’re on sale—the season is over. • Maintain your spray program for modern roses. • If you want to collect the bluebonnet seeds, wait until the pods are full size and some browning shows. Collect the whole plant and hang it upside down to dry before shelling the pods. • Let your bougainvillea get root bound and stressed between waterings for best blooms. • Hibiscus food works well for containergrown hibiscus plants or use a soluble fertilizer when you water. They are full-sun plants. • Plant hibiscus, bougainvillea, mandevilla and allamanda vines in containers for tropical landscape color. Warm-season

Fruits and Nuts • There

is still time to thin late-season peaches, apples and plums. Thin to one fruit per 6-8 inches of stem. Yes, it’s hard to do but must be done in order to produce large, blemish-free fruit. • Do not fertilize fruit trees after they have bloomed and set fruit. They are prone to move into a vegetative state and neglect fruit development. • Fertilize pecan trees in early April with 210-0 (1 lb. per inch of trunk diameter) to encourage good nut production. Apply thinly throughout the drip line so you don’t burn your grass. 19


• Webworms,

army worms, and oak leaf rollers show up in April. Control them with Bt or Spinosad. Remember to get the Bt or Spinosad on the leaves surrounding the nest as the worms must eat it in order for it to be effective. • Fruit trees must be sprayed with an insecticide every week to ten days to keep most of the fruit blemish free. The traditional sprays are Malathion and carbaryl for insects and Captan and benomyl for fungus. Organic gardeners use Neem oil and sulphur.

Shade Trees and Shrubs • Do

not prune oak trees now. It’s too late. This is prime oak wilt season. If you make any kind of wound from a trimmer or mower on an oak tree, paint it quickly with some type of latex paint. • You can still plant new shrubs and trees this month if they are container-grown. Use generous amounts of mulch on the surface over the roots and water as the soil dries… usually about once per week through the hot summer. • In heavily shaded parts of the landscape where grass is difficult to maintain, choose one of the well-adapted groundcover plants such as English or Algerian ivy, Asian jasmine, or mondograss. • Prune pillar or climbing roses, wisteria, and Carolina jesamine as soon as they have finished flowering. Vigorous growing landscape shrubs will need frequent pruning. These include eleagnus, pyracantha, ligustrum and photinia. As spring-flowering shrubs (spiraea, quince and Indian Hawthorne) complete their blooming, do any necessary pruning. Prune to retain the natural shape of the plant. • If you’re still fighting a bush that wants to get too big for that spot, now would be a good time to move it—after it finishes blooming. Get as much of the root ball as you can. Water immediately and add root stimulator when you plant. • It’s too late to plant trees now—even containerized ones. They won’t be able to handle the heat of the summer. • It’s OK to prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees if they have finished blooming; but don’t prune just to be pruning. Have a good reason; otherwise don’t do it.

Ornamentals • Remove

the pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, calendulas, kale and other winter plants when they get ragged. • If you want to repot some plants, remove the root ball from the container and cut a 1 inch strip of soil and roots from it. Put the root ball back in the container and fill the new space at the edge with high quality potting soil or compost. • Plant caladium tubers after mid-month. Caladiums are tropical in origin and won't grow well until the soil temperature is warm. • Impatiens, fibrous begonias and coleus are summertime favorites for shade. • There may still be time to plant some spring-blooming bulbs. Check the local nurseries and ask whether or not their bulbs have been chilled for 6-8 weeks. If yes, then you might be able to plant them early in the month and still get some blooms. Buy only bulbs that are firm and/or hard. Soft bulbs are not good any more. • Do not remove the leaves of springflowering bulbs until they start to turn yellow or brown. They’re feeding the bulbs while they’re green. • Don’t place plants that have been indoors all winter into direct sunlight when moving them outside. They might sunburn—just like you. Acclimate them a little at a time. • If you have ornamental grasses in the landscape, this is the time to divide and transplant them.

Turf Grass • Does

the lawn need some “fixing”? If so, determine first what caused it. Too much shade? Is it a fungal problem? Fix the 20


problem and not the symptoms. Check with the Agriculture Extension Office—they have lots of help for you. • Replace any dead grass with the same kind of grass. It’s not a good idea to mix grass varieties. • Fertilize your lawn after the second or third “real” mowing. A “real” mowing is when you are cutting lawn grass and not winter weeds. • Use a slow-release lawn fertilizer with a ratio of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 NPK—Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K)—for example, 18-6-12, 19-5-9, 20-6-12. Slow release fertilizers are best because they feed throughout the growing season and do not leach (wash) into the ground water. Apply about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn…note that it’s 1 pound of nitrogen, not just one pound of fertilizer. Figure it out. This means that, if you’re using a fertilizer that is 19 or 20 percent nitrogen, it’ll take about 8 pounds of it per 1,000 square feet. If you use organic fertilizer, use about twice as much. • Do not fertilize the grass by handspreading. Use a mechanical fertilizer spreader. It spreads the fertilizer more evenly. Follow the label directions. • Mow St. Augustine grass at 3 inches, Zoysia at 2 inches and Bermuda at 1½ inches, and Buffalo at 4-5 inches. Mow when the grass is 1/3 higher than the recommended height. Never cut off more than 1/3 the height of the blades of grass. • Don’t start the automatic sprinkler system unless we haven’t had rain for at least 2 weeks. • If your St. Augustine is a little chlorotic (yellow), try six tablespoons of iron sulfate dissolved in one gallon of water used as a spray. It’s not a cure-all, just a quick pickerupper. Green sand is a long term solution. • Weeds can literally take over a lawn this month if they are not controlled. Frequent close mowings, hand-pulling or the use of an herbicide usually provide adequate control. To control weeds in Bermuda grass, use MSMA or DSMA after as temperatures have risen above 70 degrees F. For weed control

in St. Augustine, use Greenlight Wipe-Out or Ortho Weed-B-Gone for southern grasses. Do not mow before or for 2 days after you apply the treatment. To control nut-grass or nutsedge, use Manage or Image. Read and follow label instructions BEFORE the applications are made. Vegetables • April

is a month to plant the gardener's favorite vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet corn and snap beans and peppers. You can plant cucumbers, lima or butter beans, cantaloupe, okra, southern peas, pumpkin, squash, peanuts and watermelon. Protect tender transplants and seedlings with Grow-Web (Plant Guard, ReeMay, Plant Shield) for wind protection, insect avoidance and unexpected cold (3-5 degree cold protection). • Don’t forget to journal what, when, and where you plant what so you’ll know next time. • Side-dress the tomatoes and peppers with half a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer when the first fruit sets. Tomato hornworms can be controlled with Bt or Spinosad. • Plant eggplant, green beans, sweet corn, radishes, and carrots later in the month. • Mulch around all the veggies with leaves, straw, or hay to a depth of 3-4 inches to deter weeds and keep the soil from drying out. • Harvest potatoes any time after they start blooming. If the weather is wet, do not leave them in the ground or the tubers will rot. To get larger potatoes, leave the plants in the ground and when you're ready to get some, dig around with your hand in the soil to find the big ones. Pull them off and leave the others. • Aphids’ populations can become excessive on new growth of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals----especially oaks, roses and tomatoes. Control with any contact, general-purpose insecticide, although Carbaryl is not effective against aphids. • Snails, slugs and pillbugs can devour the tender growth of young plants. Lightly dust 21


young plants and the area directly adjacent to the plants with an insecticidal dust. Snails and slugs can also be controlled with baits or beer traps. (Note: they like Budweiser best.) • Fire ants can eat young plants, especially tomatoes and eggplant. Use the two-step approach: treatments of visible mounds and area-wide bait applications. Foliage can be devoured by looping (bodies loop as they crawl) caterpillars of all types. The biological worm spray containing Bacillus thuringiensis (also known as Bt) is one reliable control; Spinosad is another. Use two teaspoons of a liquid dish-washing detergent (Joy, Ivory Liquid, etc.) per gallon of spray to help cause a uniform wetting of

the sprayed surface. Remember that the worms have to eat the Bt or Spinosad for it to work; so be sure to spray the entire plant. • Thinning vegetables is one of the most important follow-up activities in gardening. Most gardeners use more seed than necessary for a healthy plant stand. Having too many plants in an area is just as bad, if not worse, than having too few. Thin with scissors according to the directions on the seed package. • Use drip irrigation on veggies…either in beds or containers. Only the roots get wet. Drip irrigation is exempt from the first three stages of water restrictions. Add batterypowered timers to drip systems to make them automatic. Win-win.

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22


May May is typically the month when the heat really starts going up. What this means is that working outside is going to be more difficult as time goes on. Keeping oneself hydrated will become more and more of a problem. If you start to get a little dizzy while working outside, stop immediately and seek shade and water. This, of course, is just practice for what’s coming in the next few months. Take some notes on which plants are doing well now and why, in your opinion, that is happening now. Birds and Wildlife

• Let

your wildflowers go to seed before mowing. • Flower seeds that may be sown directly in the warm soil include amaranthus, celosia, morning glory, sunflowers and zinnias. • Plant hibiscus, bougainvillea or mandevilla vines in containers for tropical landscape color. • Fertilize container plants and hanging basket plants on a regular basis with a water-soluble fertilizer product and be sure that a slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote has been mixed into the potting medium at the label-recommended amount. • Adding about a teaspoon of slow-release lawn fertilizer (19-5-9) to planting holes for summer-flowering plants will last the whole season. • Drip irrigation is the most effective and efficient way to water gardens and beds when the heat arrives. • Keep notes on which roses do the best in your yard. Do not transplant roses at this time. • Climbing roses need support on a trellis. They cannot attach themselves. • Fertilize roses regularly (4-6 week intervals) for outstanding blooms.

