Organic Matters

The Online Newsletter from Rohde’s Nursery and Nature Store and Green Sense Fertilizers

Rohde’s June 2017 Organic Gardening Calendar

  1. PREFACE
  2. VEGETABLES
  3. HERBS
  4. FLOWERS
  5. ORNAMENTAL_GRASSES
  6. TREES_SHRUBS_VINES
  7. LAWN_TURF_GRASSES_GROUND_COVERS
  8. GENERAL_PESTS_DISEASES
  9. OTHER_THINGS_TO_DO_THIS_MONTH

 

We are in USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 8a with an annual minimum temperature of 15 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit,
and in Texas AgriLife Extension Service District 4 (East Region) - North (Dallas
): http://dallas.tamu.edu/.
Our soil is predominantly blackland prairie clay or "Houston Black" officially with areas of sandy Cross Timber soils north, east, and through parts of Ft Worth's Tarrant County. (
http://www.soils4teachers.org/files/s4t/k12outreach/tx-state-soil-booklet.pdf)

Plant heat zones for Dallas-Ft Worth: The zones give the average number of days a year that an area has over 86 degrees temperatures. The temperature many plants apparently become affected by heat. Click here for more information: http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/plant_heat_zones.html.

AHS Plant Heat Zone Map;. Dallas, Ft Worth, north, west,&  south is zone 9 (120-150 days). Rockwall, north & east is zone 8 (90-120 days).
Plant Maps Interactive Heat Zones Map for Texas; Dallas Ft Worth is also in zones 8 (91-120 days > 86°F ) or zone 9 (121-150 days > 86°F)
Sunset Climate Zones; We are in ZONE 33. North-Central Texas and Oklahoma Eastward to the Appalachian Foothills

First Day of Summer or Summer Solstice begins on Monday, June 20, 2017 at 11:24 pm CDT (Central Daylight Savings Time).
"Solstices & Equinoxes for Dallas"; http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/seasons.html?n=70.

NOAA's Weather Forecast:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html

EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION

issued by

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS

and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society

11 May 2017

ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active

Synopsis: ENSO-neutral and El Niño are nearly equally favored during the Northern Hemisphere summer and fall 2017.

While pacific ocean waters are showing an El Niño presences, the atmosphere is less so, and with the possibility of the El Niño effect not lasting long enough to cause a fully active El Niño, NOAA is calling it a 50/50 chance for the summer and fall.

The summer temperature will have a 40% chance to be above normal while the summer precipitation will have a 33% chance to be above normal.

NOAA 2017 Atlantic and East Pacific Hurricane Season Outlook
Issued: 25 May 2017

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.shtml
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/Epac_hurr/Epac_hurricane.html

PREFACE

May is the rainiest month of the year on average with 4.90” of rain, but we only had 0.70” at DFW airport for May. I've seen the rain run into June though to make up for May and more rain is expected: http://w2.weather.gov/climate/getclimate.php?wfo=fwd.

We are still seeing problems with fungus infections on plants and chlorosis or yellowing of leaves on plants and grass.

Fungal infections are due to the cool moist weather we have in spring. There is not a good cure for fungus once you get it. Most chemicals and organic products work best as a preventative. Once you get it, control of the disease is what you aim for until the climate changes to hinder the fungus conditions. Call or come by for organic fungal control products we carry. Washing your plants off with soap and water to remove fungal spores and bacteria may help in prevention just as your mother told you to do with your hands when you came inside from playing in the dirt. You can use Ivory, Dawn, Lemon Joy dish washing soap without the bleaches and anti-bacterial stuff in it with a pump sprayer or hose end sprayer.

