LAWN AND GARDEN MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
• Containerized shrubs trees can be planted all summer if you keep them watered.
• Sow seeds of perennials directly into the garden this month for next year’s bloom. Mark the spots carefully and make sure to adequately water while they’re getting established.
• Bearded irises can be planted. Wait until late summer or early fall to divide or transplant existing clumps.
• Autumn crocuses and dahlia can be planted.
• Seeds for green beans, cucumbers, squash, okra and black-eyed peas are available at your local Co-op store, as well as cantaloupe, watermelon and pumpkin seeds. Thin seedlings as they grow to ensure robust development of plants.
• In late June sow seeds of corn, bush beans and cabbage for an early fall harvest.
• There is still time to plant some of the colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. Direct-seed marigolds, celosia, Joseph’s coat, cleome, sunflowers, zinnias and portulaca, and purchase Bonnie plants also available at your Co-op store. Be sure to water transplants as needed until roots become established.
• Now is the time to plan for next spring. Consider digging and dividing any crowded spring bulbs. Once the bulbs have matured and the foliage has turned brown, it is time to spade them up and thin out the stand. Crowded bulbs produce fewer and smaller blooms. They usually need thinning every 3 to 4 years.
• Seed bare areas of lawn with appropriate grass seed mix and starter fertilizer. Keep area moist until seeds germinate. Do not mow for several weeks as new grass thickens up.
• Plant bouganvillea, hibiscus and other tropical plants in garden or in pots on patio.
• Plant Water garden: (container) umbrella palm, water canna and Japa-nese iris in garden or as marginal plants.
• Plant Water garden: and, when water temperature has reached 700F, tropical water lilies.
• If you haven’t done a soil test, do one this year. It will point you in the direction you need to go to amend your garden and lawn.
• Remember to keep your garden fertilized when vegetable plants start to flower. A general purpose garden fertilizer like 13-13-13 can be applied, or you can apply FL Yield Booster when planting your vegetables.
• Fertilize rose beds every four to six weeks. Apply small amounts of fertilizer high in nitrogen immediately after a flush of bloom or every four to six weeks.
• Sidedress eggplants, peppers and tomatoes after first fruit has set and sidedress sweet potatoes six weeks after planting.
• Feed asparagus when you stop cutting to promote ‘fern’ growth.
• To ensure a continuous supply of flowers, fertilize bedded annuals regularly. Liquid products work well, but if you don’t have much time, try using a granular, timed-release product.
• Do not overfertilize cosmos or nasturtiums (causes more leaves and fewer flowers).
• Fertilize blueberries after fruiting with Blueberry Special. If you didn’t have fruit due to the Easter freeze, fertilize mid- to late June.
• Feed azaleas for the last time this year.
• Acidify soil around azaleas, gardenias, camellias and other acid loving plants.
• For hibiscus, use a fertilizer with a low middle number.
• Fertilize bulbs if you did not do so at planting time. Mark the spots with small stakes so repeat application of fertilizer can be made in fall (when bulbs are not visible).
• Feed trees based upon need.
• Fertilize roses with a second application of a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer after the first flush of flowers.
• Fertilize warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia, with a 27-4-6 granular fertilizer, because this is the optimum growing time. For Centipede, which is sensitive to too much nitrogen, use a formulation such as 18-0-18. Apply at rates recommended on the label.
• Potted amaryllis plants should be placed in morning sun and fertilized twice a month with a 15-30-15 liquid. Leaves will continue to grow all summer as they manufacture food for the bulb. Don’t forget to water the bulbs.
• Fertilize annuals in containers, baskets and window boxes with a quarter-strength balanced fertilizer every seven to 10 days. Always water the plants before adding liquid fertilizer.
• Water lilies should be fed with aquatic fertilizer.
• Remove spent flowers from spring annuals and perennials to stretch the blooming season. Removing faded flowers from the plant before it sets seed will keep plants growing and producing more flowers.
• Pinch back chrysanthemums, reblooming salvias, Mexican marigold mint, Mexican bush sage, autumn asters and other late summer and fall blooming annuals to prevent the necessity for staking.
• Also, to avoid staking late-flowering plants, such as joe-pye weed or Summer Sun holiopsis, prune them back to one-third their height. This will yield a fuller and more compact growth habit.
• Hand pull or hoe weeds before they mature and produce seed.
• Foliage may be removed from spring bulbs if yellowed and becoming dry.
• Lightly prune tips of blackberries and pinch flowers off young grapevines to form and train growth on new canes.
• Good time to take shrub cuttings from semi-mature wood for rootings.
