"It's Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing" Applied
You may know that I'm a firm believer in the gardening philosophy, "It's never too late to do the right thing!" And that can answer many recent listener questions about fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, mulching and compost.
Of course it's not an "absolute" statement, because you can be so late that don't get the ultimate benefit of, for example, a pre-emergent herbicide or fertilizer. But, that shouldn't stop you from doing the right thing and putting an application down anyway.
Let me break down, by categories, why it's NEVER TOO LATE TO DO THE RIGHT THING (NTLTDTRT), even in mid-May.
Fertilizer: I've been a bit surprised by the number of recent calls and emails like this one: "Randy, I'm following your schedule for the first time, but I didn't do anything in April as it recommends. So is it too late to do the April application?" Employing the NTLTDTRT philosophy, it's not too late. Some might say it's a bit too early for the summer fertilization, but even if you applied something like Nitro-Phos Super Turf 19-4-10 today, you could still do the late-June/early-July application without fear, because you only need 45-60 days between.
Herbicides: In my book, "Gulf Coast Gardening with Randy Lemmon," I'm pretty sure I used pre-emergent herbicides as a perfect case for employing NTLTDTRT. The schedule marks May as the time to apply pre-emergent herbicides, but many questions I'm receiving lately are about post-emergent herbicides for things like broadleaf weeds. While it is too late to apply cool-season herbicides like Weed Beater Ultra, it's perfect weather for Weed Beater for Southern Lawns.
Fungicides: This may well be the definitive category for NTLTDTRT. Let's say you have a problem with fungal diseases on plants. You obviously want to use a fungicide today. But some people still question whether it's too late to apply what might be termed a "preventative" fungicide. Let's use powdery mildew on crapes as an example. If you've got an issue with it, you can apply any number of fungicides. I'm partial to Consan. But if you just want to prevent it, consider a systemic fungicide, a copper fungicide, or even a weekly application of Consan.
Insecticides: Although I'm usually against using insecticides unless you actually have an insect problem, this year could have an asterisk by it because last winter was so mild. I think insect populations are about to experience a population explosion. So, considering NTLTDTRT, is it too late to put out a preventative? No! Thankfully, recent rains have kept some insect populations at bay. But if you're convinced you're going to get chinch bugs this year, apply a preventative like bifenthrin granules every 60-90 days. If your lantanas or azaleas are prone to lacebugs, feed them a systemic food and be prepared. However, if you're like me and believe that healthy plants are their own best defense against insects, just ignore NTLTDTRT here.
Mulches: You may know that I believe most people never have enough mulch to do the job (hence the chapter "You Can Never Have Enough Mulch" in my older book.) I'm saddened that some people only add mulch once a year, if that. So ... NTLTDTRT. Or, it's never a wrong time to add new mulch to flower beds, landscapes, vegetable beds and even around trees.
Compost (for top-dressing lawns): This category may be the ultimate use of NTLTDTRT! Because unless it's freezing or over 100 degrees, quality compost as a lawn top-dressing can be applied almost any time of year. Years ago, when top-dressing a lawn was done with sand or loam, May was the perfect month. But today, with compost, anytime is fine.
Ace Hardware City, 14455 Memorial Drive
Bring me some weeds to identify, and I'll tell you what to kill them with. I can show you products like Weed Beater for Southern Lawns. I can also show you a perfect surfactant to go with that. And if you've got fertilizer issues, I can help you discover what a bag of Nitro-Phos Super Turf or Nitro-Phos Sweet Green looks like.
In fact, we'll be giving away free bags of Sweet Green and other goodies. To qualify, hit me with a question, prove your Lemmonhead status, or just show us some love.
We can cover the fungicides and insecticides noted above, too, and after talking with me you'll be confident about getting the right product from Ace.
By the way, the owners of this Ace store are major dog lovers, and they'll be working with a local shelter to offer dog adoptions this Saturday. So, come by to get your garden questions answered and maybe bring home a new pet!
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