The yellowing is due to the plant not being able to take the minerals needed to make chlorophyll, the green pigment used for photosynthesis.  Usually it is due to stress on the roots that slow down their ability to absorb minerals.  It can be caused by compacted soil that doesn't let oxygen to the roots to keep them working. Excessive rain will do this too. Hot dry weather, high soil alkalinity, lack of nutrients, too much of some nutrients that throw the soil mineral balance off, root diseases or insects like fungus or grubs, or nice cool moist weather that causes the plants to outgrow their roots temporarly.

For immediate relief of yellowing or chlorosis, spray plant foliage with our Chelated Liquid Iron spray. The plants can take in the most important minerals needed to make chlorophyll in a form that is absorbed through their leaves, bypassing the roots. This is the fastest way of treating chlorosis.

Slower but longer lasting solutions are to top dress or mulch everything with compost and to aerate the lawn. Greensand can add more iron and other minerals to insure there is enough for the plants, but don't overdo it either. A soil test is the best way to know how much of what you need. For potted plants, lawn grasses, vegetables, annual flowers all need regular organic fertilizing.

Aeration and Compost Top Dressing Lawns:
June is when we normally like to start aeration and compost top dressing lawns. These are the two best things you can do for your lawn whether you are organic or not. This is critical in our compacted clay soils. You are trying to change the soil to fit the grass. The grasses like garden soils if you haven't noticed it sweeping through your vegetable and flower beds. You normally do this once every year or when you can. The more you do it the better the lawn will be.  This month would be a very good time to do it again. Core aeration pulls plugs out of the ground to let grass roots fill in and to let compost work deeper into the soil. Compost releases and holds on to minerals already in the soil for easy use by plants, it will reintroduce and strengthen your soil microbes, and it will adjust your soil pH to more neutral levels that most plants like.  Compost breaks down to a semi-permanent compound called humus. This is what chemically and physically makes your soil, great soil. It helps open up the soil to oxygen, improves excess drainage and water retention.

For faster help in aerating and feeding trees, we recommend our Deep Root Soil Injection Service. We inject soluble organic nutrients and minerals along with air around either side of the drip line of trees where the majority of feeder roots lie.

Call if you are interested in having Rohde’s to do any of this for you. Our bulk compost is a very good buy, and our prices on aeration should make even the most rabid of do-it-yourselfers think twice about doing it themselves.

VEGETABLES & ANNUAL FRUITS

Bugs will be coming now that it is warm. You need to go out daily or every other day to look.

Check for white flies with our yellow sticky trap to monitor for them. White flies hit quickly and stealthy. Use horticultural oils for the nymphs and garlic spray for the adults.

Look for squash bugs and squash borers. To get ahead of them, practice prevention. Keep old crops cleaned up as soon as you finished harvesting. Keep places the squash bugs like to overwinter under like boards, wood piles, loose mulch, leaves, stones, or other junk cleaned up. Turn or till the soil lightly before planting to interrupt the squash borers' winter live cycle in the soil. Once you have planted squash you can start spraying with Bt on the bases for the borers, and spray garlic/pepper teas for squash bugs and other bugs. Look under the leaves for the squash bugs eggs and squish them. See https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/download.php?id=138.

If you get squash borers, covering the stems with dirt and applying nematodes may control them. Cutting then out of the stems or squirting Bt or Spinosad into the stem may help. Rohde’s has garlic extract in bottles and nematodes in two sizes. My first squash planting were decimated by squash borers. I tried again with 2 of the sweetest winter squashes developed for folks up north that couldn't grow sweet potatoes; Winter Burgess Buttercup (Cucurbita maxima), and Winter Delicata Honeyboat (Cucurbita pepo). Burgess went on the outside of the garden where the squash borers found them first and the Honeyboat inside the Burgess hiding. The Burgess were wiped out by the borers but I was sick from having to eat all of the Honeyboat squash. In the link above, the C. Maxima are a little more preferred to the C. pepo by the borers. As a customer told me, I would have to make a circle of Burgess around the one for me next time.

