May Bed Maintenance

With the hotter summer weather quickly approaching, there are some things you can still do make your beds showy and survive the warm temperatures. Visit a nursery and choose plants that do well for your bed conditions.

To add color in areas with direct sun, consider zinnias, petunias, periwinkle, salvia, sunflowers, cosmos or moss roses. For shady spots grow impatiens, coleus, begonias or flowering tobacco which gives off a nice fragrance. All of these annuals do well in east Texas conditions.

Sun-loving perennials include coreopsis, mallow, dusty miller and summer phlox. While hosta, violets, ferns and columbine prefer shady areas. This is also a good time to plant bulbs such as cannas, dahlias and caladiums.

Don’t forget lantana, which will bloom from late spring to first frost and loves the Texas heat and sunshine.


Dallisgrass is a perennial grass found throughout Texas and the southeastern part of the United States during the late spring into summer when temperatures heat up. It readily invades all types of turf grass on golf courses, sports fields and home landscapes.

This problematic, rapidly maturing weed grows in bunches, has a course texture and produces unsightly seedheads reaching several feet above the turfgrass. Their profuse seed production and the horizontal underground stems which generate lateral shoots make it difficult to control.

Manual removal is difficult. Leaving even the smallest piece of the root system behind will result in the clump re-forming. Controlling with herbicides generally requires multiple applications over several seasons.


Millipedes found in east Texas are brown to blackish worm-like segmented invertebrates often found in damp, dark areas that generally curl into a coil if touched. They are not poisonous but do produce a smelly fluid that is irritating to the human eye.

After a rainfall or during a drought period, millipedes will often be found on outside walls or inside homes. If they do enter the home, they are usually found in the laundry room, bathrooms and other areas with moisture. Millipedes are often found coiled up dead in homes where moisture is not available.

RIFA (Red Imported Fire Ants)

Red imported fire ants are native to South America and were introduced into the U.S. in the 1930’s. By the 1950’s they had started their movement into Texas and now cover the eastern two-thirds of the state as well as some urban areas in west Texas. They are a very aggressive, competitive species of ant and are probably in Texas to stay.

The species is generally more active when the weather is cool. This is one reason mounds tend to appear more in spring and after cooling rains. The ants are still present in the heat but tend to burrow into the soil to search out cooler, moister areas.