Summertime Borderland Yard & Garden Care Tips

Weather Talk

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 12:14pm

UPDATED: Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 3:33pm

I check back in with Agriculture & Horticulture Expert Daphne Richards for advice on keeping your yard and plants looking good!

We have made it through the June excessive heat and our Borderland “monsoon” is in full swing! I have not done a lawn care and planting advice column since April so I thought there is no better time to get some summertime tips on keeping you plants happy and your yard and landscape looking good.

So I am checking in again with my plant and yard friend Daphne Richards, a County Agriculture & Horticulture expert. She now is Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Horticulture. She is originally from Lorena, Texas. She studied botany at the University of Texas (hook 'em), then taught biology and physical science to some amazing ninth graders in La Joya, Texas. She has received an award that recognizes AgriLife Extension faculty and staff members who provide outstanding performance in education or to the agency. She was presented this award Jan. 8th during the agency’s Centennial Conference in College Station. She worked 9 years in El Paso County as an Extension agent and 4 years in Travis County and now for Texas A&M. This lady knows her horticulture and plants!

I thought this would be a perfect time to share her summer advice for planting and yard maintenance for the Borderland in today's "Weather Talk".

Remove faded flowers from plants before they set seed-this will encourage them to continue flowering.

Frequent mowing (every four to five days) is best for your grass and helps reduce by preventing seed heads from forming.

Check for insects and diseases on plants, trees and shrubs. Spider mites become troublesome in the hot summer months. Look for tan speckles on lower leaves and/or spider webbing. Plants may turn brown and crisp where severe infestations occur. Hose down with a strong jet of water in a row to wash the mites off. Be very careful if applying any pesticides during warm weather this can lead to chemical burns on the leaves of you plants.

• Continue to spray roses for black spots and insects. Funginex, Rose Defense, Daconil and Captan are suitable fungicides for treatment.

If moving house plants outdoors for the summer, be careful not to place them in direct sunlight. They are no longer accustomed to such intense light and plant leaves can be severely burned.

Tomato transplants can be planted now for fall gardens. The best varieties to make it through the intense summer heat are Surefire, Celebrity, Heatwave, Merced and cherry types.

Apply a slow-release iron fertilizer to plants that are showing yellow leaves with green veins.  Be sure to keep iron fertilizer off sidewalks and other areas that could be stained.

Check any new additions to your landscape to be sure that they are getting adequate water- newly transplanted plants require more water than established ones. Hold off on planting anything by bedding plants during the summer- fall will be easier time to establish new shrubs and trees.

Check for white grubs by digging into the soil of your lawn and flower beds. These insect larvae appear about six weeks after the major June beetle flight has occurred. If you find five to seven grubs within one square foot of soil, treat with Merit or any other insecticide labeled for grub worms, Follow the labeled directions for application.

Water your garden and lawn only as needed- not necessarily on all three of your designated watering days. Give plants a thorough soaking rather than frequent light sprinklings. Be sure to avoid runoff of water into the streets.

So there you have it! Some excellent advice and tips on yard and plant care from Daphne Richards. I like you advice on not watering all three of you designated watering day especially if it has rained recently. Daphne spends most of her time helping people learn to love gardening in Texas as much as she does. When not teaching, writing or serving on various environmental boards, she may be found preaching the gospel of xeriscaping on a downtown street corner. She has a passion for plants and I will give you more of her advice in a future “Weather Talk” as we edge towards fall!

Chuck DeBroder, Chief Meteorologist
KTSM, NewsChannel 9, NBC, El Paso, TX

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