spring-lawn-careWelcome to busy season in the yard and garden!  It’s amazing what just a few degrees of temperature can do for the soil, and most green things just love it.  If you have been moaning about your lawn weeds, the worst is now over; all those cool-winter weeds are dying off, and if you’re lucky and have been working on it, they aren’t setting seed for next year.

Here’s a short summary of what lawn addicts should do through the coming months. This is for an organic approach, so weed & feed doesn’t apply. Late April –  spread dry molasses (10 to 20 pds. per 1000 sq. ft.), or spray liquid molasses.  June – mix the following and apply with a spreader: a slightly higher nitrogen organic fertilizer such as 8-4-6 or 6-2-4, (10 pounds per 1000 sq. ft.) and more molasses. August – if you didn’t apply mid-March, apply humates (10 pds. per 1000 sq. ft.) with a spreader. September – low nitrogen mix (6-2-4) unless you see signs of brown patch, in which case, don’t fertilize.  Use cornmeal instead (20 pds. per 1000 sq. ft.) or an organic fungicide. Winter – keep an eye out for weeds and treat as desired. Mid March – apply a low nitrogen fertilizer (6-2-4), and humates (10 pds. per 1000 sq. ft.)

Now that the soil is warm enough, here’s what you can plant in your vegetable garden in May: eggplant, cantaloupe, okra, field peas of all types, sweet potato, pumpkin, and watermelon.  Since we got a slow start, you can maybe squeeze in pepper plants and the summer and winter squashes.  Tomatoes should be in the ready-to-pick phase, at least for the early birds, but it’s also prime season for bug hatching.  The best defense is a good offense – go “small game hunting” early every morning for a few minutes, and you should catch the little buggers before they turn into huge plant eaters.  Whether it’s a dust, a spray, or a hand-held vacuum, getting the bugs off the plants is a primary goal if you want good looking, tasty fruits.

TUFF-GUARD-The-Perfect-Garden-Hose_10-Hanging-Basket-EssentialsFloral fans should be adding the following to your beds and hanging baskets now: zinnia, cosmos, cleome, impatiens, begonias, celosia, and purslane.  Vinca, or periwinkle, should never be planted until late this month; they are very susceptible to a disease and need a very warm soil to prevent it.  There are some varieties on the market now that are resistant to this disease, so check your plant information that is stuck in the pots.  And after planting, don’t forget that mulching will help conserve water, keep the soil cooler for the roots during our Texas summer, and make your beds look fresh.  The weeds are much easier to keep at bay when mulch is used.

Shrubs and small trees that were planted last fall desperately need their roots established before the heat hits.  Make sure your watering schedule gives them 1 inch per week.  A berm in a circle around the plant, preferably well out from the trunk, can create a well effect to hold the water so it seeps down to those roots.  This is a case where you don’t want to mulch close to the trunk; mulch away from the trunk to help create that dam to hold the water, and to keep the weeds away from under the canopy.

Spring blooming plants, like the azaleas, camellias, wisteria, and the roses, can be pruned now.  Don’t wait till they set new buds.  And leave the crape myrtles and other summer bloomers alone; they are in production now for flowering later in the summer.

Blackberries and blueberries reach their harvest periods about now, and some of the fruit trees, like plums, may be nearly ready, although with this crazy weather we’ve had, everything may be much slower.  As your berry bushes send up new shoots, pinch the tips so they will branch (do this when they are about 2 ½ to 3 feet high.  This will encourage more production for next year. And for any fruit and ornamental trees, hand-pulling a weed at the base is far better than having a tree die from weed-trimmer damage.  A weed-eater can eat the bark off a tree in seconds, and if the outer feeding layer is compromised, it can be death for your precious plant.

2013ypsLogoAnd if you come up with an issue in your lawn, a bug on your plant that you can’t identify, or a weed that’s taking over the flower bed, you can always call the Chambers County Agri-Life Extension Office for assistance.  They may be a little busy with Youth Project Show the first of the month, but they will do everything they can to solve your problem.  Happy gardening!

Release date: April 20, 2014

Contact: A. Lynette Parsons, 409-550-3065

– Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.