Even, consistent, watering is critical for vegetables to develop their best harvest. When you are out looking for bugs, stick your finger or bare stick into the ground. If you don’t feel moist soil or see damp wood on the stick 2 inches down, you probably need to water. Mulch your gardens 3"-4" deep but not right up against the plants, to conserve moisture.

Spray liquid fertilizers twice a month, like Green Sense Fish Emulsion, GS Fish and Kelp, Aunt Rohde’s Compost Tea, or GS Foliar Juice. Add GS Garlic Extract to help repeal bugs and help control fungal problems, or one of our pest control plant oil products if needed. Use GS Lawn and Garden pelletized fertilizer to water-in, or one of our other granular fertilizers to side-dress or mixed into the soil. Do this once a month in your garden.

Rohde's carry organic products for most any insect or disease problem you may have and all of the fertilizers you need.

June is when you start seeds for transplanting in July for the fall season. So you can start new crops again in July or just let the late spring crops run into the fall as long as they will go. June is normally in-between the spring and fall planting seasons. You can sow cantaloupe, eggplant, parsnips, large “jack-o-lantern” pumpkin varieties, and watermelon seeds in the middle of June. Pre-started transplants may be hard to find now, particularly the specific varieties you may want. So you need to buy seeds.

Use the following list to plan for your fall garden. Dates are for seeds unless specified: S=Seed, T=Transplants.

Vegetable

Soil Temperatures

Fall Planting
Dates

Min

Optimum
Range

Max

Artichoke (Globe) (Cynara scolymus)

25, 45

>50, 70-80

>85 dormant

Aug 1 (S)
Oct 1 (T)

Beans, Lima Bush (Phaseolus limensis var. limenanus)

60

65-85

85

Jul 26 - Aug 31

Beans, Lima Pole (Phaseolus limensis)

60

65-85

85

Aug 15 - Sep 20

Beans, Pinto (Phaseolus vulgaris)

60

60-85

95

Aug 1 - Sep 20

Beans, Snap Bush (Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis)

55-60

60-85

95

Aug 1 - Sep 20

Beans, Snap Pole (Phaseolus vulgaris)

55-60

60-85

95

Jul 26 - Aug 31

Beans, Yellow Bush (Phaseolus vulgaris var. humilis)

60

60-85

95

Aug 1 - Sep 20

Beets (Beta vulgaris)

40-45

50-85

95

Sep 6 - Sep 30

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), plants

40

45-85

90

Jul 26 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea)

40

68-75

85

Aug 9 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), plants

40-50

45-95

100

Jul 26 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Cabbage, Chinese (Brassica pekinensis)

50

50-80

100

Aug 9 - Aug 23 (S)
Aug 23 - Sep 15 (T)

Cantaloupe Muskmelon (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis)

60-70

75-95

95-100

Jun15 - Aug 9

Carrot (Daucus carota var. sativus)

40-50

45-85

90-95

Aug 9 - Sep

Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis), plants

40

45-85

90-100

Jul 26 - Sep 6 (S)
Aug 20 - Sep 15 (T)

Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum) Grown like celery

40

70-75

85

Mid, Late Summer(T)

Celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce)

40

60-70

85

Mid, Late Summer(T)

Chard, Swiss (Beta vulgaris var. cicla)

40

50-85

95-100

Jul 26 - Sep 15

Collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

40-50

60-70

85

Aug 23 - Sep 20

Corn, Sweet (Zea mays var. saccharata)

50-65

60-95

100-105

Aug 1 - Aug 23

Cucumber, Pickling (Cucumis sativus)

60-65

60-95

90-105

Aug 1 - Sep 6

Cucumber, Slicing (Cucumis sativus)

60-65

60-95

90-105

Aug 1 - Sep 6

Eggplant (Solanum melongena var. esculentum)

60-65

75-90

90-95

Jun 15 - Jul 1 (S)
Jul 1 - Aug 23 (T)

Garlic (Allium sativum)

 