• The

purple martins are already finishing up breeding for the year. They will hang around for a month or two more but do not breed in mid-summer. Once they move on, lower the martin house to prevent several more generations of English sparrows and starlings. • Change your hummingbird feeder sugar water every week when the warm weather arrives. Color • The

winter-color plants are usually dead or dying by this time, so plan on replacing them with summer color or perennials. • Get the begonias and impatiens in quickly if you expect them to fare well when the heat arrives. Wait to mid-month to plant periwinkles. Do not water overhead. • Mandevilla, bougainvillea and Chinese hibiscus are great patio plants. • Deadhead (pinch/cut off) spent flowers from perennial blooming plants to encourage more blooms. • Hot weather plants include firebush, lantana, poinciana, Esperanza, firespike, caladium, coleus, begonia, moss rose, hibiscus, bougainvillea, purslane, cannas and blue princess verbena. • As the weather gets warmer, regular fertilizing of your pot plants with a water soluble product will bring rich color to your environment. • Roses should be blooming with color. Continue to fertilize them for continued blooming.

Fruits and Nuts • Peaches

are ready to harvest when the base color changes from green to yellow. • This is the month for pecan case bearer. On or about May 15, apply Lorsban or Malathion to reduce case bearer damage to your pecans. • Pick peaches, apples and plums as soon as they ripen (turn from green to yellow). 23


• Keep

suckers pruned off your fruit trees— they come from the root stock and will take over if unattended. • Keep fruit trees well watered as long as there is fruit on the tree.

sap carriers are active. If you must prune, be sure to paint with a latex-based paint immediately after cutting. • If you have red-tipped photinias and the leaves are getting black spots, remove the leaves with the black spots and throw them in the trash. Don’t burn them or put them in the compost pile. • Be careful with the weed-eater around young trees. One trip around the bark at the base could kill it. • Summer weight oil does a good job of temporarily controlling scale on euonymus and other shrubs. Follow the instructions carefully. • If your red-tip photinias require constant pruning, consider replacing them with holly, nandina, xylosma, eleagnus, or pyracantha. • Leaf miners make translucent trails in the leaves of Texas red oak and other plants. They can be controlled early with Bt or Spinosad, but usually are not a major problem. • This is not a good month to plant shrubs. It’s too hot now. • Remove any branches of shrubs and trees that are hanging over sidewalks or parking areas. You do not need to paint any cuts except those on OAK trees.

Ornamentals • Control

army worms and web worms with Bt, Spinosad, or Malathion. They must be applied to areas where worms are feeding. • If you collected bluebonnet seeds, hold them in paper bags until September. • Firebush for full sun and firespike for full shade are two of the best hummingbird plants. Hibiscus, cigar plant, dwarf Chinese trumpet creeper, lantana, and firebush on the patio will bring hummingbirds in close for observation. • Caladium corms are to be planted now. Wait until the soil warms and night temperatures are above 70 F. Caladiums prefer a loose, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. They thrive in shade with dappled light, and their colors of green-white, green-pink or green-red fit into almost any landscape. • If the leaves on some of the earlyblooming bulbs are starting to turn yellow, it’s time to remove them. If they’re still green, however, leave them—they’re feeding the bulb for next year. • Gingers and cannas should be in bloom this month. • This is the time to move the houseplants back outside. If they are crowded in the pots they may need dividing. Take them out, break them apart, repot half of them in good quality potting soil. Give the rest to neighbors and friends. Don’t water houseplants on a regular schedule. They need air in the soil and too much water prevents that.

Turf Grass • May

is the best month for starting a new lawn in the San Antonio area. Our recommended grass varieties respond well to the warm weather and there is time for it to get established before the summer drought. • Don’t bag lawn clippings. Let them fall to the soil to compost and return nutrients to the roots of the grass. • May is the only month to fertilize buffalo grass and only every other year. • If you’re starting a new Bermuda grass lawn, use 2-3 lbs. of seed per 1,000 sq. ft. on well-prepared soil and water twice a day. It will be up in 3-4 days and need mowing in about 3 weeks. • Your St. Augustine grass will fill in drought-killed areas quickly if you can water

Shade Trees and Shrubs • This

is NOT a good month to prune oak trees. The oak wilt fungal spores and beetle 24


regularly. Water when the grass doesn’t spring back in your footprints after you walk across it. • Place several tuna or cat food cans around the lawn and measure how long it takes the sprinklers to put 1/4 inch in the cans. That tells you how long you set the timer on the sprinkler system. Usually, a properly maintained system will put out ¾ inch in a few minutes. Running your system for this period of time is all that is necessary to maintain a nice, green lawn. Train your lawn to be drought resistant by only watering when the grass needs it and then water deeply. The equivalent of ¾ inch of rain per week is all that is necessary to keep St. Augustine grass healthy. • If you didn’t get the lawn fertilized in April, there’s still time if you do it early this month. • Yellowing grass leaves with darker green veins signals symptoms of iron deficiency that is common in alkaline soils. Apply iron sulfate (Copperas) onto mulches or decomposing organic material (compost) to make a slow-release, chelated product. Use 6 tablespoons per gallon and apply with a pump-up sprayer. Green sand is a long-term solution.

bloom) and, consequently, few fruit. Okra, Southern peas and eggplants will continue to set fruit in the summer. • Tomatoes are ready to pick when they change from green to green-white color. For maximum production, pick them at this stage and let them ripen to a red color on the kitchen counter. • Keep the tomatoes well watered and mulched to avoid blossom-end rot. Avoid watering the leaves by watering only the soil underneath. • Side dress vegetables with 1 cup slow release lawn fertilizer (2 cups of organic fertilizer) per 10 feet of row every 6 weeks. • Harvest, harvest, harvest. If you don’t, production will slow or stop. Pick tomatoes when they turn from full-green to a greenish-white color. Put them on the kitchen counter and they will finish ripening there. Pick green beans while they’re straight and not lumpy. Pick cucumbers and squash daily. If they get very big they go to seed and stop producing. Pick bell peppers when they have 3-4 lobes on the bottom and appear to be filled out completely. Leaving them on the bush will allow them to go to yellow and then red. Watermelons are ripe when the bottom changes from white to yellow. Cantaloupes are ripe when the netting is complete, they are a “cantaloupe” orange color, and they have a great cantaloupe aroma when you get close. Cut okra when the pods are about 2-3 inches long. Eggplant goes from shiny to dull when ripe. • Onions are ready to harvest when the green tops fall over. Pull them up and let them dry on the garden surface for two days before collecting them. • Drought-stressed vegetables are more susceptible to disease and bug problems. Water deeply and wet only the soil around the base of the plants. Avoid wetting the foliage. • Side-dress veggies about every 3-4 weeks with your favorite fertilizer—about one cup per 10 feet of row.

Vegetables • Be sure to use the recommended veggie varieties for your beds this year. Your chances for success go way up if you do. If you can’t find a list, write me at gardener@gvtc.com and I’ll send you the latest list. • Fruit set of many vegetables are sensitive to high temperatures, so plant okra, Southern peas, peanuts, sweet corn, watermelons, cucumbers, squash, cantaloupes and eggplant during the first part of May for best results. High temperatures, both day and night, interfere with pollination and fruit set in many vegetables. Snap beans tend to drop their flowers readily under these conditions. Squash has a tendency to produce a large number of male flowers (the ones without the small fruit attached at the base of the 25


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June June is one of those months that it gets mighty hot in south Texas. If you plan to work outside, work early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid that brutal sunshine. Be sure to keep plenty of water on hand to hydrate yourself. Falling over from heat exhaustion just isn’t fun. 26


You know? Remember that hanging baskets and containers of all kinds can add lots of color to the areas in the yard you visit most. Be sure to keep some notes and pictures or videos of which plants are doing well this month in case you have to replace them next year. Also, if you didn’t get all your veggies planted by now, there is still time to plant some—but not many, it’s too hot… check the list. Rainfall this month can be very unreliable. This would be a good time to install that drip irrigation system you’ve been thinking about. Adding a battery-powered timer makes it automatic…if you’re taking a vacation, this is a MUST. Birds and Wildlife • Keep birdbaths full of fresh water. • To attract butterflies, you can plant coral vine, blue plumbago, butterfly weed, lantana, purple coneflower and yarrow. Yes, the critters will eat the plants, but the plants will come right back. • Although the hummingbirds are nesting, clean and refill the feeders every week. • Pour the old hummingbird feeder sugar water into a pot-saucer for the butterflies. • Add a bird and butterfly watering dish to the drip irrigation system. This will keep the water fresh. Color • If you’re looking for color for the hot part of the summer, consider periwinkles, esperanza, firebush, zinnias, poinciana, portulaca, purslane, or lantana. • Firebush is a favorite hummingbird plant and lantanas are a great butterfly bush. • Lantanas are deer resistant. • Plant vincas in full sun. • Shade plants include coleus, caladiums, firespike and begonias. • Leave the bougainvilleas in full sun and fertilize them regularly with hibiscus food or soluble fertilizer. • Moss rose and purslane are showy all month long in full sun. • Remove spent flowers from perennials for more blooms. • Pinch off spent blooms on annuals to get more blooms, also. • Don’t let the weeds get ahead of you. Weed regularly. • Keep up the fertilizer on the roses. Control spider mites with soap sprays—one

27

teaspoon per gallon of water—applied under the leaves. • A wide variety of hot-weather-loving plants for summer color can be transplanted now such as salvia, purslane, copper plant, firespike, lantana and firebush. • Many landscape and garden plants will exhibit symptoms of "iron deficiency"- with yellow leaves and darker green veins. This condition will only grow worse and the affected plant will decline and die if not corrected with generous quantities of iron sulfate mixed with organic material. Alkaline soils of this area of the state require frequent summer applications of iron-containing products such as Iron Plus or green sand to correct or prevent iron deficiency of plants. Mulches can be used to increase the availability of iron for plant uptake in the soil by making a synthetic iron chelate. If iron is applied directly to the soil, calcium in the soil causes the iron particles to be unavailable for plant uptake. Gardeners can make a synthetic chelate with mulch by mixing one cup of iron sulfate (Copperas) to each bushel of mulch applied. Iron particles will adhere to the surface of the mulching material and will be released for plant use as decomposition occurs around plants. Iron sulfate-treated mulches are also effective when incorporated into the soil. Iron sulfate or chelated iron as a foliar spray can provide a rapid-but-temporary green-up. A light application of fertilizer to beds of summer annuals will give them a boost. Heavy producing vegetable crops will also benefit from supplemental fertilizer. Use two pounds (or four cups) of the slow-release fertilizer (mentioned earlier) evenly distributed in a 100 square feet area every three weeks.


