Ag News for July 2015

Bennett Joffrion  |  6/23/2015 6:49:34 PM

Crape Myrtle Trees

We are beginning to see the many vibrant colored flowers on the crape myrtles in the parish. There are shades of pink, purple, red, and white that can last now until September.

Common problems with the trees include damage to the trunk from weed-eaters and lawn mowers hitting the thin-barked trees. To help prevent this, keep grass from growing within a foot of the bark. Keep the area mulched with about 4 inches of pine straw pulled back slightly from the trunk.

Once a crape myrtle tree gets older, it regularly sheds its outer bark. There is no need for concern.

Also many produce suckers. Simply remove them as they appear, but be sure not to leave a stub or several more will appear.

Common problems on trees are crape myrtle aphids (causes black sooty mold), a new crape myrtle bark scale (which we now have in Houma), powdery mildew and cercospora leaf spot.

You can control aphids by spraying the tree with commercially available insecticides such as permethrin.

The bark scale can be controlled with Imidacloprid which is a systemic insecticide applied as a drench to the roots of the tree and it will also control aphids. It is better to apply the systemic in early April or May, but June is not too late.

Cercospora leaf spot is a fungal disease that occurs more in mid-to late summer, particularly when the weather is rainy. Leaves develop dark spots, change color and drop from the tree. The disease is not life threatening and not practical to spray.

Common causes for lack of blooms are young trees, trees getting too much shade, trees that are sickly or low in vigor and heavy insect or disease problems. Given time, good care and proper growing conditions, crape myrtle flowers are a wonderful addition to the landscape.

Generally crape myrtles benefit from an annual application of 8-8-8 or 13-13-13 or a slow release fertilizer. Apply in early spring.

Tips for Summer Care of Turfgrass

Centipede grass should receive its second and final fertilization in July.

Fertilize St. Augustine grass, Bermuda grass and Zoysia in June and again in early to mid-August with at least 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet.

Cinch bugs in our lawns usually show in the hot summer months. Also armyworms and tropical sod webworms begin showing up.

July Vegetable Production

Transplant your fall crop of heat-set tomatoes. Bell pepper transplants also may be planted now. Okra, southern peas, cucumbers, squash, cantaloupes, pumpkins, and watermelons all can be seeded in July. Mid-July is the optimum time to plant pumpkins for Halloween harvest.
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