<65

85

Sep 15 - Oct 18

Tyfon Or Holland Greens (hybrid of Chinese cabbage x stubble turnip)

 

 

 

Aug 25 - Oct 1

Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

40-50

70-75

90-100

Aug 15 - Oct 15

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)

40-50

70-75

90

Jul 26 - Aug 23

Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum ), seeds

40

60-70

90

Sep 10 - Oct 1 (S)
Oct 1 - Nov 1 (T)

Lettuce, Butterhead (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Lettuce, Cos or Romaine (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

70-85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Lettuce, Head (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Lettuce, Leaf (Lactuca sativa)

35-40

40-80

70-85

Aug 9 - Oct 15

Mustard (greens) (Brassica juncea)

40

45-85

105

Jul 26 - Sep 6

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

60-75

70-95

105

Jul 26 - Aug 23

Onion, Bulbing (Allium cepa)
    Seeds/Transplants (Slips) for this year bulbs

35-50

50-95

90-95

Sep 1 - Oct 15 (S)
N.R. (T)

Onion, Bunching [Scallions] (Allium cepa)
    Seeds/Transplants (Sets) for scallions this year

35-50

50-95

90-95

Sep 1 - Oct 15 (S,T)

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

40-50

50-85

90

Jul 26 - Oct 4

Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

35

50-70

85-90

May - Jun

Peas, English (Pisum sativum)

40

40-75

80-85

Aug 23 - Nov 1

Peas, Southern (Vigna unguiculata var. unguiculata)

>65

>65

 

Jul 1 - Sep 6

Pepper, Hot (Capsicum annuum var. longum)

55-60

65-95

90-95

Jul 1 - Aug 23

Pepper, Bell (Capsicum annuum var. grossum)

55-60

65-95

90-95

Jul 1 - Aug 23

Potato, Irish (Solanum tuberosum), seed

45-50

>40->50

 

Jul 26 - Aug 9

Potato, Sweet (Ipomoea batatas) (Slips)

>65

>65

 

N.R.

Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo var. pepo)

60

70-90

100

Lrg: Jun 15 - Jul 15
Sml: Jul 15 - Aug 15

Radish (Raphanus sativus)

40

45-90

90-95

Sep 20 - Nov 15

Rutabaga (Brassica napus var. napobrassica)

40

45-85

 

Aug 1 - Oct 15

Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis)

 

 

 

Maybe Sep or Fall

Shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum) (like onions)

 

45-95

 

Sep 1 - Oct 15 (S,T)

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

35-40

45-75

85-100

Jul 26 - Nov 1

Spinach, Malabar (Basella alba) vine

 

65-75

90’s

Aug

Spinach, New Zealand (Tetragonia tetragonoides)

 

70-75

 

50 to 70 days to
harvest, so can
plant till Aug 15.

Squash, Summer (Cucurbita pepo var. melopepo)

60

70-95

100-105

Aug 1 - Aug 23

Squash, Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo)

60

70-95

100-105

Aug 1 - Aug 23

Squash, Winter (Cucurbita moschata)

60

70-95

100-105

Jul 1 - Aug 23

Tomatoes, Large-Fruited (Lycopersicon esculentum)

50-60

60-85

95-100

Jul 1 - Aug 23

Tomatoes, Small-Fruited (L. esculentum var. cerasiforme)
& Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa)

50-60

60-85

95-100

Jul 1 - Aug 23

Turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapifera)

40

60-105

100-105

Aug 1 - Nov 1

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

60-70

70-95

105-110

Jun 15 - Aug 9

See http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Rohdes_Planting_Dates,_Spring_Fall.htm for the whole planting charts with explanations of columns, sources, and other information.

