The rains have come, so will the cooler temperatures. This means that many of you want to go into the garden and start
repairing damage done by our severe temperatures and drought.
Unless you are sure that your plants are dead do not remove them. Patience over pocket book should be your mantra. Repeat after me: “Patience over pocket book. Patience over pocket book”
Sure some plants have died back, others have dropped their leaves and many have scorched tops and sides. Does this mean that they are dead? NO!
Plants may die back because they were not able to find enough moisture for the entire plant. Some plants will drop their leaves to conserve moisture. Plants with scorched leaves may have protected the rest of the plant from sunburn just like an umbrella protects us from the suns rays.
If the root of the plant is healthy then the plant will be quick to regrow. If you have a bed of Salvias that all look dead scratch or cut back a few of the plants trying to find a thin layer of green just inside the stems. Using your fingernail and applying a little bit of pressure you will be able to scratch and hopefully find the green cambium layer. Be patient, if you do not find it three inches above ground level try again at the two inch level.
Once you have determined if one of the salvia is alive try some of the others in the group. Don’t be lazy and just try nearby plants, alternate. After you have tried three or four plants and have found a layer of green indicating a healthy cambium, I would assume that the rest of the plants would also be okay. At this point you can cut back to the height where you found the plant to still be alive.
Plants that may have scorched leaves, hollies, nandinas, barberries, etc. may drop their leaves as new growth appears. You can help the plants look a little better with a light trimming to remove the scorched leaves. Before I wrote this article I took a walk around the nursery and noticed that a lot of shrubs have already produced berries for the fall, try not to prune so heavily that you remove these. Plants with berries may test your patience.
Prune carefully so that you leave winter food for the birds and other wildlife.
“Do I trim, do I pick the scorched leaves or do I wait for them to fall of?”
There will be a lot to do other then worry about scorched leaves on plants so take the easy way out. PATIENCE! Dead leaves will fall off or be pushed off by emerging new growth.
You just read in the last sentence the words: “There will be a lot to do.”
I bet those words scared you. Yes, there is a lot to do other then worry about scorched leaves.
One of the hardest task but also one of the most beneficial is to add compost and mulch to all beds and lawns.
Heat breaks down organic matter. Those of you, who neglected, for whatever reason, to apply compost over your beds and lawns, should make it a must thing to do. Even if you applied compost and mulch earlier in the year, most of that compost has broken down.
Natures Blend Compost by Back To Nature has become one of my favorite products to use on the lawn. Not only does it have composted manure and alfalfa, it also contains Humate. And as many of you know Humate is my preferred mineral additive. Humate is petrified compost that contains different trace minerals and humic acid. Humate works as an effective soil enhancer, a chelating agent and a disease suppressant.
Humic Acid can improve the uptake and utilization of plant food elements, help plants develop vigorous root systems and assist in the process of photosynthesis.
CHELATION in soil increases nutrient availability to plants. Organic substances in the soil either applied or produced by plants or microorganisms are the natural chelating agents.
Research has also shown that humates can absorb pesticides and reduce damage by soil-borne pathogens and insects. Use Humates in area where you may suspect pesticde use. Ie. Area adjoining neighbors side yard.
Humate should be applied to all soils and can be added to soils where you have recently composted. Spraying the foliage with Humic Acid products will help enhance plants color and it’s ability to recover from heat related stress. Of course there are hundreds if not thousands of websites that have information about humate. We get our humate from a company called Earthgreen Humate. I would suggest that you do some research on your own.
When organic matter becomes depleted soils can collapse and become very compacted. Compacted soils become difficult to work with and make root growth difficult if not impossible. In compacted soils you may have stunted root growth or roots that cannot grow out of the specific area where they were planted. Try to remember the last time you tried digging a hole in your lawn. How hard was it for you to dig through our black gumbo? Now imagine if you were a plant root no wider then a hair. This hair does not have the massive muscles that you have, the brute strength or desire to plant something new and unlike you, who always finish a project without complaint, the root becomes lazy and decides not to go forward. Instead it takes the lazy way out and confines itself to the area where it was left off by you, a passing bird or a wandering animal. Here it may not be able to grow because the soil is harder then concrete.
