Red Dirt Gardening Calendar for June

by J ~ June 1st, 2013

Oklahoma lawns and gardens look so good right now! However, all this beauty does come with a price, an enjoyable price I think.

Here is the price I am paying…what price do you pay?



1. mowing and edging

2. pruning & shearing shrubs into various shapes along with selective pruning to maintain health & over all beauty

3. dead heading blooms

4. fertilizing and watering on a schedule

5. cultivating in mulch and compost

6. cleaning and sharpening tools

7. enjoying the porch and patio in the evenings and mornings

8. watching the birds and bunnies

Enjoy your hard work and below is the Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardeners calendar for June.


Finish seeding of warm season grass to prevent winter over kill.

Sod with buffalo grass or burmuda at this time.

Summer Perennials like blue daze, cocks comb, copper leaf or cosmos to name a few.



Summer Annuals such as begonias, caladiums, verbena, lantana and marigolds are all easy to grow.

Shrubs and trees that are of flowering types can still be planted, like crape myrtle.


If you have not done a soil test in the last 3 years, it is time do so again.  This assures you are putting down the correct fertilizer.

Oklahoma Soil Test

Second Major Fertilization Of The Season


Warm season grass like bermuda can be fertilized for the second time this year. If you use chemicals see these articles (Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening annual fertilization schedule), (Red Dirt Gardening application calculator)

Organic fertilizers can be applied to all areas with out worrying about burning the plants or having to change your watering pattern.  Apply 20lbs to every 1000 sq. ft.  Your plants can be given a boost with fish meal or corn gluten meal.

During this time of the year I spray all my plants 1 to 2 times per month with Garrett Juice. 

garrett juice

            I would not be without this product.

purchase this from Amazon

Post emergent control for crabgrass and summer annual  grasses will have better results when applied to young plants.

Broad leave post emergent can also be applied at this time but no later than the first week of July.

If you have pines suffering from any type of needle diseases it is time to treat them again as we close in on mid June.

Leave grass clippings on your yard to add nitrogen back into the soil and to keep the clippings out of landfills. If you do bag, this is a great source of green materials for your compost pile. Best results are achieved by having a mulching blade put on your mower. (How to Install a Mulching Blade).


Deadhead all flowers to improve the appearance and over all health of the plant.  This will also trigger a new flush of blooms on most plants.

pruning daffadil

June is the prime time to prune most deciduous trees and shrubs.

Vigorous shoots from shrubs can be “selectively” pruned down at the base of the plant.

Remove any dead or damaged branches that  remain in your trees or shrubs from the spring storms.

Remove any unwanted bulbs that are confused about what time of the year it is.


Watering deeply will save you time and money because you will be able to water less frequently.  Oklahoma’s hot summer weather coupled by the high winds we are currently experiencing may cause all of us to have to water more often.

Remember to provide water for the birds!

You can help the birds weather the Oklahoma heat by providing them a fresh water source.  An important part of a bird’s daily life is to drink and bath in fresh water. This not only helps the bird to cool down but also helps to rid themselves of parasites. 

bird_bathingI use a variety of different items in my gardens to provide the birds with fresh water. I have not only an “official bird bath” but also a small water feature which is easy to maintain, a pot plate, and even an old copper kitchen bowl which is not more than about 3 inches deep. Often I will put a rock in the container that sticks up above the water for the birds to sit on. 

Since I have enough lawn work already and I did not want to add any more chores to my list I was thoughtful regarding the placement of the baths  in my beds. I made sure that each bird bath was were near a water source and it was easily accessible for cleaning.  The only mistake I made was putting one of the bird baths by the kitchen window.  Perfect place to watch the birds, right?  Well between their splashing and my refilling & cleaning of the bird bath, I have one spotted window!

You will need to check your birdbath or pond frequently to assess water levels and water cleanliness/freshness. On windier days, you may need to top off the water more often.  I have found that being aware of the water level in the bird baths and how fast the water is evaporating out of them, gives me a little insight to what may be going on with the moisture levels in my lawn and gardens.

Remember to never use chemicals in the water for control of insects or algae.  There are products specifically used to reduce algae, like Bird Bath Protector and you can scrub most of the algae off with a stiff brush. (One special note, moving water does not collect mosquitoes.)

“The Original” Red Dirt Gardener

Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening Calendar for May

by J ~ April 29th, 2012

Let the planting begin in our Oklahoma gardens! You have to admit, we live in a great state were such a wide variety of trees, shrubs and flowers will flourish.  Though I do not need one more thing to plant is seems that I always find room for just one more item in my red dirt Oklahoma garden.