Fruits we still have include Asian Persimmons, Pears, Peaches, Apples, Plums, Grape vines, Blackberry and Rasberry vines, Almond trees, Jujubes, Fruiting Mulberries, Goji Berries (a good tasting purported superfruit), Native Paw Paw trees (sex unknown but need both), Figs, Dwarf Fig trees (grows 6ft tall in a pot with very good fruit), Pomegranates, Texas Persimmons both male and female, Hardy Kiwi vines (both sex, Meader & Anna in a very ornamental pink, white, and green variegated leaf vine with small pretty fragrant cream colored flowers that you and the cats should love.)

HERBS

We still have an excellent selection of warm season and perennial herbs.
Cool season herbs like dill, parsley, cilantro, fennel and such are host for swallowtail butterfly larvaare coming to the end as it warms up. Plant the perennial Rue which they also like and is quite hardy here.

FLOWERS

We have the popular and recommended annuals and perennials along with Texas natives, wildflowers, and some unusual plants.
Plant milkweed for the Monarchs and Queens. We have the tropical annual Mexican milkweed and perennial Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed), Asclepias asperula (Antelope horns), and Asclepias verticillata (Whorled milkweed) milkweeds.

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

Rohde’s carries a large selection of varieties that do well here.
Spring planting is better than fall planting as it allows for the roots to develop before winter giving the grass better cold hardiness, but May is went you plant or seed lawns so now is still a good time to plant ornamental grasses while the rain last. When it stops, don’t forget to check on watering.

TREES, SHRUBS, & VINES

Planting:

While fall and winter is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs, it’s still ok to do so now. You just want to get them in the ground as soon as possible to allow the roots to start becoming established before the stress of the hottest part of summer comes. You will have to wait till after the rains and the soil dries. Working wet soil will destroy the structure and aeration, making it hard and compacted. After planting, you will have to go out each day and stick a bare piece of wood like a stake where you can see moisture on it or make a hole to stick a finger into the root ball area to see if it is moist 2 inches down. Root ball will dry out before surrounding soil will. If not you will need to water. You will soon be able to judge when to check for watering with experience, but you will need to watch it for at least 3 months. Drought tolerant trees may need a couple of years to become established before they are really drought tolerant. Shrubs and perennials can take a year.

Rohde’s specializes in native trees and some of my favorites are in stock now:

·         American (or Texas) Smoke tree Cotinus obovatus Raf.: Has wispy panicles of small pinkish flowers that look like smoke around the plant from a distance and light pink to bluish green leaves in spring turning bright oranges and reds in fall. http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=COOB2.

·         Montezuma Cypress Taxodium mucronatum: One of the best climbing trees next to an Athel tree (Tamarix aphylla) that doesn’t grow this far north. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=tamu.

·         Lacey Oak tree Quercus laceyi: Is a small to medium size tree with smaller white oak shaped leaves that turn a cool unusual peach color in spring and fall. http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=qula.

·         Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum Viburnum rufidulum: We only have 1 gallon size, but they are very hard to find as they are hard to propagate, and grows slow. But they have clusters of pretty small white flowers in the spring that turn into clusters of blue to black fruit, and nice glossy leaves in summer that turn very nice shades of red in the fall. It is also a drought resistant understory tree for sun or part shade. It has everything folks want and so are very popular when available. My one gallon plants seem to be growing fairly quickly and may double in size this year. http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=viru.

Rohde’s has  many more native trees and shrub also.

Pruning:

Prune spring flowering trees, shrubs, and vines like Althea, Azaleas, Camellias, Forsythia, flowering or ornamental fruit trees, Hydrangeas, Indian Hawthorn, Mountain Laurel, Quince, Rose vines, Spirea, Wisteria, Weigela, etc, after they bloom if needed.

Don’t prune Oaks trees that are susceptible to Oak Wilt disease unless there is storm damage. The insect disease carrier, the Sap Beetle, will be active. It is very important to apply Rohde’s Green Sense Tree Goop to the wounds immediately and to insure it stays on for 2 days till the wound’s sap hardens. Wait until it is the hottest in July or August and the coldest in January or February.

