Are you itching to back into the Garden?

Here are a few timely tips

• Hot-weather annuals. Caladiums can finally be planted. Coleus, begonias, angelonias, Dahlberg daisies, fanflowers, pentas, lantanas, purple fountaingrass, ‘Cora’ periwinkles (because of their resistance to disease), alternantheras, ornametal sweet potatoes.
• Perennials for summer color. Nurseries have excellent selections.
• Plant SOD now! It’s the best time.
• Last call to reshape your spring-flowering shrubs and vines. Do so lightly, however, because they’ve already produced a lot of new growth. Try to avoid unnatural square or round shapes.
• Pinch growing tips out of fall asters, Mexican bush sage, mums, copper plants, coleus and other plants that tend to grow tall and lanky if you do not.
• Prune to remove spent rose blooms as they drop their petals. If you are in the North Texas/DFW area, give your rose plants a close check for rose rosette virus and remove the plants immediately and entirely if you see it. Here’s our blog on it:
• Apply high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen plant food to trees, shrubs, vines, groundcovers, annuals, perennials and turf. Yep! The same fertilizer will probably suffice with all of the plants that you’re growing. The Texas A&M Soil Testing Lab has been preaching that gospel for many years. Most of our soils have excessive amounts of phosphorus already.
• Patio pots and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen fertilizer every week or two. Supplement it with a long-lasting, timed-release product.
• Use iron/sulfur soil acidifier product to correct iron deficiency. (Yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth first.)
• Chiggers are abundant in bermuda that has not been mowed recently, also in weeds in fields, roadsides and even parks. Apply DEET repellent to your legs and feet, also to the outsides of your socks and shoes. They are microscopic, but their itch is as big as Texas. 
• Same DEET repellent is the best way to deter mosquitoes. Yes, there are other ways of keeping them from biting you, but they’re not as dependable. With potentially fatal viruses involved, I’m going to give my family the product that is most likely to protect them.
• Dead St. Augustine (in full sunlight) should be replaced with plugs planted into the bare areas.
• Blossom-end rot is already showing on tomatoes. The ends of the fruit farthest from the stems are becoming sunken and turning dried and brown. This is almost always due to irregular and insufficient water. In very sandy soils it’s also possible that a shortage of calcium can add to the problem.
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