Borders, Perennials and Annuals
- Water, water, water, as often as daily for new plants and almost all plants in pots. The rest of the garden generally needs one inch of water every week – whether from rain or from the gardener. Remember to water deeply, not superficially, because deep watering encourages deeper roots and more drought-resistant plants.
- Weed regularly, and not just because they’re unsightly, either. Weeds rob water, light and nutrients from the plants you DO like. Always remove weeds before they have a chance to go to seed – this is the first line of defense to keep weeds in check.
- Feed plants in pots regularly – once or twice a month.
- Deadhead perennials (remove spent flowers) to encourage re-bloom.
- Remove daffodil leaves after they’ve gone brown and wilted.
- Snails and slugs are out in force, eating their way through the garden. If they’re dining on your plants, Sluggo is the answer.
Roses and other Shrubs
- Time to start deadheading roses that re-bloom – to encourage those re-blooms. Traditionally, it was recommended that spent rose flowers be removed down to the first leaf with 5 leaflets, but in recent years research has shown that the more leaves remaining, the better. Either way, the point is to remove those old blooms, which not only helps produce more blooms but also makes the whole plant look better.
- Keep an eye on your roses, and if needed, spray for aphids and other pests and diseases, like the ubiquitous black spot. And if your roses have suffered infestations in the past, spray as a preventative now, even if no symptoms have appeared. Control is best achieved with prevention.
- Feed roses again this month with Rose-tone (monthly through July and once again in October to promote root growth).
- If you haven’t done it already, prune your spring-flowering shrubs IF they need it. Mature, full-size shrubs usually need renewal pruning at least every other year. From the NC State website: “Renewal involves removing the oldest branches of a shrub by pruning them near the ground, leaving only the younger, more vigorous branches which may also be cut back. Small stems (less than pencil size) should be removed. Plants pruned by renewal include abelia, deutzia, forsythia, mockorange, spirea, and weigela.”
- After rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias finish flowering, feed them with Holly-tone.
- To help get your newly planted trees through the dog days of summer, use “Gator Bags”. You can fill them with at least 14 gallons of water, which then drains slowly over several hours. Gator Bags let you water your trees slowly without standing there with the hose for a long, long time.
- Once a week blast Alberta Spruces thoroughly with a jet of water to give them a drink, but also to wash away mite pest populations before they do permanent harm to the foliage. Also, Spruce mites feed in cooler weather, but their damage doesn’t show up until summer when the heat starts to affect the weakened needles. If you’ve had mite infestations in the past, treat them with a systemic insecticide now to knock down any mites already feeding.
- Cage your tomato plants and tap them occasionally to encourage pollination. Keep plants moist and once fruit appear, feed them with Tomato-tone. Remove suckers that grow at the soil line throughout the season.
- Weed vegetable garden regularly, not letting the weeds go to seed.
- Direct-sow bush beans every two weeks.
- Thin out all vegetable seedlings to the correct distance from each other.
- “Water as needed” sounds unhelpful but it’s true that no one frequency of watering makes sense. Besides rainfall, the amount of watering required depends on the plants and how much mulch you’re using. And DO use mulch!
- This month and through the summer cut back herbs to keep plants bushy and productive. Most herbs don’t need fertilizing.
- Prepare for fall vegetables by planting broccoli and cauliflower seed in containers the 3rd to 4th week in June, to be transplanted into the ground mid-July through mid August.
- Mow to 3″ high and let the clippings stay on the lawn to provide Nitrogen to the soil (and the turf).
- Don’t fertilize cool-season grasses like fescues in June. (Zoyzia grass lawns should be fed in warm weather. These recommendations cover cool-season grasses only).
- Traditionally, it’s been recommended that lawns be given an inch of water every week – whether by rain or by the gardener. Recently, water conservation advocates are urging us to let our lawns go dormant in the summer – yes, brown! Asked how long common turf-grasses can go without water and not actually die, a common answer is approximately a month, depending on how hot and windy it is. This is important because letting it go dormant and seeing it green up again in September is fine, but letting the lawn DIE is obviously to be avoided.
- (If you’d like to avoid the upkeep of watering and mowing a lawn, look into the many great ground covers that can be grown instead of lawn – some you can even walk on, and many that will need minimal water and no mowing.)