This week’s gardening tips: If your crape myrtle trees are still relatively small, feel free to lightly trim off the clusters of green, round seedpods at the ends of branches. This can prevent the weight of the pods from making the branches hang down low, and it encourages the trees to produce a late summer flush of flowers. Trimming is entirely optional, though. It will not hurt the trees to leave the seed pods alone.
Support plants that are tall, leaning or have fallen over onto other plants. Simply lean plants against a stake, or you can tie the plant to the stake. Green, brown or black twine or plastic ties will be less obvious than other colors.
Many ornamental grasses are producing attractive flowers/seed heads now. These look fantastic in arrangements indoors. Spray the flower/seed heads with a light application of hair spray or clear shellac to keep them from shattering as they dry.
Cercospora leaf spot has caused crape myrtle trees to shed lots of leaves this summer. Trees are looking thin and less attractive. But don’t worry, the trees will be fine.
After a summer of vigorous growth outside, some container plants may be pot bound. Check and repot into larger containers if necessary. Also plants in pots sitting on a brick surface or soil may grow roots out of the drainage holes into the ground. Prevent this by lifting the pots or using pot feet.
Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.