• Keep long shoots from developing by pinching out tips of shrubs.
• Pinch off 1 inch of sticky new green growth on azaleas and rhododendrons to increase next year’s flowers.
• Small evergreens such as boxwood or yew can be lightly pruned to maintain formal character.
• Prune wisteria and spring-blooming clematis after blooming.
• Pinch new top growth of herbs to keep them from flowering. This intensifies the oils and flavor in the foliage. Snip or cut off sprigs of herbs to use in cooking all season.
• Deadhead hybrid tea roses as soon as flowers fade. Some shrub roses are self-cleaning and don’t require deadheading. When in doubt, lightly prune old blossoms to keep plant looking attractive.
• Remove insect-damaged, broken and pest-damaged leaves and shoots on house plants.
• Deadhead water lilies to encourage more flowers.
• Supplemental irrigation is essential for many vegetable or ornamental plants during the hot dry summer days ahead. Monitor watering so plants get well watered deeply. Water early in the morning. Flowers in particular prefer morning watering. This also reduces the likelihood of problems with funguses and disease.
• The best way to conserve garden moisture is mulching. A good mulch not only retains valuable moisture needed for plant growth, but also improves overall gardening success.
• Mulches are usually applied 2- to 6-inches deep, depending on the material used. In general, the coarser the material, the deeper the mulch. For example, a 2-inch layer of cotton seed hulls will have about the same mulching effect as 6 inches of oat straw or 4 inches of coastal bermuda hay.
• Check climbing plants for dehydration, especially those growing on walls.
• There are two crucial times to water corn: when tassels begin to show and when silk begins to show.
• Make sure all newly planted trees, shrubs, perennials, roses, etc. are watered deeply once a week.
• Water potted plants regularly. Daily watering is needed for some plants. Try Soil Moist to stretch time between waterings.
• Water lawns, if necessary. Grass can go dormant for several weeks in intense heat and requires only 1/2 inch of water to keep crowns alive. Avoid watering midday or on windy days.
• Leach house plant containers occasionally to remove any mineral salt deposits. (A crusty surface on the walls of clay pots or over the potting medium indicates a salt problem.)
• Before you kill it, know whether the "pest" you are seeing is friend or foe. It’s easy to see creepy crawlers and think immediately that they should die. Get a good bug book, then use the appropriate controls to minimize damage.
• Check for insects and diseases. Spider mites can be especially troublesome at this time. Insecticidal soaps or labelled miticides can be helpful in their control.
• Tired of snails and slugs using your flowerbeds or vegetable garden as a buffet? Try Hi-Yield Improved Snail and Slug Bait.
• If squash vine borer has been a problem in your garden, cover small transplants of squash, cucumbers and zucchini with row covers to prevent moths from laying eggs on vines. Remove row covers when plants begin to flower. Consider planting disease-resistant varieties next year.
• Watch for squash bugs on your cucumber and squash plants, because they can be easily controlled when they are small. If you see any, treat your plants with Sevin dust according to label directions.
• Inspect your plants every day or two for aphids, red spider mites, and other nasty little insects that can ruin your garden. If found soon enough, they are easy to control with proper spraying or dusting.
• Stay ahead of weeds with broadleaf killers, grass killers, and non-specific Killz-All or hand remove.
• Repellents are available if rabbits and deer are a problem.
• If grubs have been a problem in the past, treat affected areas with a product containing Sevin Granules or Milky Spore Disease.
• Monitor lawn for weeds. Rain and warm water will push grass to grow fast. Mow high (2 to 2-1/2 inches) in hot, dry weather so individual blades of grass can shade each other.
• Watch for damage to lawns by mole crickets.
• Treat individual fire ant mounds and use fire ant bait: Logic, Extinguish, Come And Get It!. Then treat whole lawn with Over ‘N Out.
• Keep an eye out for brown patch or take-all patch in your St. Augustine yard this spring. Both of these fungus problems will start out as small yellow patches that turn brown and grow rapidly. If you have a problem with fungus, the application of Bayleton granules will control it. On tougher cases, you may have to reapply Bayleton every two weeks until the grass is cured. To prevent fungus in your yard, water your grass in the morning so it does not stay wet overnight.
• Continue to monitor for black spot on roses. Remove infected leaves immediately and begin spray program with Immunox Plus or Rose, Flower and Vegetable Spray. Most products must be reapplied following any rainfall.
• To control fleas, ticks and chiggers you can use diatomaceous earth / pyrethrum products, permethrin products, BioSpo (pets), Kill-A-Bug II Granules, Lawn Insect Granules, Sevin Granules, Triazicide.
