July Garden Chores

Planting summer vegetables, taking care of parched perennial and annual flowers, paying special attention to your lawn and taking care of yourself during the stifling July heat should leave you with plenty to do.

Invasion of the Cicadas

Thankfully the large numbers of cicadas aren’t coming to the Gulf Coast. The only thing we get here is the annual or “dog-day cicadas,” called that because of their emergence every year during the dog days of summer, although all cicadas, whether Brood or Dog-day, emerge in the summer.

The march of the cicada killers

Cicadas are emerging from their almost two-decade sleep and cicada killers will not be far behind. Compared to most insects in North America, the cicada killer is gigantic. The body can be two inches long, and the extended wingspan three to four inches long. It can be terrifying as it zips around the yard, dipping this way and that, looking for its prey, strongly resembling a giant, angry hornet.

Soil types along the upper Gulf Coast

Covering over 3 million acres and extending from Mexico through Louisiana. Just at sea level or a couple of feet above, it also contains areas of salt-water marsh and drainage is slow. The water table is either at or just below the surface. Used mostly for cattle grazing, or wetland wildlife refuges, residents have developed wonderfully bountiful gardens by amending soils.

What the Heck is pH?

pH is an abbreviation for “power of hydrogen” where “p” is short for the German word for power (potenz), and H is the element symbol for hydrogen. Why a Danish scientist used a German word is Greek to me, but he was a scientist, and I’m not, so I’ll just go with the flow. The H is capitalized because it is standard to capitalize element symbols. So now you understand about as much as I do.

Your Lawn Loves Low Nitrogen Fertilizer

Your lawn loves low nitrogen (N), low phosphorus (P), and low potassium (K) fertilizer. It also likes organic fertilizer or urea-based fertilizers, not nitrate-based fertilizers. Why? Well, let’s look at the nature of lawns, especially warm-season grasses like St. Augustine, Bermuda, and Zoysia.