Roses

Fertilize each month as with flowers and vegetables. Rose are not drought tolerant so check them for water more often during the summer.

LAWN, TURF GRASSES & GROUND COVERS

June is plenty warm to give good growth from sod, plugs, or grass seed, but you need to pay a lot of attention to watering. You will have to water at least twice a day and maybe 3 or 4 times to keep seed moist during 90 degree days.

You can still plant groundcovers and borders. If you find you can’t grow grass under your trees, plant some of the many ground covers Rohde’s sells. Don’t plant it right up against trees to keep the root flare exposed.

Whatever you do, don’t leave the soil bare. At least cover it with compost.

Fertilize

If you didn’t fertilize in the last 3 or 4 months, do so now with Green Sense All Purpose Lawn & Garden Fertilizer, and every 3 or 4 months from now on. It takes about three to four months for soil microbes to substantially break down any organic compost or fertilizer. Some folks don't think they need to mow and fertilize their grass. Maybe not, but non-native lawn grasses do need additional nutrients to grow thick. You can achieve this with regular yearly compost top dressing and always mulching the grass and leaves back into the lawn, but fertilizing is easier. Mowing causes the grass to spread out instead of growing taller. Thin growing grass, native or not, will invite weeds to fill in the spaces.

Aerate and Top Dress with Compost

One of the best things you can do for your lawn is to aerate and top dress with compost. All drought challenged water districts recommend working at least 25% compost into the lawn’s soil. The compost holds excess water that is not immediately used or doesn’t drain away to cut down the amount of water needed to keep grass alive during the summer. At least spread 1/2” layer of compost to poorly growing parts of the lawn. Some people top dress compost on their yard in the spring and in the fall for all their lawn’s yearly fertilizing needs. Rohde’s can do this for you, or you can purchase our bulk compost if you have a pickup or trailer, or rent a truck. We can deliver up to 5 cubic yards at one time for the same delivery charge. Sling the compost around with a shovel, or dump piles around the yard with a wheel barrel, and use a rake or push broom to spread it around the intended area to about a half inch depth or less. A cubic yard of compost should cover 648 cuft of lawn at a half an inch. If the depth is any deeper, the grass may think it is the new soil level and will grow roots into it. When the compost breaks down into the soil, it will leave thatch behind. Too heavy a layer of compost may release too much humic acids that could stunt some plants also. You don’t need to aerate to top dress, but it helps to get the organic matter deeper into the soil through the core holes. The more compost you can get into your soil the better the grass will grow with fewer insect and disease problems. Compost is the only material that can make the soil great soil.

Call Rohde’s to check our prices on top dressing with compost and aeration. Our aeration prices our very reasonable compared to renting the equipment and transporting it to and from your yard. Spreading compost can be very arduous to do yourself also.

June is the month we like to do aerations and top dressing. The grass is growing fast to fill the cores with roots if you do not top dress and the heavy rains of May have past so as to not close the holes. The weather becomes hotter and drier in July and August and makes aeration a little more difficult, but can be timed with your lawn watering to work fine. The compost will break down and work into the soil faster to help hold moisture while it’s warm now also.

Watering, Mowing, Trimming

https://aggieturf.tamu.edu/
http://tcwp.tamu.edu/files/2012/06/Lawn_Care_85X11_000_1.pdf: Organic Lawn Care

Mowing:
Roots grow longer when the grass is allowed to grow taller, and this is beneficial in the summer. During the heat of the summer, you can allow the grass to grow taller by a half inch to an inch up to its maximum height in the hottest part of the summer. You don’t want the grass to get so tall that it leans over. Chiggers like high grass though and may necessitate keeping the grass at a lower level until you can treat for them.
http://www.beorganic.com/additional_info/Mowing.htm

How to Water:
I haven’t watered my yard yet but when the rains stop it will be time to do so. As with watering the vegetable garden, water the lawn when needed. If your grass doesn't spring back when you walk on it, or the grass blades curl or look dull, it may need watering. Best test is to see if you need to water or if you have watered enough, is to push a 6 inch screwdriver into the ground. If it doesn’t go in at all, you need to water. When it goes in 6 inches into the soil, you have watered enough. My 1/4 inch flat bladed Sears Craftsman screwdriver is 6 inches long. You need to push it fairly hard, but the screwdriver will go through moist soil. When you hit dry ground, the screwdriver will not go any deeper without a hammer, which shouldn’t be used. It’s not hard to tell.