• •

If your summer flowering plants are starting to look a little ragged or leggy and not producing many flowers, it may be that a shot of your favorite liquid (mixed with water) fertilizer is needed. If the plants perk up in a few days, continue to add the fertilizer per the directions on the label or add about a tablespoon per plant of slowrelease dry fertilizer. Remember that ornamental sweet potatoes make great hanging pots with their colored leaves. If you’re having a party inside this summer, bring in some of the flowering plants from outside for decoration and a burst of color. This is a stressful time for the roses. Be sure to maintain the water, fertilizer, and mulch to the recommended levels.

alternate weeks. Be sure to follow label directions. • Keep fruit trees well watered if they’re still producing. • Cut suckers from the roots of trees—don’t use Roundup; it will damage the mother tree as well. • Container-grown trees and shrubs can be selected and planted, but be certain to maintain adequate moisture in the root zone to avoid injury or death during summer's heat and dry weather. DO NOT prune the roots of root-bound shrubs planted now. They don’t like that. • Diseased or storm-damaged branches of trees should be pruned immediately, but avoid major or drastic pruning of trees through mid-summer. Prune hedges on an as-needed basis, but avoid severe pruning.

Fruits and Nuts

Turf Grass

• Peaches,

apples, plums and blackberries with developing fruit must receive regular moisture or the fruit will not develop appropriately and may be dropped. • Figs are especially sensitive to dry soil. • Prune out old blackberry canes (the ones that bore fruit this year) to make way for the new canes.

June's warm soils make this an ideal time to establish or renovate the home lawn. Bermudagrass for all sun/no shade, St. Augustine for all sun/partial shade and zoysia for all sun/partial shade all produce acceptable turfs in this area. Floratam St. Augustine is the best St. Augustine for this area. Bermudagrass seed can be planted in areas which are not shaded. Try some of the Bermuda seed such as Sahara or Cheyenne and remember to keep the planting moist EVERY day until seed germination occurs in 10-12 days. • Irrigate the lawn grass only if it hasn’t rained in the last two weeks, and then no more than 3/8 inch of water on the St. Augustine—less for Zoysia, Bermuda, and Buffalo. Water only the most important part of your lawn and let the rest go dormant until we get rain. • Raise the blade on the mower to 3.5 inches or more if you have St. Augustine. Continue to mow the Bermuda at 1-1.5 inch. Keep the mower blade sharp. • If you had grub wom or chinch bug problems last year, treat the lawn at the end of the month. Follow the directions on the bag. •

Shade Trees and Shrubs • Your

established trees and bushes should do well without supplemental watering. Newly planted trees, however, need deep watering by hand when the soil dries to one inch. • Remember to mulch 2-3 inches deep around new trees so that they don’t have to compete with grass. Leave 6” clearance around the trunks. • Crape myrtles reach full bloom in June. Deadhead spent flowers for more bloom. • Control aphids with acephate (Orthene) and powdery mildew with Funginex or almost any good fungicide. • Use a weekly spray program to protect your roses from insects and black spot. Alternate fungicide and insecticide on 28


• June

is a good month to lay sod or plant grass seed if water isn’t being restricted. • If you didn’t get the lawn fertilized in April or May, you may be able to do it now. Just use about half the recommended rate. • Remember that even St. Augustine grass needs at least a half day of sunshine to do well.

• You

can still plant eggplant and okra for mid-summer vegetables. • Use Bt or Spinosad to control hornworms, fruit-eating pinworms, and other caterpillars. • Use bags of oak leaves for mulch. Pull non-producing plants—especially the tomatoes--before diseases and spider mites move in. • Powdery mildew will probably take the vine plants this month. Pull them out and wait for fall. • Most spring-planted veggies will be finished this month. Pull the spent plants out and add them to the compost pile. Leaving them just invites pest and disease problems.

Vegetables • Vegetables

to plant now will include black-eyed peas, okra, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers, New Zealand "spinach" and squash.

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July Work outside early in the morning or late in the evening so you can avoid loss of water in your body. Drink cool or cold water before, during and after working outside and sweating. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. You can lose up to 2 quarts of water working 30


outside in the heat of the day, so be careful. Heat stroke is a real possibility this month. Use sunscreen and work in the shade as much as possible. That Texas sun is brutal. Be sure to make some notes about how your plants did during the summer. It is important to know which plants bloomed when, how well they bloomed, how long the blooms lasted, etc. This is important information to have for next year. Fertilizer used this month should be in liquid form to be most effective. It should be applied early in the morning to have the most effect. As always, read and follow the directions on the label. Watering by hand is good therapy after coming home from work but is the WORST thing you can do to your plants…it’s not consistent and usually not done very well. Birds and Wildlife

coleus, caladiums and elephant ears during hot, sunny periods. Mulch heavily. • Maintain heavy (two to four inches) mulch throughout your landscape and gardens to reduce water needs and reduce weeding.

• Keep

birdbaths full and clean. Clean water is in short supply and is essential to the birds and butterflies. • Butterflies are attracted to overripe fruit, blooms, and mud. Make a muddy spot in your landscape for them to enjoy or place overripe fruit in a container. • Hummingbirds will reward you with their antics if you keep plenty of sugar water in feeders for them. Clean and change the water in the feeders weekly.

Water plants when needed and not according to the calendar or day of the week. Water (soak) thoroughly rather than applying frequent light sprinklings. Stick your finger in the soil down to the second joint. If it’s dry, water; if it’s moist, don’t. Fruits and Nuts

Color • 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.

• Keep

rose bushes cleaned out to help prevent fungus and insect problems. • Spray with water the bottom side of foliage on rose bushes to keep them fresh and help control spider mites. • Fertilize caladiums with slow-release lawn fertilizer at the rate of 1/3-1/2 lb. per 100 square feet of bed. Water it in. • Deadhead spent flowers on annuals and perennials to encourage more blooms. • Plant zinnias which are among the easiest annuals to grow from seed. • 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. • Give special attention to water requirements of leafy garden plants such as

Ornamentals • 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 a foliar spray or applications to mulching materials may be needed to correct this deficiency. Green sand can also be used and is effective. Shade Trees and Shrubs • It’s

reasonably safe to prune oak trees in July and August. Be sure to paint with latex-based paint all the cuts you make. 31


• When

pruning, only take out the dead, damaged or diseased limbs. It’s best to prune in January or February. • This is NOT a good time to plant trees and shrubs. It’s too hot. • Remember when pruning hedges, keep the bottom a little wider than the top to encourage new leaves to grow. Turf Grass • Set

your lawnmower height at the highest level while it’s hot. 3 ½ - 4 inches for St. Augustine in the sun and 4-5 inches in the shade. • Only if you can see your footprints in the grass should you water the lawn. Water deeply but not often. • 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 2-3 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. • If you failed to make a second application of fertilizer to your lawn in June and moisture is available, do so now. Use a formula of a slow-release fertilizer such as 19-5-9 or 20-6-12. Water thoroughly after application. • Mow the lawn before you leave on vacation. If you’ll be gone more than a week, arrange to have it mowed while you’re gone.

• You can plant new lawns in the heat as long as you keep it watered at least twice per day. Do not let the seeds dry out. • You can fertilize the lawn again this month if you think it really needs it and if you like to mow the grass regularly. Vegetables • It’s time to start over in the vegetable garden. Diffuse sunlight on young seedlings and transplants and protect them from pest damage and hot sun until well established by using a cloth covering such as Grow Web, Plant Shield or Plant Guard…an old sheer curtain works, too. • Install a drip irrigation system with a battery-powered timer in your vegetable and flower gardens to make watering more efficient and less time-consuming. Water early in the morning. • Remove spent tomatoes, beans, and other veggie plants. They serve as disease and insect hosts now. • Prepare for fall gardening. Add about 2-3 inches of compost and 1-2 cups 19-5-9 slow release fertilizer per 100 square feet to the veggie beds and till in as deeply as possible. • You can plant your pumpkins for Hallowe’en this month. Be warned, however, that squash vine borers like pumpkin vines, too. • Don’t let the weeds get ahead of you in the garden. It’s easy to do because it’s so hot out there. Keeping up with them pays off in the long run.

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August August, the hottest and driest month in Texas, is deep summer in San Antonio. Good xeriscape plants will make it through the month without supplemental watering; others will need conscientious watering to stay prosperous. August is the month when good mulching makes a major difference. 34


This is the month to evaluate what’s happening in the yard and gardens…time to plan for next season or next year. Generally no fertilizing or planting is done during this month. Birds and Wildlife

• Add

two pounds of a slow release fertilizer such as 19-5-9 per 100 square feet after pruning. • To prevent leaf-fungal problems, water only when the leaves will have time to dry off before nightfall. Better yet, water only the soil and not the leaves. • Get out the catalogues for spring and summer bulbs and start dreaming. • Thin spring-blooming bulbs. Give half to friends, neighbors, and family and re-plant the other half.