Yes, there is a product that will help you alleviate the problem. Green Sense Lawn and Garden Microbial Treatment. This product contains live microbes, urea and Humic Acid that will decrease soil compaction and allow moisture penetration. Of course this translates to easy growth by roots into once impenetrable soil. We get our product from AMS. I again suggest that you read more about this and other products that contain Humic Acids and live microbes that will be able to aid in lawn restoration and remediation of a variety of unwanted contaminants from the soil.
If you have been using chemical fertilizers or insecticides and herbicides and are afraid to send you kids or grandkids to play in the lawn Green Sense Lawn & Garden Microbial Treatment will be a perfect tool to help rid your soils of containments while beautifying your landscape.
Instead of using chemical fertilizers, switch over to organic fertilizers. Green Sense All Natural Fertilizers brings life to your soil without harming beneficial insects and vital soil organisms. Measure your lawn and be sure to apply Green Sense at a rate of 20 lbs per thousand square feet.
Corn gluten meal is normally applied around September 15th. Due to the heat and drought conditions I am going to wait until October before recommending corn gluten meal. When I apply CGM, I combine humate to insure a balanced feeding for the fall application.
In a few weeks you will be able to see what areas of your landscape may have to be redone. You will also be able to see if your lawn has died or if it simply went dormant. When you decide what is DEAD or ALIVE do not rush in to making a quick fix.
HERE AT Rohde’s Nursery we do have two gardening groups that meet on a regular basis.
On the first Sunday of every month we have a meeting of The Garland Organic Club. Because of Labor Day
they will not meet in September.
On the third Sunday of every month we have a meeting of The Native Plant Society of Texas, Garland Chapter. For more information contact Antonia at 972-635-2757 or visit www.npsot.org/garland. I do not have the schedule for the Native Plant meeting, but I usually forward their announcement to those who have signed up for notices.
This is where I highly recommend that you visit your local nursery instead of your discount stores that sell everything from baby diapers to roofing materials. Moe often then not these stores have a large department that does the buying for the entire nation from one central area. The United States is divided in to Hardiness Zones indicating temperature ranges down to individual counties.
In Dallas we are in Zone 8. If a plant does well from zone 4 to zone 10 then it should do well in our area. If it has a zone 10 or a zone 6 only I would stay away form those plants. Our area may be to hot in the summer for a plant that does well in a zone 6 (Missouri) or to cold in the winter for a plant that does well in zone 10 (Brownsville, TX).
Pay attention not only to the hot and cold variances but also to the soils that the plant prefers to be in. There is a big difference between sandy soils and clay soils. Knowing if you have acid or alkaline soils can be the difference between a healthy low maintenance plant and a high maintenance creature such as my wife. “Someone take her please!”
You can save a lot of backaches and money by doing your homework. Contact a landscape architect such as Carol Feldman. You can call her direct at 972-980-1730.
Sally Sutton is our in house designer and is very familiar with native and drought tolerant plants she is not a architect like Carol and concentrates on the smaller design that do not involve soil drainage and a lot of hardscape. You can reach Sally by calling Rohde’s at 972-864-1934.
Of course if you come into Rohde’s with photos of your problem areas we can help you while you wait. Busiest times of course are Saturdays and Sundays.
Check out seminars offered by The Texas Discovery Gardens at the Fair Park in Dallas
Or: WILDSCAPING FOR WILDLIFE WORKSHOP
The North Texas Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists invites you to take part in a workshop on creating your own wildlife habitat in the North Texas area.
Saturday, September 16th 9:00 am-2:00 pm
At the Texas A&M University Research Extension Center at Dallas
17360 Coit Road, Dallas, TX 75252 (McCallum @ Coit)
Topics to be covered include:
- What is a Wildscape? with Bobette Brasfield, North Texas Master Naturalist
- Wildscape Design with Dave & Christy Ilfrey of Native Texas Gardens Designs
- Using Native Plants with Donna Simon, president elect of NPSOT, Garland Chapter
- Composting with Deb Bliss of Sustainability and Environmental Services Department in Plano
- Ponds & Water Features with Steve Moeller from Water Gardens Galore
In addition, you may tour two nearby residential wildscapes and a demonstration garden outside the Extension Center.
Workshop cost $10.00
Please bring brown bag lunch. Drinks are provided
RSVP by September 9th to assure your spot.
For registration or additional information please call: Natha Taylor, 214-503-6052 or Linda Hannigan, 214-350-5811.
Make check payable to North Texas Master Naturalist and send now c/o
4456 Brox Ct. Plano, TX 75093