Water once a week for the full amount of water desired. This will encourage deeper drought resistant roots. Annual weeds are mostly shallow rooted and enjoy frequent watering. Take rain into consideration.

The maximum amount to water is enough to wet the soil 6 inches down. This is about how deep most lawn grass roots grow. Run your sprinklers for 30 minutes or an hour and see how deep the moist soil is with the screwdriver. Figure up how long to run the sprinklers to water 6 inches down. During prolong droughts, tree will benefit from watering 8 inches down around the drip line once a month.

The minimum amount of water grass needs for survival during water rationing in the summer is three-fourths of an inch of water per week on St. Augustine or Zoysia grasses that are in full sun. In the shade, grass only needs a half-inch of water to stay green and healthy. Bermuda grass requires a half-inch per week in the sun and buffalo grass slightly less.

If the soil is really dry, it may be too hard for the water to soak in. To keep it from running off, you need to water half as much, and wait an hour or so to finish watering. With an irrigation system you can set it to do two full cycles for all the zones at half the time for each zone for each cycle. It’s better to water in the morning, and to let the grass go a little dry before watering for disease control.

http://water.tamu.edu/water-resources-homeowners/ Texas A&M AgriLife Water Education Network: Water Resources for Homeowners (Lots of info and videos on saving water in the home and in the landscape.)
http://itc.tamu.edu/ (Irrigation Technology Program)
https://watermyyard.org/ WaterMyYard.org is a free website that lets Texas residents know when and how much to water based on local weather patterns, the type of irrigation they use and other factors. (Not every area is in the system, but if you are and signed up, you will receive automated emails or text-messages to let you know how much to water your landscape based on local weather conditions.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nljn--oeths (Water My Yard Ad: Texas A&M AgriLife)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYye6GWBkiQ (Turf survival during drought, water shortages: Texas A&M AgriLife)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciEjYvwwQZs (Tree Watering Tips (in a Drought): Texas A&M Forestry Service)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhAoADTC2E0 (Watering and Fertilizing Drought-Damaged Trees and Shrubs: Texas AgriLife)

Pests, Disease, & Weeds

To spot control weeds, use a Vinegar spray. Hotter the day, the better. Howard Garrett’s weed control spray recipe is found at http://www.dirtdoctor.com/organic/garden/view_question/id/62/ .

Fatty Acid Herbicides: An alternative Vinegar is to apply an organic non-selective fatty acid herbicide that will “melt” the green growing tops of weeds in your lawn. The fatty acid soap will disrupt the cell membranes causing the insides of the cell to leak out. It is less temperature dependent than Vinegar. It is non-selective and so will harm anything growing that it is sprayed on. You can spot spray the weeds only for cost effectiveness or spray large weedy areas if needed. This will not kill all of  the weeds as it is not a systemic like Round-Up. We have hose-end quart bottles of Monterey brand Herbicidal Soap for home use.

Howard Garrett says to use a molasses drench for nutgrass control. Use liquid horticultural molasses at quarter to half cup per gallon of water and use a gallon of drench every 9 - 10 sq. ft. Do this at least 2 to 3 times. I guess one drench a week. http://www.dirtdoctor.com/organic/garden/view_question/id/3266/. Nutgrass seeds are everywhere, can remain viable for 10’s of years in the ground, and seem to appear in disturbed soil instead of healthy lawns. The molasses may over stimulate the soil life that can turn on the nut grass, or as reported in his article, the nuts never develop. The only other option I can think of is pigs. That's what they do in the wood, root around for tubers, bulbs, nuts, bugs, mushrooms including nutgrass nuts.