All hot weather herbs.

Ground covers such as Asian jasmine, English ivy, purple winter creeper.

Vegetables that do well in hot weather such as peas, okra, squash, melons.

Perennials like gladiolas cannas, asters, & mums.

Warm weather annuals including, begonias, zinnia, periwinkles, caladiums, elephant ears, verbena.

Lawns for warm weather can be put in from sod, seed, plugs and even by hydro mulching.

container tree with burlap and string

Container trees and shrubs…remember to harden them off before planting. Remove all burlap & any twine  or cord.  Plant with the root flare exposed above ground. (Do not kill your Oklahoma tree by over mulching)


All annual flowers and potted plants.  Any new plantings can have their roots drenched with a root stimulator to help set buds for flowers.

Warm season lawns can be fertilized again in May. (Oklahoma bermuda lawn fertilization schedule)

If you use chemicals a second application of pre-emergent grass herbicide can be applied at the end of the month, depending on the timing of the first application.


Great time to shear branches (not to cut limbs) on scale leaved evergreens.

As flowers fade on spring flowering plants they can be pruned.


As needed, if windy you may need to water more than normal.

All new plantings.

Do not forget to feed and water the birds!


“The Original” Red Dirt Gardener


Red Dirt Gardening Calendar For November

by J ~ November 1st, 2013

As the Oklahoma weather cools and winter approaches my yard and garden are dominated by the deep crimson of the Japanese maples and the fiery reds of the dwarf Firepower Nandinas, who until now have been green.  Yellow and orange leaves of the trees now fall upon the yard as the deep greens and blues of the evergreens begin to become the dominate colors.


You would think in all this color and beauty, there would be a break in the Oklahoma garden chores …but NO!  Below are the “Original” Red Dirt Gardener’s tips for the month of November.


Continue planting spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, & hyacinths. I always cool my bulbs for 30 to 45 days prior to planting in December. (do not store bulbs in plastic bags or plastic containers as they might become diseased by the moisture).

Finish planting cool season spring flowering annuals  like pansies, kale, flowering cabbage, alyssum and Johnny jump ups.

Transplanting of woody plants can begin after the first frost.

Spring and summer flowering perennials like iris and day lilies.

Trees, shrubs and vines.


During the first week fertilize cool season turf.

Continue controlling broadleaf weeds in well established warm and cool season lawns with post emergent weed killer.  If you are opposed to chemicals as I am, manually remove the emerging weeds.

Put down 1/2” of compost if you have a poorly performing lawn.  the compost also servers as an excellent dressing in your beds.

Foliar feed all actively growing plants like evergreens with Garret juice. (see recommended organic products)


Remove (deadhead) all spent blooms and dead tips on annuals and perennials.

Deadheading rose reddritgardening

Trim away all dead and dying.

Selectively prune spindly growth.

Do major pruning from mid November through February.

Compost all debris except of what is diseased

Due to the numerous pine diseases in Oklahoma I recommend disposing of all pine needles and cones by removing them from your property.

Do not prune newly planted trees or shrubs.


All bare ornamental beds for winter protection and help in preventing weeds in the spring.

DO NOT pile mulch up the trunk of trees as it will only cause the tree to become diseased. see “Red Dirt Gardening’s 5 Tips for Mulching Trees”

Continue mowing cool season lawns.

Save those leaves and branches to chipper shred and use for mulch in your beds.


The Oklahoma wind still dries out our Oklahoma red dirt lawn and garden. Though we do not need to water as often, vegetation still needs water so water at least once a month if the soil is dry.

Water 24 hours before a freeze.  This will help to prevent winter freeze and plant death.

If You Have A Water Feature

Now is a good time to lay a screening material, anchored by stones over the pool portion of your Oklahoma water feature to keep out the debris. As soon as all the leaves have fallen and have been raked up, remove the screening material and store until next year.

November’s Last Weekend Chore

As Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening chores begin to slow down, I find that November is also a good time to clean up and winterize all my tools. This includes draining the fuel from my power equipment.  As well as cleaning and sharpening my tools. They are stored with a quick spray of lubricant on them to prevent rusting.

Click here for tips on winterizing your sprinkler system in the OKC and surrounding areas.

Don’t forget to feed and water the birds!

The “Original” Red Dirt Gardener

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October’s Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening Calendar

by J ~ October 1st, 2013

Oklahoma Fall brings not only cooler weather for working in the garden but the OU Texas football game,  Hook’em Horns!

Now, back to  Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening chores for October. 