• Move the

hummingbird feeders to the patio with firebush, salvia, hibiscus and dwarf Chinese trumpet creeper. • Change your sugar water every week. Pour the old liquid in a shallow dish for the butterflies. • Keep birdbaths full. Color • It’s time to plant mari-mums. Get transplants that haven’t bloomed yet. • Seed zinnias and sunflowers this month. • Lantanas, firebush, purslane, portulaca and periwinkles are prospering in the heat. • Watch for spider mites. If you find them, control with a miticide. • Maintain bloom on the crape myrtles and vitex by removing (deadheading) the spent blooms. You’ll get 2-3 times the number of blooms the next time around. • Lantana bloom can be rejuvenated with a string trimmer once per month. Take about 6 inches off the plant to rejuvenate it. • Bougainvillea loves the Texas summer heat. If they’re root bound in the pot, even better. Wait until they just start to wilt before watering—this could be every day depending on the pot and the plant. • Maintain the mulch layer at 2-3 inches to help avoid soil moisture loss. • Prune the roses back, but not as heavily as you did last spring. Apply a good rose food and water it in well. Stand back and wait for the fall blush of bloom. If you have hybrid tea roses, maintain or resume your spraying regimen for black spot and insects. • Trim back overgrown or leggy springplanted annuals such as petunias and impatiens to encourage new flushes of growth and renewed flower production when the weather cools.

Fruits and Nuts • For

full production, pecan trees need 1 inch of water per week over the entire root area. Fruit trees can be maintained with less after the harvest but also require 1 inch per week for fall production. • Apply borer spray to the peach trees this month. For a good crop next year, you want the leaves to last until November so watch for web worms and rust. Use Bt or Spinosad on the web worms and a good fungicide for the rust. • Early apples are ready for harvest. • Prune the spent canes from the blackberries. • After harvest, a deep watering on the peach and plum trees once per month will help develop a good crop next spring. Ornamentals • Moy

Grande hibiscus produces 12-inch blooms in full sun. • Gold Star Esparanza produces fragrant yellow flowers clear up until frost. • If you have Bermuda grass in the flower beds, use Grass-Be-Gone or similar products. If you follow directions, it will kill only the Bermuda grass and not hurt the flowers. 35


• Stake or support larger-growing plants that have become heavy or are leaning over.

• Remember that newly-planted trees need watering once per week for the whole first season.

Shade Trees and Shrubs

Turf Grass

• Shade

trees can reduce the heat gain in a home by 40-80 percent. Plan now to plant some fast-growing shade trees on the west side of the house later this fall. • Around here, cotton root rot is stimulated by hot soil temperatures. Cottonwoods, roses, Chinese pistache, sycamore and okra are very susceptible while most native plants are resistant. It kills plants so fast that their leaves are still on the plant. There is no effective treatment although native plants are less susceptible. • This is the second-best time to prune live oak trees. The oak wilt fungus spores and nitilid beetles are not active in hot or cold weather. Be sure to immediately paint any cuts you make with a latex paint. • Vigorous-growing shrubs such as pyracantha, photinia, eleagnus, privet or ligustrum may need to be pruned regularly to keep them within bounds. • If you have scale problems on your shrubs, use light summer oil. Follow the directions on the label. • If your trees are dropping leaves, it’s OK. They’re just adjusting to the water supply and the heat. • Fall webworms may appear on pecan, mulberry, ash, persimmon, and other trees. The biological spray Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) provides control but a new, longerlasting fungal metabolite is now available. It is an insect nerve agent named Spinosad and sold as Fertilome Borer, Bagworm, Leafminer, and Tent Caterpillar Spray. It is also labeled for use on fireants. • 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. • Mulch, mulch, mulch—2-3 inches deep under all the shrubs, around the trees out to about 5-6 feet, and in the flower beds.

• In

August, all grasses require some water to stay green. Check out the San Antonio Water System’s web site to find out how much for your grass in your yard. If you have Bermuda grass, zoysia, or buffalo grass, you don’t need to water…it’ll just go dormant until it rains again. • When you see your footprints in the grass, it’s time to water. Do it early in the morning and water deeply. Shallow watering causes shallow roots which are easy to damage. • Grub worms eat the roots of grass plants. If you can lift a piece of sod and if you see 3 or more grub worms in a square foot, you’ve got a problem. Treat with a good pesticide which lists grubs on the label. • Chinch bugs do their damage in the hottest part of summer in the hottest part of the lawn; i.e., close to the house, driveway, or sidewalks. It looks kind of moth-eaten and doesn’t respond to watering. Cut the top and bottom out of a coffee can, place it about 1 inch into the soil and fill it with water. If little bugs float to the top in 2-3 minutes, they’re probably chinch bugs. Treat with a good pesticide and be sure to follow the directions. More is not better. • There is still time to establish a new lawn, but don’t wait much longer. If we have an early freeze, it could kill it or at least put a major hurt on it. It might be best to wait until spring. • 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 improved Bermuda grass seed such as Sahara or Cheyenne. Vegetables

36


• Early

August is the best time to start • If you’ve had nematode problems in the planting the fall garden. Use transplants for veggie beds, now is the time to “solarize” tomatoes and peppers and direct seed corn them. Till the soil, wet it down and then and beans later in the month. Protect the place clear plastic over the entire bed. young transplants from the hot sun with a Weight the edges down with soil and let it light fabric like Gro-web or even an old cook for several weeks. It’ll basically sheer curtain…anything to provide just a pasteurize the top few inches of the bed. little shade. • Write me at gardener@gvtc.com to get the • Plant pumpkins in early August for recommended vegetable varieties for the Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Be sure to get state of Texas. If you live outside the state the 90-day variety. of Texas, check with your county • Other popular vegetable crops to plant in agricultural extension office to see if they August for fall production are cucumber, have such a list for you. eggplant, lima beans, black-eye peas, peppers, and squash. NOTES: _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 37


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September It’s not cool yet, but cooler weather is on the way. It’s not time to plant cool season plants yet but you definitely should continue watering and fertilizing (liquid fertilizer) the 38


container plants. It’s not too early to start thinking about where the outside container plants will go when the first freeze is predicted. Bugs may have gotten out of control over the summer. Check the plants often to stay ahead of them. Be careful with the use of pesticides and follow the directions on the label specifically.

Birds and Wildlife

• Rejuvenate

heat stressed geraniums and begonias by lightly pruning, fertilizing and watering. • Be sure to fertilize roses one last time for continual blooming. Using Orthene for insects and Funginex for diseases is a tried and true combination. • Divide spring-blooming perennials such as daylily and iris now. Cut the foliage back to about 4” a few days before digging. Give half to the neighbors and transplant the other half. • Add generous amounts of compost to all beds. • If you order bulbs for spring, now is the time to order them but don’t put them in the ground just yet. Put them in a paper bag in the fridge crisper (not the freezer) 6-8 weeks before planting. • Be careful about ordering bulbs from northern catalogues. It’s a lot colder much sooner there than it is here. Better yet, wait until the local nurseries get their bulbs in and buy them there. • Plant bluebonnet seeds about ½ inch deep now to allow them to germinate in the fall. Water thoroughly. • Don’t plant roses this month.

• Continue

to provide fresh water for the birds. It is still hot outside. Keep bird baths full of water. • Watch for ruby-throated, rufous, and black throat hummingbirds as they make their way south. Place hummingbird feeders near a window so you can observe them. Favorite hummingbird bushes include firebush, lantana, pentas, hibiscus, and cape honeysuckle. • Attract butterflies to your gardens by planting mist flower, lantana, butterfly weed, and purple aster. Attract hummingbirds by planting cardinal lobelia, trumpet vine, lantana, Turk’s cap, and Mexican bush sage. Color • Know flowers’ mature heights and widths and plant for maximum visibility. • Add compost to your flowerbeds for a little extra kick that tired flowers need. • Flowering annuals can be transplanted now: alyssum, calendula, dianthus (pinks), flowering cabbage and kale, pansies, petunias, phlox, Shasta daisies, snapdragons, and stocks. If temperatures remain unseasonably hot, gardeners would be well advised to wait until October to transplant most of these cool-season flowering plants. Keep the soil moist to ensure proper germination and growth. Protect seedlings from pillbugs with baits and insecticide (Sevin) dust barriers for two weeks after germination occurs • Continue to feed patio plants and hanging baskets with a water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20 or Hasta-Gro.

Fruits and Nuts • Keep

your pecans watered if you want full nuts. One inch per week over the area covered by the crown of the tree is sufficient. • Cut back to the ground the dying canes on your blackberry bushes. You can maintain new canes at about 3-4 feet in height and force out many productive side branches. Ornamentals 39


Caladiums need plenty of water this month. It wouldn’t hurt to fertilize them with about ½ pound of 19-5-9 slow-release lawn fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed.

over the winter with sand or top dressing until the spot is level with the rest of the lawn. • This is a good month to plant Bermuda to get it established before winter sets in. Keep the seeds MOIST for about 10 days or so— until the seeds sprout. Then back off on the watering. • Lawns have been expensive to maintain during the prolonged heat and drought. Those with lawns still alive will have to beware of the brown patch fungus that occurs during cool, moist fall conditions. See above.

Shade Trees and Shrubs • You

can plant trees and shrubs this month but next month would be even better. Check out the requirements for trees and do your planning before planting any. Find out the mature height and width. Don’t plant any tree closer than 25 feet to any structure. Dig the hole the same depth as the container the tree came in and 2-3 times as wide. Don’t add anything to the soil when you replace it —the tree needs to learn to live in soil you plant it in. Add 2-3 inches of native mulch in a circle about 6-8 feet across. Don’t place the mulch up against the trunk of the plant— leave about 6-8 inches. Water new trees once per week for the first season. Place the hose at the base of the tree and let it barely run for a couple of hours so that it approximately fills the hole you dug. • Once established, shrubs normally don’t need any more water than they get from rain. • If you prune your oak trees, be sure to paint as soon as you cut. • Trees last for years and years but they do eventually get old like we do. Be sure to watch your trees for signs of aging and take care of any potential problems before they become actual “situations.” • If you have trouble getting enough sunshine to your turf, do some “selective” pruning to open the canopy of the tree.

