In my last posting, I discussed primarily how to cope with hot, humid weather as part of my suggested summer gardening tasks. I’d like to conclude this topic by discussing a few other suggestions:
1. Flowering Plants – As flowers fade on your annuals and perennials, they should be “dead headed”, which is nothing more than removing spent flowers, either by hand or with pruners. Doing so will extend color in your landscape and encourage new plant growth.
2. Propagation – Now is a good time to take 4-6 soft wood cuttings from your favorite perennials and shrubs. Once done, remove all the lower leaves, dip your cuttings in a rooting compound such as “Root Tone”, or similar product, then place them in a pot containing a well drained medium such as that used for starting seeds; then water. They’ll do best if placed in an area of indirect sun. Roots should develop within 2-3 weeks. By the way, it’s also a good time to cut back any poinsettias you may have saved from last Christmas, to encourage more growth.
3. Pests – Expect lots of them, especially:
Weeds – don’t allow them to go to seed.
Insects – expect all kinds, including thrips, caterpillars, giant grasshoppers, and of course scale insects. Not only on your landscape plants, but also your lawn and trees. It is best to monitor your plants at least 2-3 times per week and if present, control by safest and best means. There are other controls besides using pesticides, such as hand removal or wash off plants via garden hose.
Diseases – with all the rain we’ve been having lately, expect to find mildew, leaf spot, and rot.
4. Summer Storms – They can be deadly. Winds greater than 35 mph can cause severe tree damage. Now’s a good time to look for any weak or diseased portions, especially on trees close to your house or where you park your vehicles. You might need an arborist to correct these problems. By the way, also before any storms reach you, secure any loose items that could blow around and cause damage. If a hurricane is anticipated, it might be a good idea to take photos of your home and its contents as well as your landscape. This can save you a lot of problems later if damage should occur.