Yard and Garden

By Tom Dominguez

Here’s a checklist of item for your yard and garden through July and August:
During this season of hot weather, extra care should be given to watering plants thoroughly and deeply.

Caladiums require plenty of water at this time of the year if they are to remain lush and active until fall. Fertilize with 21-0-0 at the rate of l/3 to l/2 pound per 100 square feet of bed area and water thoroughly.

Don’t allow plants with green fruit or berries to suffer from lack of moisture. Hollies will frequently drop their fruit under drought conditions.

Prune out dead or diseased wood from trees and shrubs. Hold off on major pruning from now until midwinter. Severe pruning now will only stimulate tender new growth prior to frost.

Sow seeds of snapdragons, dianthus, pansies, calendulas, and other seasonal cut flowers in flats for planting outside during mid to late fall.

Time to divide spring-flowering perennials such as iris, Shasta or ox-eye daisy, gaillardia, cannas, day lilies, violets, liriope, and ajuga.
Plant bluebonnets and other spring wildflowers. They must germinate in late summer or early fall, develop good root systems, and be ready to grow in spring when the weather warms. Plant seed in well prepared soil, l/2 inch deep, and water thoroughly.

Make selections and place your order for spring-flowering bulbs, to arrive in time for planting in October and November.

A late-summer pruning of rose bushes can be beneficial. Prune out dead canes and any weak, brushy type of growth. Cut back tall, vigorous bushes to about 30 inches. After pruning, apply a complete fertilizer, and water thoroughly. If a preventive disease-control program has been maintained, your rose bushes should be ready to provide an excellent crop of flowers this fall.

Establish a new compost pile to accommodate the fall leaf accumulation.

Picking flowers frequently encourages most annuals to flower even more abundantly.

It is not too late to set out another planting of many warm-season annuals such as marigolds, zinnias, and periwinkles. They will require extra attention for the first few weeks, but should reward you with color during late September, October and November.

Continue pruning fall blooming perennials through August. Chrysanthemums, Mexican Bush Sage, Copper Canyon daisies, autumn asters and cigar plant cuphea (Cuphea macropetala) all benefit from light pruning (remove top growth of 4 – 6 inches) at this time.

Question of the Week
What can I do about grasshoppers? They’re devouring my plants.
Spray with a general-purpose insecticide. It’s best to use a hose-end sprayer with a sweeping motion applied over the tops of the plants. That way you’ll catch the grasshoppers as they try to fly away. Cut any tall grass and weeds that might be harboring them nearby and ask that your neighbors do likewise.

Tom Dominguez is an agent with the Quay County Extension, NMSU Extension Service.