June Gardening Checklist for Central Texas

by Anthonyfamilyinfo@gmail.com

What can be planted in central Texas in June?

Heat tolerant annuals may still be planted in flower beds, containers and hanging baskets. For foolproof summer color, vinca is ideal for central Texas. Plant vinca in June and you will have flowers until frost. Coleus is another good summer annual. Some types need shade while others tolerate sun. Check plant labels. 

For summer color that can take the heat plant angelonia, celosia, cleome, coreopsis, gaillardia, gomphrena, portulaca, purslane and zinnia. For shade plant begonia, caladium, elephant ears, impatiens and pentas. Add vibrant color with tropical plants – bougainvillea, mandevilla and hibiscus.   

What perennials are the most heat tolerant for central Texas?

Some of the most foolproof herbaceous perennials for summer are bulbine, canna, Esperanza, firebush, guara, Gregg’s mistflower, hardy hibiscus, lantana, rock rose, Mexican bush sage, salvia, skullcap, society garlic and yucca. Plant ornamental grasses now that will grow through the summer and be the stars of your fall landscape. Be sure to carefully monitor soil moisture of all new plantings.

What flower seeds can be planted in June? Directly into the garden, sow seeds of cockscomb, gomphrena, sunflower and zinnias. These need warm soil and temperatures to grow and flower.  

Herbs to plant in June are basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, Mexican mint marigold, lemongrass and lemon balm.

In Texas, many new landscapes are installed in summer. June is a good time to plant turf and it must be irrigated consistently to become established. June is not however, the optimal time for planting trees and shrubs. If you have a newly planted landscape, those plants will need tender loving care. First, maintain a 2 to 3 inch covering of mulch to moderate soil temperature and retain moisture. Water when the soil is dry in the plant root zone. Check soil moisture at 3 to 4 inches deep with your finger or use a moisture meter. A moisture meter is an inexpensive, but useful device to check soil moisture levels deep in the soil.  

Is June too late to start a vegetable garden in central Texas?

There are a number of heat tolerant vegetables that can be planted in June. It is prime time for planting okra, southern peas, pumpkin, winter squash and summer greens like amaranth and Malabar. Planting at the optimal time yields the best results. It is always best to plant early rather than late within the optimal planting time for vegetables. For example, eggplant, peppers and summer squash can be planted in June in central Texas but it is late in their growing season. Adjust planting times for your USDA zone or check with your county Extension office for planting dates specific to your area. For my area, I use the Brazos County planting calendar.

Planting periods for vegetables by seed and *transplant in June for zone 8b central Texas: 

Week 1 – *eggplant, melon – cantaloupe/honeydew; okra, peas-Southern, *peppers, pumpkin, squash – summer/winter, summer greens – Malabar/amaranth; sweet potatoes – plant slips, watermelon 

Week 2 – *eggplant, melon – cantaloupe/honeydew; okra, peas- southern; *peppers, pumpkin, squash – summer/winter; summer greens – Malabar/amaranth; sweet potato slips; watermelon

Week 3 – *eggplant, melon – cantaloupe/honeydew; okra, peas – southern, *peppers, pumpkin, squash – summer/winter; summer greens – Malabar/amaranth; sweet potato slips, watermelon

Week 4 – *eggplant, melon – cantaloupe/honeydew; okra, *peppers, pumpkin, squash summer/winter; summer greens – Malabar/amaranth; sweet potato slips, watermelon

What to prune in June

Annuals and perennials will flower longer if they are deadheaded, including angelonia, cosmos, gomphrena, petunia, verbena and zinnia. Keep coleus foliage full and growing by pinching off flowers. Deadheading is simply snipping off dead flower heads.

Some perennials will have flushes of blooms throughout the summer if deadheaded – canna, guara, mistflower, plumbago, roses, salvias and yarrow. 

If oakwilt disease occurs in your area of Texas, avoid pruning trees from February through June.  

 

What to fertilize in June

Lawns may be fertilized early in June if needed, otherwise wait until early July or Labor Day. Testing soil takes the guesswork out of fertilization. Test results reveal existing levels of nutrients, so that you can precisely apply the fertilizer turf needs. Annuals and patio containers should be fertilized every 2 to 3 weeks with a water-soluble product at half strength to promote growth and blooming. Fertilize citrus and vegetables as needed.  

For lawns, raise mower cutting height to help turf withstand heat and drought conditions.

 

Watering

Check the automatic irrigation system to ensure it is operating correctly. Re-position mis-directed sprinkler heads. Watering sidewalks, streets and driveways wastes water and your money. Observe rain sensors to ensure they are operational.  

The best time to water lawns and flower beds is early morning between 4am and 9am. To conserve water, turn an automatic irrigation system on manually. Water is a precious resource.  

For hose end watering the most efficient sprinkler is the impulse type, rather than oscillating. Vegetables should be watered very early in the morning and harvest as soon as they are mature.  

Mulch for water retention and to reduce weeds. Apply mulch around trees that grow in the lawn to prevent mower and trimmer damage to the trunk.  

One more mulch reminder – using mulch is important in warm climates, especially in summer. It keeps soil cooler, conserves moisture, and slowly adds nutrients back to the soil. Mulch with 2 to 3 inches of shredded hardwood, chopped leaves or pine straw.  

 

Diseases, insect pests and weeds in June

Warm season weeds thrive in heat. Mulch flower beds to suppress weeds. Pull or hoe weeds in lawns and mow at appropriate height to discourage weed growth. Avoid overwatering, which promotes weed growth. 

Monitor for insects! In vegetable gardens, leaf footed bugs and squash vine borers are active in warm weather. On juniper and cypress plants, be on the lookout for bagworms that can be active early in the month. The caterpillars are most vulnerable at this stage, as they consume foliage and carry around their silken bags. Pick them off or apply Bt – Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural caterpillar control.

Aphids, leaf hoppers and bark scale can infest crapemyrtles in June. Sooty mold is a black fungus that covers leaf and stem surfaces. This indicates there is an insect problem on the plant. This common mold grows on honeydew, the sugary substance produced by some pests. Find bark scale information here CRAPEMYRTLE.

In lawns, Take All Root Rot (TARR) can occur in June. It is difficult to manage but a thin application of Canadian sphagnum peat moss may suppress development of this fungal disease.    

Roses that are exhibiting unusual growth may have rose rosette disease (RRD). This virus has been identified in central Texas. Infected plants exhibit elongated, concentrated growth that is twisted, reddish in color and has excessive thorns. RRD is transmitted by the eriophyid mite. Although research is ongoing, RRD has no known cure. Scientists and rose experts recommend to bag and throw away infected roses and all the roots. Find information here ROSE ROSETTE.

Manage fire ants with the “Texas Two-Step” method. Find current management products here FIREANTS.

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