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Garden Planner: Jul/Aug 2005

What to plant, what to prune, and what’s in bloom now in Dallas gardens.
By Becky Winn |

Garden Planner
Your July/August Gardening Checklist

Periwinkles (top left) and dahlias (above) burst forth in August.

Fortunately, Dallas climate allows for year-round planting, but, as we move into the hot summer months, it’s best to postpone major installations until the weather cools. Transplanting is hard on plants. They must work hard to establish new root systems, and searingly hot days (with little night relief) may be more than transplants can overcome. Make sure everything is adequately irrigated (including the gardener), get your fall vegetables started, and then find a shady spot to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

In Bloom
JULY Althaea, canna, crape myrtle, dianthus, gladiolus, daylilies, hibiscus, lantana, lythrum, phlox, plumbago, roses, rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan), verbena, vitex, zinnia

AUGUST Begonia, cosmos, crape myrtle, crinum, dahlia, hibiscus, impatiens, liatris, marigold, periwinkle, plumbago, portulaca, rudbeckia, shrimp plant, copper plant, verbena, zinnia

–   If you have a sprinkler system, consider adding irrigation lines to your pots and window boxes. It’s easy to do and will prevent free-standing containers from drying out on days when you can’t water them.

–   Adding water retention crystals, such as Soil Moist Granules, to hanging baskets and window boxes will help keep them from drying out quickly. In addition to regular watering,
soak hanging baskets every two weeks in a wheelbarrow (or similar vessel) filled with water.

–   Don’t let tropical plants such as caladiums and impatiens dry out; they may not fully recover.

Avoid major pruning (right) until winter.

–   Pinch chrysanthemums back to encourage branching and lots of blooming in fall.

–   Chrysanthemums, azaleas, camellias, fruit trees, Indian hawthorn, forsythia and other spring-flowering shrubs form flower buds in July and August. Keep them watered and happy now, or your blooms will suffer next spring.

–   Same with roses good care and feeding now will reward you in the fall with a lovely flush of blooms. Use Osmocote basic rose and flower food for easy and effective feeding.

–   Remove deadwood from trees and shrubs, but avoid major pruning until winter. Doing so now will only stimulate tender new growth too close to winter.

–   Start planting fall vegetables.

–   Plant, divide, and reset iris.

–   Watch crape myrtles for powdery mildew. Treat with a fungicide such as Fertiloam Systemic Fungicide or any product containing propiconazole as its active ingredient, if needed.

All products listed here are available at North Haven Gardens/Valleycrest, 7700 Northaven Rd. 214-363-5316.

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Ladybug, ladybug:

Among the most welcome insects in the garden are ladybugs, also known as lady beetles and ladybird beetles. Beautiful, abundant and beneficial, they add picturesque charm to your landscape while causing major damage to unwanted pests. These voracious little eaters have an uncanny way of showing up just when you need them most, and chow down on aphids, mites, mealybugs, scale, thrips, and other soft-bodied insects and their eggs. Learn to identify the bizarre-looking ladybug larvae as well (also called aphid lions); while adult ladybugs eat 100 aphids per day, the larvae can consume 100 aphids per hour! Note: If you buy ladybugs to release in your garden, be sure to take a few precautions to insure that they don’t just fly away. Release them at night, so they have to wait until morning to even consider flying off. Water the area where you will be releasing the ladybugs in advance to give them a water source. Drape a piece of cheesecloth or other lightweight fabric over the plants and release the ladybugs under the fabric. This will keep them from flying off before they have a chance to find the food source. Once they’ve had a chance to find the pests, you can remove the cloth.

Ladybugs are available at Redenta’s, 2001 Skillman. 214-823-9421. 6230 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville. 817-488-3525.

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Get Wet Continue to be vigilant about watering your plants and trees. If the summer is particularly hot and dry, consider watering the foundation of your house. This will prevent excessive structural movement from dry soil constriction and could save you a great deal of money down the road by avoiding foundation repairs.

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