Ask the Master Gardeners: August 2013
Guadalupe County Master Gardeners is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Q: I am planning on planting a couple of shade trees in the fall. How do I know what kind is best for this area?
A: Now is a wonderful time to drive around and look at which trees are flourishing. My personal favorites are the Monterrey oak and the cedar elm, both of which are oak wilt resistant trees. There are many resistant trees. Others I like include the pecan, walnut, bur oak, chinquapin oak, and lacey oak. The 'Fan Tex' ash is resistant, but mine has not done well. It was planted at the same time as my live oak and is smaller, not as full, and generally unhealthy looking. You might consider planting one of the larger crape myrtles. Nothing is prettier this time of year than the large crape myrtles surrounding TLU. Remember that it is best to plant several types of trees, not all one variety.
Q: Can I do anything to keep my crape myrtles blooming?
A: According to Doug Welsh in his Texas Garden Almanac, you can deadhead the plants or remove the old blooms. This will prevent the setting of seed and will extend the blooming period. Do not cut any branches with a diameter larger than a pencil. You are only extending the bloom, not pruning.
Q: I have my fall tomatoes and peppers planted now. What other fall vegetable should be planted in August?
A: Many vegetables can go in this month including bush beans, lima beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, garlic, lettuce (late August), parsley, peas, potatoes, radishes, squash and turnips. I usually wait on broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower until I can buy the transplants in the nursery. I have already planted my Swiss chard (way too early), although I planted the seeds in a pot protected from the afternoon sun.
Q: My roses are not pretty. What can I do to get them blooming again this fall?
A: August is the time to prune roses. However, you are not pruning anywhere near as much as you did in late winter. Only take off about twenty-five percent of the bush, making sure to remove the old blooms. Doug Welsh prunes like my husband (with hedge clippers), then shapes the bushes. If you have black spots on your rose leaves, remove the leaves. I only see these on the rose bush that gets hit with the sprinkler at four in the morning. Welsh suggests fertilizing with nitrogen in mid August, then watering the plants thoroughly.
FYI: There is lots of poison ivy around this year. I've seen it in Starcke Park, Walnut Springs Park, and even one or two plants out in back of my house. Be vigilant. Remember: do not burn the plant. The compound urushiol will get in the smoke and bother you and your neighbors. Sensitivity to poison ivy ranges from an isolated skin rash, to whole body breakouts, to lung inflammation.
Clara Mae Marcotte is a Texas Master Gardener with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. If you have a question to be answered, call the Master Gardeners at 830-379-1972 or leave a message to be answered. The website is guadalupecountymastergardeners.org. The Master Gardener research library is open Mondays from 8:30 to noon, on the second floor of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension building, 210 East Live Oak in Seguin.