Vegetables • Protect • Tender

young seedlings from hot sun. seedlings and transplants MUST be protected from the hot sun as well as spider mites, stinkbugs, grasshoppers and deer. A protective cover that provides a bit of sun protection is called Grow-Web (also Plant Guard, Plant Shield, ReeMay). Old sheercurtains do a great job. Mulching with oak leaves does a great job, too. 3-4 inches of leaves help keep the soil cool, stops weeds from germinating, and helps hold in the moisture. Use of a cover will be required to provide early cold and frost protection (protects plants from temperatures in the low 30's) so that cold-sensitive plants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants can ripen the fruit before the first hard freeze (below 32 degrees F. for several hours) occurs. • Fertilize young tomatoes and peppers when they have fruit about the size of your thumb. Use about 1 cup of slow-release fertilizer for every 10 feet of row. If you didn’t get your tomatoes in last month, there is still time although your production will be severely limited. Be sure to use one of the “hot name” tomato varieties because they mature quicker. • Vegetable crops benefit from a side dressing of fertilizer to enhance their growth and production potential. Use one cup of 195-9 slow-release lawn fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting surface.

Turf Grass • Cut

way back on the lawn irrigation this month to avoid brown patch. If you already have brown patch in the lawn, you can do one of two things—leave it alone as it will normally heal itself next spring; or treat it with a good fungicide. Be sure to follow label directions. Brown patch is usually a sign of standing water. Fill in the low spot 40


• It’s

time to plant squash, bush beans, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, beets, sweet corn, and potatoes. • Check the drip irrigation system to be sure you’re putting the right amount of moisture on the veggies when they need it. NOTES: _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 41


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42


October Next to April, October is about the best time to garden around here. The weather cools down a little and there is a definite feel of “fall in the air”. It can still be pretty dry this month, so watch the soil moisture very carefully. You wouldn’t want all your work last summer to just dry up and die. Birds and Wildlife

• Put

your spring-blooming bulbs in the ground in October and November if they got 6 weeks of chill in the fridge. • Divide iris, phlox, daylilies, Shasta daisies, and other perennials. Give half to the neighbors and replant the other half. • Wildflowers germinate and perform better if they are seeded into a lightly cultivated or raked soil. If planting in an established turf, chose Bermuda turf since it is dormant during the growing season and Bermuda is usually growing in a full sun location that wildflowers need to do their best. Floratam St. Augustine grass, zoysia, or Bermuda grass sod can still be planted. • Plant perennials now through December. Move any misplaced perennials that have already bloomed. • Refrigerate tulip bulbs for 6-8 weeks in a paper bag prior to planting in December. Do not put them in the freezer. • This is a good time to plant containergrown roses. Add lots of compost to the soil for the best bloom next spring.

• Continue

to provide sugar-water for hummingbirds—4 parts water to 1 part sugar by volume. • Begin filling your sunflower and thistle feeders this month. Steel weight-sensitive feeders will thwart squirrels, grackles and white wings. • Remember that monarch butterflies will be migrating through here soon and will want to rest, eat and lay their eggs. The butterfly weed plant is their favorite food. They’ll feed on the nectar and then lay their eggs on the plant. The larvae will eat the leaves off the butterfly plant, hatch in a few days, and fly off. Don’t worry about the plant—it WILL come back. Color • Now

is the time to actually take care of many of those plans you made last summer. It’s an ideal time to get the beds ready for fall planting by adding lots of compost. • You can plant roses this month through the winter. Use lots of compost and don’t plant them any deeper than they were in the pot. They should be blooming now. Keep them watered and sprayed weekly. • This is the ideal time to plant cool-weather-loving annual flowers, including petunias, dianthus, ornamental cabbage and kale, phlox, and Shasta daisies. Although pansies and violas begin to be available in October, it is best to wait until air and soil temperatures have cooled significantly before planting them. This usually occurs in late October or early November.

Fruits and Nuts • Continue

watering pecan trees weekly. Harvest pecans as they fall to the ground— their quality declines quickly if left on the ground. • Watch for rust on figs, plums, and peaches. Use wettable sulfur to slow defoliation. When the leaves are ready to drop, apply Kocide in late October or early November to peaches and plums—preventive treatment for bacterial leaf spot next spring. Be sure to follow label instructions. Use a fungicide labeled for rust on figs or peaches.

43


Ornamentals

Shade Trees and Shrubs

• Dig and store caladium bulbs for winter. • This is a great time to plant perennials--

• This is the absolute best time to plant trees. Do some comparison shopping if you’re planning on buying large trees. Ask about delivery, planting, and warranties. • As they start to fall, collect leaves and put them in the compost pile. • Do not fertilize trees and shrubs now. It will stimulate new growth that might freeze later. • Use hollies and nandinas for foundation plantings. They come in every size and color. • Consider planting some other types of trees this fall—Montezuma cypress, Arizona cypress, cedar elm, Chinese pistache, Lacey oak, Monterrey oak, Mexican sycamore, and bur oak. • If you plan to transplant a tree or shrub this fall, take the time now to do what is called “root pruning”. Take a sharpshooter shovel and go all around the plant about a foot or so away from the trunk. Push it down as far as you can get it so that you cut the roots. It helps to wet the area down 2-3 days ahead of time. This pruning forces the plant to put on new roots around the cut area and then, when it’s time to be moved, it won’t be nearly as much of a shock. • Many trees drop their leaves in the fall. Save these leaves to use as mulch in the veggie bed, herb bed, cut-flower bed and others. If nothing else, put them in the compost pile. Please don’t send them to the dump.

columbine, old-fashioned roses, perennial asters, blue plumbago, rock rose, Shasta daisies, daylilies and irises. • Reduce house plant fertilization by onehalf during the late fall and winter. • Continue to fertilize hibiscus, bougainvillea, allamanda, mandevilla, and other tropical plants that have been spending the summer on your patio, porch or deck. The same goes for hanging baskets and other containerized plants. Use a water-soluble type of product. A light application of garden-type fertilizer will boost annual and perennial flowering plants. • Fall-blooming annuals and perennials can be kept in flower longer and will look better if their maturing flowers are removed. Rejuvenate leggy begonias with a light pruning followed by an application of a water-soluble fertilizer. Avoid drastic pruning of woody plants this late in the growing season. However, dead or diseased wood in trees and shrubs can be readily pruned on an "as needed" basis. Continue to keep vigorous-growing shrubs, such as pyracantha and ligustrum, pruned to maintain desired size and-or shape. Wait until January or February to do any major fruit tree pruning. • Insects

can still be a major problem this month, particularly if the weather is hot. Watch for whiteflies, spider mites, aphids, and scale. Treat with the recommended product by your county Extension agent or nursery professional. • If you will be moving plants inside for the winter, get them acclimated 3-4 weeks ahead of time by moving them to bright but shady areas. • This is a great time to plant some ornamental grasses that do so well here. Prepare the bed the same as other beds by adding lots of compost.

Turf Grass • Apply

“winterizer” fertilizer in a 3-1-2 or 8-1-2 (15-20 percent nitrogen) ratio this month. • October is time for the most important lawn fertilization of the year—the application of a “winterizer” fertilizer to condition the grass for winter survival at the rate of one pound of nitrogen (not just one pound of fertilizer) per 1000 square feet. Wait until the lawn grass slows growth and 44


mowing every two weeks is adequate before Vegetables applying fertilizer. • If you must water, do it in the early • Plant cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage, morning. Wet grass overnight will induce cauliflower, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts. fungal problems. A dry lawn is better than • October's cooler weather means time to brown patch. plant cool-season vegetable crops: beets, • Invading Bermuda and dalisgrass in St. Chinese cabbage, carrots, collards, lettuce, Augustine should be "spot treated" with mustard, parsley, garden peas, spinach, Roundup, Ortho Kleanup or Finale before radishes and turnips. they begin winter dormancy. There is no • Plant garlic cloves and 1015 onion seeds selective herbicide which will kill dalisgrass (on 10-15). and not kill St. Augustine grass. With the • Plant fall herbs. proper watering and fertilization, the St. • Apply one cup of slow-release lawn Augustine will cover the "kill cavities" fertilizer to every 10 feet of row in the within six weeks and the saga of the veggie garden. ¼ cup to each tomato plant. dalisgrass will just be a memory. Poast or • Use Bt or Spinosad products if cabbage Ortho Grass-B-Gone can be used to kill loopers show up. grasses in ornamentals without fear of • If you have nematode problems in your damage to the flowers and/or groundcovers. garden, forego a fall garden and go with • If you like to mow grass all year long, now Elbon rye. Add compost, fertilizer, water it is the time to plant rye grass. Use about 5and till; then seed. 10 lbs. of seeds per 1,000 square feet (thirty • Control caterpillars with Bt or Spinosad. giant-steps by thirty giant steps). Water it daily until it sprouts then start backing off on the water. Don’t mow until the seeds actually sprout or you could pull them up and kill them. Bummer. Notes: _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ 45


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46


November Rain is usually adequate in November, but be sure to check the soil often to keep it moist —not sloppy wet, but moist. Many people consider fall flowers and veggies better than the spring versions of the same plants. The nights are cooler and the plants get to rest at night as opposed to the spring and summer when the nights are almost as hot as the day. In this situation the plants don’t get to rest at night. Don’t forget to keep the weeds pulled; don’t want them to get the jump on you. Birds and Wildlife

the bulbs. If not, write me at gardener@gvtc.com and I’ll send you the instructions.

• This

is a great month for hummingbirds. Keep your feeders clean and full as long as the birds use them. Watch for tiny but pugnacious rufous hummers. • Goldfinches are back. They are less colorful in their winter garb, but still interesting. Clean and fill thistle feeders for their benefit.

Fruits and Nuts • Pick

up pecans as soon as possible after they fall to the ground. Damp nuts with limited mold can be dried in the oven. • Spray Kocide on peach and plum trees to prevent bacterial diseases next spring. The bactericide will knock the leaves off the tree. • Prepare your Satsuma tangerine shelters so that you can move fast if we get a freeze prediction. • When transplanting perennials, get as much of the root ball as you can. Dig the new hole first, put the plant in and water thoroughly ASAP.

