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The Ellis County Master Gardeners have provided the following tips and other information on what to be planting and doing now in your yards and gardens. Check out each month’s information online at https://txmg.org/ellis/.

PLANTING

• Plant heat-loving annuals including copper plant, firebush, gomphrena, lantana, pentas, purple fountain grass and ornamental sweet potato in sunny areas.

• In shady spots, plant caladiums, begonias, coleus, impatiens (mildew-resistant types).

• Seeds of celosia, cosmos, marigold, morning glory, portulaca and zinnia can be sown directly in the beds. Keep the seeded area moist until seeds germinate.

• Achimenes, cannas, dahlias and other summer flowering bulbs can be planted now.

• Establish new lawns before summer heat sets in. Sow seeded varieties of Bermuda grass early in the month or sod Bermuda or Saint Augustine grass. Water daily for the first few weeks to develop a good root system.

FERTILIZING AND PRUNING

• Feed fruit trees, perennials, annuals, ground covers and vines with a lawn fertilizer (3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio).

• Fertilize tomatoes and most other vegetables every other week for productive and vigorous plants.

• Manually thin the fruit on peaches, pears, plums and apples to 5-6 inches apart early in the month.

• Prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines soon after flowering. Keep the natural shape of the plant in mind as you prune and avoid excessive cutting except where necessary to control size. • Deadhead roses and other reblooming plants.

• Allow foliage of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs to mature and yellow before removing.

GARDEN WATCH

• Allow bluebonnets and other reseeding, annual wildflowers to die and the seeds to dry before mowing the stubble. Delay mowing until the end of the growing season if other wildflowers are growing in the area.

• Check tomatoes for signs of early blight (yellow blotches on lower leaves). Apply a labeled fungicide if needed. Keep soil adequately moist to prevent blossom-end-rot (browned tissue on the bloom end of fruit).

• Look for squash

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bugs in early morning. Destroy eggs found on underside of leaves by hand. Vegetable pests can often be controlled by mechanical, biological or organic means rather than by synthetic pesticides.

• Watch for bagworms on junipers and other narrow-leafed evergreens. Apply Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) or general insecticide at first sign of larval feeding. Remember that once the bag has formed, your only option is to manually pull them off.

• Make initial application of Image or SledgeHammer to control nutsedge in established warm-season lawns.

EXTREME GARDENING TOPICS:

Extreme Use of Fish – Aquaponics is a soilless combination of fish and plant production using aquaculture and hydroponic systems. The fish supply an all-natural fertilizer source and then are harvested as a food source. Tilapia is the most common type of fish used in this production with catfish being second. Aquaponics uses one-sixth the amount of water to grow eight times more food compared to traditional agriculture and, by eliminating soil, soil bore diseases are also eliminated.

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