Gail Haynes

Master Gardener

Ellis County Master Gardeners have a web site at www.ecmga.com. Check this site for information on gardening in Ellis County, sign up for a monthly newsletter or access other Web sites including the one for Texas A&M horticulture. 

Questions for Master Gardeners will be answered with a return telephone call or e-mail if you leave a message at 972-825-5175.

What to do

in August

1. Trim off faded flowers on crape myrtles to encourage later re-bloom.

2. Caladiums require plenty of water at this time of year if they are to remain lush and active until fall. Fertilize with 21-0-0 at the rate of one-third to one-half pound per 100 square feet of bed area, and water thoroughly.

3. Prune out dead or diseased wood from trees and shrubs. Hold off on major pruning from now until midwinter. Severe pruning at this time will only stimulate tender new growth prior to frost.

4. Sow seeds of snapdragons, dianthus, pansies, calendulas, and other cool-season flowers in flats, or in well-prepared areas of the garden, for planting outside during mid-to-late fall.

5. It is time to divide spring-flowering perennials, such as iris, Shasta daisy, oxeye, gaillardia, cannas, day lilies, violets, liriope, and ajuga.

6. Don’t allow plants with green fruit or berries to suffer from lack of moisture.

7. A late-summer pruning of rosebushes can be beneficial. Prune out dead canes and any weak, brushy growth. Cut back tall, vigorous bushes to about 30 inches. After pruning, apply fertilizer, and water thoroughly. If a preventive disease-control program has been maintained, your rose bushes should be ready to provide an excellent crop of flowers this fall.

8. It is not too late to set out another planting of many warm-season annuals, such as marigolds, zinnias and periwinkles. They will require extra attention for the first few weeks, but should provide you with color during late September, October, and November.

Chinese

fringe flower

Do you have need for an outstanding shrub?

Check out the Chinese fringe-flower (Lorope-talum chinense), (not to be confused with Chinese Fringe Tree (Chionanthus retusus).

The Chinese fringe-flower was introduced in the United States in the early 1990s. It is also native to Japan and northeast India.

This shrub, with purple leaves, has outstanding pink flowers.

It blooms in late winter to early spring and sporadically throughout the summer.

The Chinese fringe-flower prefers full sun to partly shaded sites. It does need some water.

Mulch will help keep it moist and protect the roots. It is easy to propagate from cuttings year-round.

The height is 6-15 feet, and it spreads 8-10 feet. Check the size listed on the cultivar – some can grow to 20’ in height.

This is a large shrub. The Loropetalum branches can be cut and used in the home and forced for early bloom.

There is an excellent specimen in the IDEA Garden, which is located in the Tyler Rose Garden or you can check for pictures on the internet. The color of the bloom is very attractive. The foliage is evergreen in the winter.