Color • It’s

winter-annual time. Select from pansies, spring bulbs, flowering kale, dianthus, calendula, viola, Johnny jump-ups, alyssum, and snapdragons. If you use tulips and hyacinth bulbs, make sure they have 6-8 weeks of chill in paper bags in the fridge or from the nursery. • Be ready to move the bougainvilleas, hibiscus, plumeria, purple fountain grass, citrus, mandevilla and other tender plants into the greenhouse or garage at the first cold weather. Plan for ventilation as it can get pretty warm in San Antonio in November. • Fall asters are spectacular. Plant them now for a good show next fall. • Get Texas Gold columbines in the ground to make a good groundcover under deciduous trees and shrubs. • Plant your wildflower seeds this month. • If you plan to plant roses next January or February, prepare beds now with composted manure mixed with existing soil. • For some winter color, get an amaryllis bulb or two and force them to bloom. Usually the instructions to do this come with

Ornamentals • It’s

a good time to plant irises, daylilies, and other perennials. • Divide spring and summer-flowering perennials during fall. Pass favorites along to your friends. Shade Trees and Shrubs • Do

not fertilize or prune trees and shrubs this month. You may stimulate tender new growth that is susceptible to early freezes. • Do not put leaves in the garbage. Benefit from fallen leaves by mowing them and leaving them on the lawn or by using them as mulch in the shrub border or the various beds. 47


• Cut way back on the water. Water the lawn only every 2-3 weeks with ½ inch of water if we don’t get rain. • It’s too late to plant Bermuda or buffalo grass. • Over seeding rye grass for winter green only works on Bermuda. Zoysia and St. Augustine have too thick a sod. Rye grass will kill buffalo grass. • Sodding Floratam St. Augustine grass or Bermudagrass can be risky this late in the season and can be damaged by severe cold. Zoysia sod such as JaMur can still be planted. There is still time to establish fescue in those heavily-shaded areas. • Do not allow heavy accumulations of leaves to pile up on the lawn area. If they get wet and pack together, the grass can be damaged. It is best to rake leaves or pick them up with a mower and bagger and place them in a compost pile or spread them over the garden area and work them into the soil. Add fertilizer to the leaves to assist in decomposition.

• If

you’re going to plant a pecan tree, consider Pawnee. It makes a reasonably sized lawn tree that doesn’t seem prone to limb breakage. The nuts are relatively small and early so it does not require as much water or care to get a full nut. • It’s a good time to plant container-grown shrubs for long-lasting color. • If you plan to plant bare-root trees or shrubs, prune the tops back at least one-third to one-half before planting. • November and December are the ideal months to plant trees and shrubs. Fall is the ideal time to move trees and shrubs as well. Planting now gives the plant time to establish its root system before the shoot growth develops in the spring. Also, usually little supplemental watering is required through the winter. • If you want to plant a tree but don’t know what it will look like when it’s grown, ask the people at the nursery where you can go to see one. Many cities have botanical gardens or arboretums where trees are visible and usually marked. • Deciduous trees drop their leaves in the fall. Many of these trees have beautifullycolored leaves before they fall. Check it out before you buy your trees. • After the leaves fall, it’s much easier to see the pruning needs of your trees.

Vegetables • Plant

onion seeds and spinach in November—onions in the early part of the month and spinach transplants throughout. • Side-dress your cole crops and onions with a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 12 feet of row. • Tomatoes and peppers can be protected from light freezes with blankets. If you’re successful, they’ll produce another 3-4 weeks. Harvest them regularly…or keep the chowchow and fried green tomato recipes handy. • Plant radishes, carrots, beets, and greens this month. • Watch for worms and caterpillars on cole crops. Treat with Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) or Spinosad. Bt is only active for 3-4 days, so use it twice a week. • Keep the soil moist in the vegetable garden —not sloppy wet, just moist. This is one more reason to consider drip irrigation.

Turf Grass • If

you didn’t get your lawn fertilizer down in October, do it now—before the first freeze and as long as the grass hasn’t gone dormant. This equates to about 8-9 lbs. of a 18-19% nitrogen manufactured mix or 20 lbs. of 9% organic mix per 1,000 square feet. The nutrients will be stored for a fast start in the spring. Be sure it says “Winterizer” or something like that on the bag. • Treat brown patch with a fungicide labeled for that purpose, such as PCNB, chlorothalonil, or benomyl. Note the problem areas and later this winter; raise the area with compost, sand, or top dressing. 48


• Don’t forget to fertilize the fast-growing vegetables once every 3-4 weeks with your favorite fertilizer. Water it in. NOTES: _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________

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December Gardening doesn’t stop in Texas in December, but it does slow down considerably. Use the time to catch up on your note-taking and get some “catalog” time in. Sometime during the month, you can definitely expect a freeze. If you have tender plants, seedlings, or tropical plants, plan to protect them if a freeze is predicted. Many times, the freezing temperature only lasts an hour or so before dawn and you can put the plants back outside the next day. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Sometimes it’s the only way to protect cold-tender plants. Stack the mulch up as high as you can around the base of the plant. The top may freeze, but the roots and base will make it. Spider mites thrive in warmth. Be sure to check your indoor plants for mites and take appropriate action. and snails are attracted to the yeast in Birds and Wildlife the beer and fall in. Yes, they drown, but they drown happy. • After they freeze back, you can cut • Most container plants react to the lantana, mallow hibiscus, esperanza and season by reducing growth rates. other cold sensitive plants to the ground. Cut back on the water and fertilizer However, you can leave cold-killed plants in until next spring. the perennial border to serve as cover and • Keep your cool weather bedding food sources for wintering birds. plants well fertilized with a soluble • Suet is available in easy-to-use blocks that material such as Peters 20-20-20 or attract the woodpeckers, chickadees and Miracle Gro. titmice. Use metal bird feeders to keep the • It is not too late to plant pansies, squirrels from chewing through. the premier color plant for the winter • Use weight-sensitive metal feeders to keep here. squirrels and white wing doves from eating • December is a good time to your sunflower seeds. transplant roses. Many new cultivars come out each year. Color Fruits and Nuts • Get

those spring-flowering bulbs in the ground this month. Be careful not to over water color plants during the winter. Check the soil with your finger. If it is dry down to about one inch, water carefully by hand. • Plastic cups sunk in the ground and ½ filled with beer attract and drown slugs and snails. They like Budweiser best. The slugs

• This

is a good month to plant bare root fruit and pecan trees. “June Gold” and “La Feliciana” are good peach selections. “Methley” plums do well. “Warren” and “Orient” pears resist fire blight. “Pawnee”


seems to be the best pecan for San Antonio. Anna” and “Dorsett Golden” are the two best apples for this area (two are needed.) • Wait until December or January to do any major fruit tree pruning. Prune back leggy perennial plants. Fall-blooming perennials such as lantana and salvia can be cut back as soon as freezing temperatures have obviously frozen their top growth. Cut them back severely - to the ground. Over-plant the cut-back perennial area with winter annuals such as pansies, Johnny-jump-ups and dianthus (pinks), larkspur or bluebonnets rather than looking at the barren bed all winter. The lantana will come back next spring in May to provide beauty during the hottest part of the summer. • Collect pecans as they fall to the ground. Dry them for one to two weeks in shallow boxes before you store them. Pecans in the shell maintain their quality for four months at room temperature, for 12 months in the fridge, and 24 months if frozen. Shelled pecans only store well for two months at room temperature, 12 months refrigerated and two years frozen. Shade Trees and Shrubs • Mulch

the fallen leaves with your lawn mower and let them lie on the lawn or use them for mulch. • Eliminate the mistletoe (a parasite) from your trees after the leaves fall. Use a blade of some type strapped to a cane pole and cut of the limb just below the mistletoe. • It’s OK to plant trees in December…even bare-root trees. They will have time to get their roots out before summer. Don’t forget to water them, however…once per week if it doesn’t rain. • Consider a living Christmas tree. Arizona cypress or Italian Stone pines do well in our alkaline soils and can be moved into the landscape after use as a Christmas tree for a couple of weeks. Plant the same as any other tree.

• December

is a good month to prune oak trees. Even in winter, however, the wound should be painted immediately after pruning. The trees are most susceptible to infection for 2-3 days after pruning. Apply horticultural tree wound dressing or plain ol’ latex paint on all oak cuts. Prune out dead, damaged or diseased wood from trees and shrubs. Avoid topping or dehorning. • Plant fruit trees on 8’ x 8’ raised beds with drip irrigation to reduce stress and the resultant bacterial canker. • Scale and other hard-to-kill insect pests may be overwintering on your trees or shrubs. Pecan and fruit trees, euonymus, camellias and holly are favorite hosts. Spray with dormant oil, following label directions on the container to avoid plant damage. Protect any winter annuals from the oil spray. Turf Grass • Cut way back on the water. Water the lawn only every 2-3 weeks with ½ inch of water if we don’t get rain. If it rains, don’t water for 3 weeks. • St. Augustine that is dry is very susceptible to freeze damage. • Generally speaking, lawn care is done now.

Vegetables • Side-dress

your cole crops and onions with a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer or ammonium sulphate per 10 feet of row. • December is a good month to plant spinach transplants. This area is the premier fresh spinach production area in North America. The tasty


green is one of the most nutritious vegetables available. • If tomatoes are full sized, but not showing any color, pick them and bring them into the house. They’ll ripen on the counter.

