Weatherford Democrat

Local News

August 4, 2013

ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Plants best for summer planting, fall colors

Here are this week’s gardening questions and answers, provided by Parker County Master Gardeners. To submit a question, send it to pcmgaquestions@gmail.com. For more information about Parker County Master Gardeners, or to become a member, call 817-598-6096 or visit www.pcmg-texas.org.

I want to plant seeds this summer for fall color. What varieties have the best chance of success?

Zinnia, marigold, cosmos, calendula, dianthus and snap dragon are all good choices. Remember, your sprouts will have shallow roots and may require daily watering when temperature soars.

I have a large planting of Turk’s cap and want to transplant some for my yard and to give to friends. When is the best time to do this?

Turk’s cap is a perennial that spreads from seedlings that sprout at the base of the plant. Seedlings up to 6 inches tall can be transplanted throughout the growing season. Seed pods can also be collected in the fall and planted in pots or in the garden the following spring.

You want to put some thought into the placement of a new planting of Turk’s cap. The growth of this plant is slow, but persistent. It can grow up to four feet tall with virtually no limit to its outward spread.

The plant has a significant tap root with a dense root system, making it difficult to remove a mature plant. If this is your goal, I recommend moving it during winter while the plant is dormant.

Be prepared to dig a very large hole, and to have new plants sprouting from the roots that remain deep in the soil. If you want to remove the plant entirely, you will need to use multiple applications of Round Up or a comparable product containing glyphosate.

I have identified chinch bugs in my St. Augustine grass. How do I get rid of them?

Chinch bug is a black, pinhead-sized insect with irregular white diamonds on its back. An infestation will cause dry, dead spots in the hottest areas of a St. Augustine lawn. These insects infest lawns with an excessive build-up of thatch – debris between the blades of grass caused by over fertilizing and over watering.

Thatch can be controlled by fertilizing only according to label recommendations, and by limiting water to one inch per week or less. Proper mowing practices will also help.

Products that provide satisfactory control of chinch bugs contain carbaryl (Sevin) or any of the pyrethroid insecticides.

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