Cool season grasses can be planted through the middle of the month. Fall is the best time to plant ryegrass, bluegrass or fescue. Planted by way of seed, these grasses are good for shade areas. Remember they do require mowing through spring. Throughout the fall and winter you will also need to fertilize and water.

Bulk grass seed

Use this month to choose your spring bulbs as you will want to do this as soon as possible. Look for bulbs that are firm and free of disease. Wait to plant until Thanksgiving time. (see article on bulbs for tips on selection and planting).

tulip bulbs

Select from a variety of colors and plant pansies, kale, and mums this month for some great color.

 Color choices for fall planting of chrysanthemums.  Deadhead to extend fall blooming and prune in early spring for another floss of blooms


September brought time for the last fertilization of the fall whether you used a nitrogen fertilizer or an organic one like Sustane. Do not fertilize any more this season.

Pre-emergent can also be put down to deter fall weeds like dandelion, henbit and that pesky weed with the little purple flowers on them that we seem to have an abundance of in our neighborhood. In fact, this little weed called a “Bushy Aster” has over run a number of yards.

bushy aster

This Aster needs to be treated NOW with a broad leaf weed killer because they are putting down seed for spring. (For more on this pesky weed see the article on Bushy Aster)

Organic pre-emergent can also be put down this month for those weeds winterizing themselves for spring. I use horticulture corn gluten meal twice a year with great success. It is non toxic to mammals, birds and children and does not harm the microorganisms in the soil as chemicals do. Remember your soil is alive and healthy soil promotes healthy plants and grasses.

A word of caution in selecting your pre-emergent. Be sure that it is not a Weed and Seed. The reason is, it is too late in the season to fertilize. If you do fertilize this late in the season you will most likely have brown circular patches in your lawn next spring called “brown spot”.

spring dead spot from fertilizing too late in the season the previous fall


Dead head remaining flowering plants if you have not done so to prevent disease and an unsightly appearance.


If you have planted Wisteria and found that it did not bloom for you earlier in the season, now is the time to trim the roots.



As the weather cools, remember to continue to water as needed.

It is less expensive to water deeply and less often than to water frequently for short times unless you have a red clay and no top soil.

The ideal time to water is to begin at about 4am. This prevents evaporation and moisture from laying on your flowering plants for too long as this encourages disease like powdery mildew.

Don’t for get to feed and water the birds!

Eurasian Collared-Dove  Originated in Bahamas and is moving into North American.  Most common in the southeast. Eurasian Dove next to a Morning Dove, note the size difference.

2 pairs of these very light colored Eurasian doves have showedeu0p in my yard.  They are larger than the morning doves and much more aggressive.  Have you seen then as well?

The “Original” Red Dirt Gardener 


Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening Calendar for September

by J ~ September 1st, 2013

September has arrived with a mix of Oklahoma gardening temperatures and what some deem the most important event of the year, OU and OSU football!  As Oklahoma gardeners however, we also recognize the importance of September.

Watch for Oklahoma’s oldest symbol, adopted in 1893, 14 years before statehood.  The dark green leaves and white berries will become visible particularly in southern Oklahoma as trees begin to loose their leaves.


Finish Oklahoma warm-lawn plantings by mid month, Bermuda.

Transplant any spring blooming bulbs like iris, daylilies, peonies, daises.

Fall blooming perennials like asters, pansies and mums.

Cool weather vegetables like beets, lettuce, turnips, spinach, broccoli, radishes and English peas.


Third and final Bermuda application of the year.  Quick and easy Oklahoma lawn fertilization calculator.   Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardener’s easy to follow lawn fertilization schedule. 

Pre-emergent need to be applied before September 15th if you use chemicals.  To insure that this chemical gets to the seeds that have laid dormant and are preparing to germinate this Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardener suggests you mow your lawn.  Also, water in the granules in if it has not rained with 24/48 hours after the application. 


Ornamental trees and shade trees if needed.  Do not flush cut or use tree paint.

Deadhead your summer flowering perennials for another flush of blooms.

Deadheading rose reddritgardening

Wisterias that failed to bloom can also have their roots trimmed.


     Continuing watering deeply when needed. 

     Do Not Forget To Feed And Water The Birds 

barn owl

        The heart shaped face of the barn owl makes it easy to   recognize.  It would not be unusual to see these guys in your neighborhood or out in the country at dusk searching for moles, mice, other rodents and small birds. 

In school I remember collecting odorless “owl pellets” and pulling them apart to determine what the owl had eaten.  The owl is unable to digest bone, fur or feathers.  So, they cough up the undigested parts, owl pellets. 