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Index 1015Y.........................................13 19-5-9.....12, 16, 21, 23, 32, 35, 40 21-0-0.........................................19 90-day.........................................37 a liquid dish-washing detergent..22 Acclimate...................................20 acclimated...................................44 adapted species.............................8 aerate......................................8, 12 aeration.................................16, 17 agricultural baking soda.............16 ajuga...........................................16 Algerian ivy..........................17, 20 Alkaline soils..............................27 allamanda.......................19, 31, 44 allemanda...................................15 alyssum...........................15, 39, 47 amaranthus.................................23 amaryllis.....................................47 aphids.........................7, 21, 28, 44 Aphids........................................21 apples............11, 19, 23, 28, 35, 52 Arizona cypress..............12, 44, 52 army worms....................16, 20, 24 Asian jasmine.................12, 17, 20 Asiatic jasmine...........................17 asparagus................................9, 12 asters.....................................44, 47 automatic lawn sprinkler............17

automatic sprinkler system.........21 bachelor buttons.........................19 Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.)........36 bagworm.....................................12 Ball moss....................................16 bare root......................................51 bare-root trees.......................48, 52 Bareroot........................................7 battery-powered timer..........27, 32 battery-powered timers...............22 bedding plants..........11, 15, 19, 51 beer traps................................7, 22 beets....................12, 17, 41, 45, 48 begonia.......................................23 begonias..15, 19, 20, 23, 27, 39, 44 Bermuda. 8, 17, 21, 24, 28, 35, 36, 40, 43, 45, 48 Bermudagrass.......................28, 48 bird baths....................................39 birdhouses.....................................7 black spots............................11, 24 blackberries................7, 28, 31, 35 blackberry.......................16, 28, 39 blackeye peas..............................37 blackeyed peas............................29 blossom-end rot..........................25 blue plumbago......................27, 44 blue-norther................................13 bluebonnet seeds............19, 24, 39


bluebonnets.................7, 15, 16, 52 Bluebonnets..................................7 bluebonnets,..................................7 bluebonnets, snapdragons, spring bulbs, dianthus, calendulas and other winter annuals..................7 borer spray..................................35 bougainvillea......15, 19, 23, 31, 44 Bougainvillea.............................35 bougainvilleas...................7, 27, 47 Bougainvilleas..............................7 Bradford pear..............................17 broadleaf weed killer..................12 broccoli.............................8, 12, 45 Broccoli......................................17 brown patch....................40, 45, 48 Brussels sprouts..........................8 Brussels sprouts..........................45 Bt 8, 12, 16, 20, 21, 22, 24, 29, 35, 45, 48 Bt (bacillus thuringiensis)......8, 48 bud-break....................................12 Buffalo..............................8, 21, 28 buffalo grass...................24, 36, 48 bulbs...7, 8, 11, 15, 20, 24, 35, 39, 43, 44, 47, 51 bur oak........................................44 bur oaks......................................12 butter beans..........................17, 21 butterflies......19, 27, 31, 35, 39, 43 butterfly plant.............................43 butterfly weed.................27, 39, 43 cabbage.............8, 9, 12, 39, 43, 45 cabbage loopers......................8, 45 caladium.........................20, 23, 44 caladiums........................19, 27, 31 Caladiums.......................20, 24, 40 calendula...............................39, 47 calendulas.........................7, 11, 20 cannas.............................11, 23, 24

canopy of the tree.................12, 40 cantaloupe.......................17, 21, 25 cantaloupes.................................25 Cantaloupes................................25 cape honeysuckle........................39 Carbaryl......................................21 cardinal lobelia...........................39 Cardinals.....................................15 Carolina jesamine.......................20 carrots...........12, 17, 21, 41, 45, 48 caterpillars..........12, 22, 29, 45, 48 cauliflower........................8, 12, 45 cedar elm..............................12, 44 cedar waxwings..........................11 celosia.........................................23 chard.......................................8, 12 chelated...........................16, 25, 27 chickadees..................................51 chickweed...................................12 chinch bug..................................28 chinch bugs...........................32, 36 Chinch bugs..........................32, 36 Chinese pistache.............12, 36, 44 chlorosis.....................................31 chlorotic......................................21 chowchow...................................48 Christmas cactus...........................7 cigar plant...................................24 citrus...........................................47 clover..........................................12 cole.......................8, 17, 45, 48, 52 coleus............15, 19, 20, 23, 27, 31 collards.................................12, 45 columbine...................................44 columbines.....................15, 16, 47 compost. .8, 12, 17, 20, 24, 25, 29, 32, 39, 43, 44, 45, 48 coneflowers................................11 container plants..............23, 39, 51 container-grown plants.................8


containerized........7, 17, 19, 20, 44 cool season veggies....................17 copper.......................16, 19, 27, 31 copper hydroxide........................16 Copperas.........................25, 27, 31 coral vine....................................27 cosmos........................................19 cotton root rot.............................36 Cottonwoods...............................36 crape myrtles..............................35 Crape myrtles.............................28 Cross vines...........................15, 16 cucumbers...........17, 21, 25, 29, 41 daffodils............................7, 11, 15 Dahlberg daisy............................19 dalisgrass....................................45 dandelions...................................12 daylilies....................15, 43, 44, 47 daylily...................................16, 39 dead, damaged or diseased...32, 52 Deadhead........................23, 28, 31 deadheading................................35 deciduous trees.................8, 12, 47 Deciduous trees..........................48 decomposition......................27, 48 deep summer..............................34 deer.......................................27, 40 desert willow..............................12 dianthus. .7, 11, 15, 20, 39, 43, 47, 52 dianthus,.......................................7 direct seed...................................37 divide..............................12, 16, 20 dividing.......................................24 dormant7, 8, 12, 16, 28, 36, 43, 48, 52 dormant oil.............7, 8, 12, 16, 52 doves.....................................15, 51 drip irrigation22, 27, 32, 41, 48, 52 Drip irrigation.......................22, 23

dry off before nightfall...............35 DSMA........................................21 Dutch iris....................................15 dwarf Chinese trumpet creeper.24, 35 easy.............................................63 eggplant..............21, 22, 25, 29, 37 Eggplant.....................................25 eggplants...............................25, 40 Elbon rye................................8, 45 eleagnus..........................20, 24, 36 elephant ears...............................31 English......................17, 19, 20, 23 esperanza..............................27, 51 established 7, 8, 12, 16, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 43 euonymus.........................8, 12, 52 euonymus, hollies, oaks, pines, pecans, and fruit trees..........8, 12 evergreen trees............................12 eyes...............................................9 fall asters....................................11 feeders7, 11, 15, 19, 27, 31, 35, 39, 43, 47, 51 Fertilize.11, 12, 15, 16, 19, 21, 23, 31, 40 Fertilize your lawn.....................21 fertilizer spreader........................21 fertilizing........7, 12, 23, 35, 38, 39 figs..............................................43 Figs.............................................28 Fire ants......................................22 firebush.........19, 23, 24, 27, 35, 39 Firebush................................24, 27 firespike..........................23, 24, 27 Floratam.........................28, 43, 48 Floratam St. Augustine...............28 flowering annuals.......................12 footprints in the grass...........32, 36 fridge crisper..............................39


fried green tomato......................48 fruit set........................................25 fruit tree pruning...................44, 52 fruit trees 7, 11, 12, 16, 19, 24, 28, 31, 52 Fruit trees..............................20, 35 fruit trees,...............................7, 52 fruit-eating pinworms,................29 full-sun plants.............................19 fungal problem...........................20 fungal problems....................35, 45 fungicide.......11, 28, 35, 40, 43, 48 fungicides...................................16 Funginex...................15, 16, 28, 39 garden peas.................................45 garlic...........................................45 geranium.....................................15 geraniums...................................39 germinate........................17, 39, 43 germination...........................28, 39 Gingers.......................................24 Gold Star Esparanza...................35 goldfinches.................................11 Goldfinches................................47 grapes...........................................7 Grass-Be-Gone...........................35 GrassBGone...............................45 grasshoppers...............................40 green beans...........................21, 25 green sand...................................27 Green sand......................21, 25, 31 greenhouse..........................7, 8, 47 Greenlight WipeOut...................21 greens...................................12, 48 groundcover....................17, 20, 47 Grow Web..................................32 GrowWeb.......................17, 21, 40 grub wom....................................28 grubs.....................................32, 36 hanging baskets........15, 27, 39, 44

Harvest...........8, 17, 21, 25, 43, 48 hedges.........................................32 hedging cuts................................11 henbit..........................................12 herbicide...............................21, 45 herbicides.............................16, 17 hibiscus...7, 15, 19, 23, 27, 31, 35, 39, 44, 47, 51 Hibiscus................................19, 24 hollies...............................8, 12, 44 holly......................................24, 52 hornworms..................................29 horsemint....................................16 hot...............................................40 Hot weather plants......................23 house plant..................................44 house plants..................................7 houseplants.............................7, 24 hummingbird 19, 23, 24, 27, 35, 39 hummingbirds7, 15, 24, 27, 39, 43, 47 hyacinth bulbs............................47 hybrid tea roses...........................35 Image..........................................21 impatiens........................19, 23, 35 Impatiens..............................15, 20 Indian hawthorn............................7 Indian Hawthorne.......................20 Indian paintbrush........................15 indoor plants.........................11, 51 insecticide.7, 11, 20, 21, 28, 32, 39 insecticides.................................16 iris...................................15, 39, 43 irises...............................15, 44, 47 iron deficiency......................25, 27 Iron deficiency............................31 iron sulfate................21, 25, 27, 31 Iron sulfate..................................27 Johnny jump-ups........................47 Johnnyjumpups...........................52


journal...................................21, 63 kale...........................20, 39, 43, 47 Kocide............................16, 43, 47 kohlrabi.................................12, 45 Lacey oak...................................44 lantana....23, 24, 27, 31, 39, 51, 52 lantanas.................................19, 27 Lantanas...............................27, 35 larkspur.................................15, 52 last average freeze date...............15 latex paint.......................20, 36, 52 latex-based paint...................24, 31 lawn clippings............................24 lawn fertilizer. 7, 8, 11, 16, 17, 21, 23, 25, 31, 40, 45, 48, 52 lawn irrigation............................40 Leaf miners.................................24 leaf rollers.............................16, 20 lettuce...............................8, 13, 45 Lettuce........................................17 lettuce or spinach........................8 light summer oil.........................36 ligustrum.........................20, 36, 44 lima beans...................................37 liriope...................................12, 16 live oak.................................12, 36 living Christmas tree..............8, 52 Malathion.................16, 20, 23, 24 mallows......................................11 mandevilla....15, 19, 23, 31, 44, 47 Mandevilla..................................23 marigold.....................................31 mature height and width.............40 Mexican bush sage.....................39 Miracle Gro................................51 mist flower..................................39 mistletoe.....................................52 mockingbirds..............................11 modified central leader...............11 monarch......................................43