An interesting non-organic web site for weeds with germination info: http://www.weedalert.com/.

GENERAL PESTS & DISEASES

Black spots on ornamental leaves can be harmful to the plants and are common during wet springs. We have plant oils, potassium bicarbonate, Serenade, copper sprays, and dusting sulfur to control the problem. There is no real cure for fungal disease once started, just control until the weather dries out.

Storms usually wash off aphids from plants, but they will come back when summer comes. They can be treated with a blast of water, Green Sense Citrus Oil, one of our selections of plant oils, insecticidal soap, and/or release of ladybugs into the garden.

For slugs, use ‘Sluggo” bait. Pine Straw mulch can repeal slugs. We carry 2 cuft bales.
We have Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis products for control of caterpillars on plants and lawns.

Mosquitoes are starting to show up, and when these heavy rains subside, they will come hard. Garlic sprays will help keep mosquitoes away, help keep slugs, snails, and pillbugs from eating your young plants, and it works as a fungicide too. We also have a variety of mosquito oil repellants in hose end spray and granular forms. Cedar oil comes in a hose end sprayer and will kill mosquitoes, chiggers, and fleas if it gets on them, and it acts as a repellant. With any sprayed repellant, spray on mulch in your beds, especially around entry ways, on tree trucks, wood fences, brick walls, or anything that will absorb the oil to allow it to last longer. Spraying around your porches or entry way doors will keep mosquitoes from following you inside. We also have Mosquito Bits and Dunks for water puddles.

FLEAS: We have “Precor”, an insect growth regulator, for treating your house for fleas. One ounce bottle will treat 1500 sq ft. We also carry Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in 1, 5, 10, and 50 pound bags, for ticks, fleas, bed bugs, cockroaches, and many other indoor insects. DE can work outside if you can dust well into the grass. Use cheap low thread count pillow cases half filled with DE and tied off with a cord leaving a loop to drag around the yard. Clothes line cord holds knots well using a clove hitch: http://www.animatedknots.com/cloveend/#ScrollPoint. Use 2 pillow cases to do it quicker. A Dustin Mizer or Plantmates duster will work faster. The pillow case DE can be bounced off of floors gently inside the house to leave little visible dust, very dood control of fleas. Nematodes can  give good results in controlling fleas in your yard also. Cedar Oil spray can kill and repel fleas, chiggers, mosquitos, and other insects in your yard also. We don’t recommend natural or synthetic pyrethrum / pyrethrins due to its general kill all effect and its potential long term effect to people and animals: https://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Pyrethrum-Dangers_vq2194.htm.
See http://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/biting-stinging/others/ent-3001/ for more information.

Rohde’s carriers the full complement of organic pest and disease controls, for both inside and out. Stop by and see.

If you are spraying anything, protect yourself with goggles and at least a NIOSH N95 approved Respirator Dust Mask. This stuff may be organic but it could be hazardous to inhale or sprayed in your eyes. Don’t take the chance.

OTHER THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

Have landscape and garden soil tested now to know how to prepare your gardens and lawns for the spring. Rohde’s recommends “Texas Plant & Soil Lab” at 5115 West Monte Cristo Road, Edinburg, Texas 78541-8852, 956-383-0739. They can give you organic recommendations.

Birds are nesting so keep feeding them.
Rohde’s has a very good selection of bird feeders, birdhouses, and birdbaths.
We also carry an excellent selection of bird food from single seed to mixes, and from single pound purchases to 50 pound bags.

Most of this calendar is designed for Dallas, Tx in USDA Hardiness Zone 8a, with a predominant soil type of blackland prairie clay.