The “Original” Red Dirt Gardener

Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardening Calendar For August

by J ~ August 1st, 2013

August for Oklahoma lawns and gardens can easily be summed up with one word, WATER.



Divide and replant any spring blooming perennials.

Finish any last minute planting of fall vegetables in your Oklahoma Garden.

Mums and asters

Fall bulbs like amaryllis and crocus.



Bermuda lawns if adequate moisture is available

Young trees and shrubs

Foliar feed your Oklahoma Atlas and other evergreens with Garret Juice (see Amazon Links)

Struggling plants would also benefit from a soil drenching of Garret Juice (see Amazon Links)


Dead head declining flowering plants to clean up the  appearance of you Oklahoma flower bed, to encourage more blooming and to keep some of those ever multiplying flowers in one spot. 

Dead and damaged branches from shrubs and trees.  Do not do major pruning

Finish dead heading roses by mid month to help initiate winter hardiness


All potted and hanging plants

Oklahoma lawns and gardens, unless it has been usually wet and rainy (ha-ha) this is the month you will have to water more than any other month.  Try to watering more deeply as I learned to do years ago. I like to put down an inch or so with each watering. If you do, you will water less often, save money and time, have fewer incidents of plant and turf stress between watering and it will train the roots to go deeper into the ground. (note: soil types, weather patterns and plant recommendations will vary watering patterns and frequencies). see article on Saving Your Oklahoma Lawn While On Vacation


Do not forget to water the birds and have fun watching them!


“The Original" Red Dirt Gardener

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3 Easy Steps Could Save Your Oklahoma Lawn and Garden While You Are On Vacation

by J ~ July 18th, 2013

Completing these 3 easy steps, before leaving on vacation, will give your Oklahoma lawn and garden a good chance of surviving an Oklahoma summer in your absence. 

It is easy to forget as you plan your vacation, that your Oklahoma lawn and garden could very well experience consecutive century days, days of drying winds or days without any rain fail.  All of which, could have a negative impact on your lawn and plants.


This Oklahoma Red Dirt Gardener suggests completing these 3 easy steps prior to leaving on summer vacation.

1. Pull Weeds

You will want to pull any large weeds because they will only compete with your lawn, flowers, vegetables or shrubs for food and water.  Plus, who wants to come home to a bed of unsightly weeds.

2. Water Deeply Before Leaving


Whether we have had a rain or not, I always water deeply the night before leaving.  If you have an irrigation system be sure to set it to properly water while you are gone.

3. Apply A Generous Amount Of Mulch To Beds


I use a good shredded cedar mulch in my beds.  It helps to prevent evaporation and reduces the chances of weeds getting a foot hold.  An added benefit to using this type of mulch, is that it can be tilled in the following spring.

Do not fertilize right before you leave on vacation!  If the proper moisture is not available to your lawn and plants in our absence they could become very stressed and possibly die.

Have a great vacation and do not forget the birds!


Even this ole Turkey Vulture needs a bath.

Oklahoma’s “Original” Red Dirt Gardener

What is Wrong With My Home Grown Tomatoes?

by J ~ June 29th, 2013

As the soil prepares to warm and Oklahoma gardeners begin planting their tomatoes, we all hope for the same out come. A home grown tomato with that wonderful taste which we  remember from our childhood.  The tomatoes, you stood over the sink eating with the salt & pepper shaker close at hand. Remember those?  You would go a couple miles over, not to Walmart, with the little hard tasteless knots called tomatoes from Chile, but a couple miles over to the farmer who always had home grown tomatoes among other veggies! 

Well, I had no idea until I tried to grow my own tomatoes, the battle that farmer had on his hands. Below I have list a number of things you might encounter once you plant that tomato in your Oklahoma garden.  (for other articles see Best Varieties Of Tomatoes For Oklahoma, The Most Important Day Of Your Tomatoes Life or Ten Must Do Things For Healthy Tomatoes)

Fusarium Wilt

fusarium wilt

Blossom End Rot

blossom end rot blossom end rot 2

Blossom Drop

blossoms for blossom drop

Early Blight

early blight early-blight-closeup-sm

Leaf Curl

leave curl 4


split-tomato cracking

Septoria Leave Spot

septoria leaf spot

Southern Blight


Verticillium Wilt


Nematodes/Knot Root

nematodes root knot


 More than 100 soybean aphids collect on the underside of a soybean leaf. Pest feeding can inhibit the plant's ability to make grain, or kill it outright.

Blister Beetle

BlisterBeetle   black blister beelte

Horned Worm

horned worm

Stink Bugs



thrips thrip damage

The “Original” Red Dirt Gardener