mondograss.....................12, 17, 20 Monterrey oak......................12, 44 Montezuma cypress,.............12, 44 More is not better.......................36 morning glory.......................23, 31 moss rose..............................19, 23 Moss rose....................................27 mountain laurel...........7, 12, 15, 16 mountain laurels.........................16 Mow the lawn.............................32 MSMA..................................17, 21 mulch....12, 16, 20, 27, 28, 29, 31, 35, 36, 40, 44, 47, 51, 52 Mulch.................21, 31, 36, 51, 52 Mulches......................................27 Mulching....................................40 mums..............................11, 16, 35 mustard.................................13, 45 nandina.......................................24 nandinas..........................11, 12, 44 Neem oil.....................................20 nematode..............................37, 45 new lawn..............................24, 36 nitrogen...........7, 12, 16, 21, 44, 48 Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K)..........................21 nitrogen fertilization.....................7 nutgrass.......................................21 nutsedge......................................21 oak wilt.................8, 16, 20, 24, 36 oaks...................................8, 12, 21 okra.....................17, 21, 25, 29, 36 Okra............................................25 old-fashioned rose................15, 17 onion.........................12, 13, 45, 48 onions.....................8, 9, 17, 48, 52 Onions........................................25 open vase shape..........................11 open-bowl shape.........................12 Orchids.......................................16


organic fertilizer...........7, 8, 21, 25 orioles.........................................19 ornamental grasses.........11, 20, 44 ornamental tree.............................8 Orthene.....................15, 16, 28, 39 Osmocote....................................23 overseed........................................8 overseeded lawn.........................12 palm............................................36 Palms..........................................36 pansies....7, 11, 15, 20, 39, 43, 47, 51, 52 parsley........................................45 peaches.........11, 12, 16, 19, 23, 43 Peaches.................................23, 28 peanuts............................17, 21, 25 pears.....................................11, 51 pecan.19, 23, 35, 36, 43, 48, 51, 52 pecan case bearer........................23 pecan tree....................................48 pecan trees................19, 35, 43, 51 pecans. 8, 12, 16, 23, 39, 43, 47, 52 pentas....................................19, 39 peppers. 12, 17, 21, 25, 29, 37, 40, 48 perennial phlox...........................15 perennials7, 11, 16, 19, 21, 23, 27, 31, 39, 43, 44, 47, 52 periwinkle...................................31 periwinkles...............19, 23, 27, 35 Peters 20-20-20..........................51 petunias...........................35, 39, 43 phlox.....................................39, 43 photinia.................................20, 36 phylloxera...................................16 pillbugs.......................................39 pines.................................8, 12, 52 pink evening primrose................15 plant new shrubs and trees.....8, 20 Plant seeds............................11, 17

plumeria................................15, 47 plums......11, 12, 19, 23, 28, 43, 51 Poinsettias.....................................7 pollination...................................25 portulaca...................19, 27, 31, 35 Pot-up.........................................12 potato............................................9 potatoes.................9, 13, 21, 28, 41 powdery mildew.........................28 Powdery mildew.........................29 pre-chilled bulbs.........................11 pre-emergent herbicides.............12 Prune hedges..............................28 prune oak trees.....8, 20, 24, 31, 52 pumpkin..........................17, 21, 32 pumpkins..............................32, 37 purple aster.................................39 purple coneflower.......................27 purple finches.............................15 purple fountain grass............19, 47 purple martins.............................23 Purple martins............................15 purslane..............19, 23, 27, 31, 35 pyracantha..........11, 20, 24, 36, 44 quince.........................................20 radish..........................................13 radishes.........12, 17, 21, 41, 45, 48 Raishes.......................................17 recommended vegetable varieties .................................................37 red-tip photinias..........................24 red-tipped photinias....................24 redbud.........................................17 reestablish.....................................8 renovate the home lawn..............28 repot......................................20, 24 rock rose.....................................44 root ball................................20, 47 root bound............................19, 35 root pruning................................44


root-bound shrubs.......................28 rose bushes.................................31 rose food...................11, 15, 16, 35 roses..7, 11, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28, 35, 36, 39, 43, 44, 47, 51 Roses..........................................23 Roundup...............................28, 45 row-cover....................................11 rye grass............................8, 45, 48 salvia...................15, 27, 31, 35, 52 salvias.........................................11 Satsuma tangerine......................47 scale..................7, 8, 12, 24, 36, 44 Scale...........................................52 seedlings.......17, 21, 32, 39, 40, 51 selective......................................40 Shade trees..................................36 shallots..........................................9 Shallow watering........................36 Shasta daisies..................39, 43, 44 Shasta daisy................................16 sheer-curtains.............................40 shrub border................................47 shrubs8, 12, 20, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 47, 48, 52 Side dress................................8, 25 side dressing...............................40 Side-dress.............7, 21, 25, 48, 52 signs of aging.............................40 Slow release fertilizers...............21 slow-release. .8, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 40, 45, 48, 52 slugs and snails.......................7, 51 Snails, slugs and pillbugs...........21 snap beans............................17, 21 Snap beans..................................25 snapdragons....7, 11, 15, 20, 39, 47 sod......................17, 29, 36, 43, 48 soil dressing................................17

solarize.......................................37 southern peas........................17, 21 Southern peas.............................25 spider mites. .27, 29, 31, 35, 40, 44 Spider mites................................51 spinach..........12, 17, 29, 45, 48, 52 Spinosad. 8, 12, 16, 20, 21, 22, 24, 29, 35, 36, 45, 48 spiraea.........................................20 spring bulbs..................................7 spring-flowering shrubs..............20 squash.....17, 21, 25, 29, 32, 37, 41 Squash........................................25 St. Augustine....21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 32, 43, 45, 48, 52 St. Augustine grass. 21, 24, 25, 29, 43, 45, 48 stinkbugs.....................................40 stock.....................................19, 24 stocks................................7, 15, 39 string trimmer.............................35 suckers..................................24, 28 sugar water...............23, 27, 31, 35 sugar-water...........................19, 43 sulphur........................................20 Summer weight oil.....................24 sunflower seeds..............15, 19, 51 sunflowers............................23, 35 sunscreen....................................31 supplemental watering....28, 34, 48 sweet corn...........17, 21, 25, 29, 41 sycamore...............................36, 44 synthetic iron chelate..................27 thinning cuts...............................11 Thinning vegetables...................22 timer on the sprinkler system.....25 titmice.........................................51 Tomato hornworms....................21 tomatoes12, 13, 17, 21, 22, 25, 29, 32, 37, 40, 53


Tomatoes..............................25, 48 top-dress.....................................12 top-dressing..................................8 topping........................................52 transplant. .7, 8, 16, 20, 23, 39, 44, 51 tropical plants.......................44, 51 trumpet vine................................39 tulip.......................................15, 43 tulips.................................7, 11, 47 tulips, daffodils, paperwhites.......7 Turk’s cap...................................39 turnip..........................................13 turnips...................................17, 45 verbena.................................16, 23 vetch.............................................8 vincas..........................................27 viola............................................47 violas..........................................43 vitex............................................35 water the lawn........................8, 32 water-soluble fertilizer. 11, 23, 39, 44 water-soluble fertilizers................7 watermelon...........................17, 21 Watermelons...............................25 watersoluble.........7, 11, 23, 39, 44 web worms...........................24, 35 webworms..................................36 Webworms.................................20

weed-and-feed..................8, 12, 17 Weed-and-feed...........................16 weed-eater..................................24 WeedBGone...............................21 weeds 11, 12, 17, 21, 27, 32, 40, 47 Weeds.........................................21 wettable sulfur............................43 whiteflies....................................44 wildflower seeds.........................47 wildflowers.....................15, 23, 43 Wildflowers................................43 winecup......................................15 winter-annual..............................47 winterizer....................................44 wisteria.......................................20 woodpeckers...............................51 woody plants..............................44 wounds.............................8, 12, 16 xeriscape...............................15, 34 xylosma......................................24 yarrow.........................................27 yaupon holly...............................11 yellow leaves..............................27 Yellowing grass leaves...............25 zinc.............................................16 zinnia..........................................31 zinnias.................19, 23, 27, 31, 35 zoysia..........................8, 28, 36, 43 Zoysia.............................21, 28, 48


CheCk out our other publiCations:

52 Weeks of Gardening The original book that tells you what to do every week of the year in the garden or lawn.

52 Weeks of Gardening Series

The Great Gardening How-to Book Over 20 detailed articles on subjects taken from the original books. Written over a period of several years.

52 Weeks of Gardening Series


Calendar/Journal A gardening guide in calendar format that tells you what to do each day in the garden/lawn. Plenty of space to write in your journal entries each month.

Drip Line Gardening with Ron Csehil A complete guide to an easy, innovative approach to intensive gardening which can be done by the novice as well as the experienced gardener.

go to www.thehillCountrygardener.Com and CliCk on page 3 or 4. About the Author Tom Harris, Ph. D., is known as The Hill Country Gardener. He is a Master Gardener currently certified by the State of Texas, a Master Pruner certified by the San Antonio Botanical Garden, and a founder and volunteer of the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas (GVST). For the Bexar County Master Gardener program, he has been the president, vice-president, editor of the newsletter, was selected Master Gardener of the Year and received honorable mention for Master Gardener of the Year for the State of Texas. He is active as a speaker and teacher for the organization as well.

In addition he teaches classes for the continuing education departments of two local school districts, writes a weekly gardening column and articles for various newspapers, magazines. He is also a gardening blogger for MYSanAntonio.com.


He is currently certified by the Square Foot Gardening Foundation Foot Gardening instructor—the first one in the State of Texas.

as a Square

Contact him at gardener@gvtc.com or visit his web site at www.thehillcountrygardener.com


To do lists revision 2011