• Bagworms on evergreens can be controlled with (Bt) Bacillus thuringiensis.
• For lace bugs and elm leaf beetles use pyrethrum; summer-weight horticultural oil; FL Systemic Insect Granules; FL Azalea, Evergreen with Systemic Insecticide; Sevin or Triazicide.
• To control scale insects, including mealy bugs use summer-weight horticultural oil.
• Continue spraying your fruit trees every seven to ten days to control insects and diseases. You can use ferti-lome Fruit Tree Spray, which contains both insecticide and fungicide, or you can use individual insecticides and fungicides that are labeled for fruit tree use. If you have fruit trees that are still blooming, do not spray them with insecticides while they are in bloom. If you do, you might kill your pollinators and prevent a crop this year.
• Drench around peach trees with spinosad to prevent peach tree borer.
• For apple trees, start spraying fruit with alternating sprays of ferti-lome Fruit Tree Spray and spinosad when it is about the size of a marble and continue every seven to ten days until harvest to prevent coddling moth infesting the apples.
• If using spinosad for shade tree borers, continue spraying every three weeks through June.
• Beware of poison ivy: FL Nutgrass, Poison Ivy and Vine Killer RTU.
• For mosquito control in water gardens use Mosquito Bits or Mosquito Dunks.
• When using a pesticide, always follow the label directions.
• If you didn’t start a garden journal this spring, there’s still time. Keeping a small notebook of your observations-when seeds were planted, bloom times, rainfall amounts, flowers that worked well, etc., throughout the year is a great way to learn about gardening from your own experiences. Keep your journal updated with results of current activities and plans for future projects.
• Visit public gardens and note in your journal interesting plants, flowers, arrangements, etc. to try.
• Did you know that June 15th is the day to set your sundial? Add a little vintage character and tell time too. Set the dial on June 15th and place it so that the shadow falls on 12:00 o’clock at exactly noon on this date.
• Now is the time to plan for next spring. Consider digging and dividing any crowded spring bulbs. Once bulbs have matured and the foliage has turned brown, it is time to spade them up and thin out the stand. Crowded bulbs produce fewer and smaller blooms. They usually need thinning every three to four years. Replant immediately in prepared soils.
• Take a critical look at your landscape at the height of summer development. Make notes of any plants that need replacement, overgrown plants that need to be removed, better arrangements for your landscape, and possible activity areas that can be enjoyed by family members. These are good projects for next winter.
Cultivation is arguably the most important thing you can do this month. Work soil deeply, add compost, and weed. Be careful not to injure plant roots.
• Stake or cage tomatoes as they begin to grow. Remember, as a rule of thumb; when you stake, you get bigger but fewer tomatoes. When you cage, you get smaller tomatoes but more of them. Supposedly it all evens out weight-wise.
• Watch for blossom end rot on tomatoes.
• Train climbing growth such as vining beans, peas and cucumbers with soft twine to supports.
• To encourage production, pick tomatoes, squash, okra, beans, and cucumbers regularly. Harvest every other day in early morning or late afternoon.
• Pick eggplant after the fruit reaches 3-5 inches.
• Dig onions when about half the tops begin to turn yellow and fall over.
• Harvest Irish potatoes when the vines have died back about halfway.
• Be a good friend or neighbor and share your bounty!
• Harvest herbs just before flowerings, leaves will contain the maximum essentials oils at this time.
• Continue to remove yellowing leaves of summer-flowering bulbs.
• Cut flowers regularly. Since flowers bloom to produce seed, the best way to prolong blooming is by cutting and deadheading.
• Move tropical hibiscus into less afternoon sun if they wilt excessively, drop buds, or sunburn.
• Stake tall border plants and perennials. Continue to tie annual and perennial vines to supports. Encourage multiple stems of clematis vines to climb horizontally as well as upward.
• June is the time to select daylily varieties as they reach their peak of bloom.
• Pull and discard pansies as they look ratty. Replace with transplants or seeds of warm-season annuals.
• Layer grapes.
• Dethatch if thatch layer measures more than ½ inch. (Mow afterwards to remove any further debris and then water thoroughly to prevent exposed roots from drying out.)
• Raise lawnmower blade to at least 3 to 3 ½ in. thereby protecting the roots from heat and drought. Maintain sharp mower blades. A clean cut improves grass health.
• Repot and set houseplants on the porch or outdoors in shade (pay close attention to the need for water).
• Air layer houseplants, if desired.
• In water gardens, water level will drop due to evaporation.
• If you have no room for an in-ground water garden, try a container water garden.
• Keep water garden free of debris.
• Feed the birds.