June 2013
Lawn and Garden Checklist

June Lawn and Garden Maintenance Checklist

PLANT

 

Continue planting warm-season vegetables. Beans, peas, squash, corn and cucumbers can be seeded through July, so plant succession crops.

Most varieties of pumpkins should be planted in June for harvest in October.

Daffodil clusters should be divided every 3 years to ensure good blooming. Dig the clumps, remove the yellowed leaves, and replant the bulbs just as you would in the fall.

Gladiola corms can still be planted for successive blooms.

Irises and daylilies can be divided even while in bloom. This is useful if you need to keep flower colors separated. Remove any remaining flowers, cut leaves half way back and replant the divisions as soon as possible.

It is hard to pull out the pansies when they are in full bloom, but they will soon fade out in the summer heat; so it is best to go ahead and replace them with summer bloomers if you want color in that location all summer.

Plant annual flowers in tubs or large containers for the porch or terrace. Make sure there are holes in the container’s bottom to provide good drainage.

Plant hydrangeas where they receive morning sun and afternoon shade.

When you buy container-grown nursery stock trees or shrubs, check the root ball and make sure it is not bound too tightly. A mass of circling roots will stay that way even after it is planted in the ground.

This is a good time to repot houseplants if you have not done so.

FERTILIZE

 

Check vegetable plant foliage for signs of nutrient deficiency. Contact your Co-op store for advice.

Vegetable garden plants, other than legumes such as beans, lentils, peas and peanuts need a regular supply of nitrogen fertilizer beginning five or six weeks after planting.

Give container gardens a weekly feeding or use a slow-release fertilizer as instructed on the label.

Fertilize flowering shrubs like rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias soon after they have finished flowering with a rhododendron- or evergreen-type fertilizer. Water thoroughly after application.

Fertilize roses after each flush of flowers.

Do not fertilize fescue lawns until September.

Fertilize your lawn with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Feed water lilies and other aquatic plants in home water gardens.

PRUNE

If your tomato plants are staked, not caged, pinch out suckers.

Groom roses to remove old flower heads and weak stems.

 

Pinching, in the horticulture world, refers to a specific type of pruning. Two plants commonly pinched are chrysanthemums and basil. When the plant is small, just pinch out the tip of each stem. This tissue will be soft, so you can remove it easily just using your fingers. Continue to do this as the plant grows. Pinching forces the plants into a more bushy shape. For mums this results in a stockier plant with more flowers. Stop pinching mums the first of July. In the case of basil, it produces more branches with more leaves for harvesting and tends to delay flowering somewhat.

Pinch back any annuals, fuchsias, geraniums, cosmos, or any other plants that might be getting a little leggy. Do the same for tall-growing, fall-blooming perennials such as asters, monarda and helianthus.

Spend some time in the flower garden removing spent blooms. "Deadheading" will encourage some perennials to rebloom and keep annuals blooming all summer.

Hurricane season begins June 1; it’s not too late to have your trees checked and trimmed.

You can save yourself some pruning next winter by removing water sprouts from fruit trees now.

If you want to prune or shear your evergreens, do so as soon as the new growth starts to turn a darker green.

 

Groom hanging baskets by removing old flowers and lanky shoots.

WATER

When possible, water early in the morning, rather than in the heat of the day or in the evening.

Adding mulch to flower beds and around garden plants will help garden soil retain moisture during the summer months.

Fix leaky hoses.

Check irrigation systems for broken sprinklers.

Trim limbs and remove weeds that may be interfering with sprinkler operation.

Keep an eye on soil moisture. Vegetable gardens need one inch of water each week. When soaking rains skip your neighborhood, water slowly and deeply to encourage roots to travel away from the hot ground surface. This also reduces runoff and moistens the soil several inches down. To slow evaporation, water early in the morning when temperatures are lower and the air is still.

Check potted plants daily; they dry out quickly in the heat. Frequent watering leaches nutrients from potting soil, requiring more frequent applications of fertilizer.

Consider adding rain barrels or cisterns to capture and store water for the dry times. Your cooperative Extension service office has details on this and other irrigation ideas.

PEST CONTROL

Identify problems before acting, and opt for the least toxic approach. Cultural, physical and biological controls are the cornerstones of a sustainable pest management program. Use chemical controls only after you identify a pest problem and carefully read the pesticide label. Pay attention to the number of days to wait before harvest and to the crops and pests on the label.

Be alert to slug and snail damage ... seek and destroy ALL slugs!

Put a couple of drops of mineral oil on corn silks within a week after they appear to prevent corn earworm

To protect bees that pollinate many of our crop plants, spray pesticides in the evening after bees have returned to their hives.

 

Check your roses for mildew, aphid, black-spot or other disease problems or insect infestations, and, if they appear, take steps to control them right away.

Aerate and immediately water lawns that are compacted, hard to wet or have nematode problems.

Bats can be an effective way to control insects. One big brown bat can eat 3,000-7,000 insects each night. Attract bats by building and placing bat houses in your yard.

Common garden chores during the summer involve trying to combat the local wildlife population. Rabbits enjoy salad greens and tomatoes, birds will devour your fruit and deer may nibble on everything they find. You may need to erect rabbit and deer fences around your garden, and drape bird netting around the fruit and berry bushes.

Birds will generally not be scared away by scarecrows. Instead, try tying pieces of glass, colored cloth or tin to loose strings so the wind can blow them and clash them together. Random motion is the key to alarming the birds away from the garden.

Avoid blossom-end rot in tomatoes, peppers, squash and watermelons by maintaining uniform soil moisture. See your local Co-op store for possible calcium application recommendations.

 
   

Weeds can make this time of year feel more like a burden than a blessing. But, if you let up even a little bit at this point, the weeds will take over. Pulling new weeds daily or, at least, weekly is the easiest way to deal with this chore.

ODD JOBS

Remember to keep a record in your garden journal of what is planted where and what varieties you grew. You will want this information next year for garden rotation and to remember what vegetable varieties you liked — or did not like.

Work around the humidity (early a.m., late afternoon/evening)

Involve the kids or grandkids in growing vegetables. It’s fun. It’s easy and it builds kids’ enthusiasm for gardening and eating healthy — because they tend to eat what they grow!

Almost all vegetables are best when harvested early in the morning. Overnight, vegetables regain moisture they lost during the day and starches formed during the day may be converted to sugars during the evening. Vegetable quality is highest at the moment of harvest and begins to decrease rapidly afterwards.

Continue thinning your vegetable seedlings to provide ample room for growth.

 

Frequent picking is essential for prolonging the vegetable harvest. A plant’s goal is to reproduce; therefore, if its fruit are allowed to fully mature on the plant, there is no reason for it to continue flowering, which means fruit production will halt.

If you suspect bees haven’t found your tomato plants, pollinate the blossoms yourself. Do this by gently tapping the open blossom with a pencil. For maximum effectiveness, do it three days in a row.

Keep the bird feeder full and make sure they have fresh water.

Mound the soil up around the lower two-thirds of your potato plants. It does no harm to the plant if the soil covers the stem and leaves.

Stop harvesting asparagus now that spears are becoming thin. Give the bed an application of fertilizer and allow the fern-like fronds to grow.

There are several indicators for ripeness of watermelon. The vine tendril closest to the fruit dies and turns brown when ready to harvest. Also, the underside of the fruit will turn from white to yellow. Finally, thumping a ripe melon should give a dull thud as opposed to a ringing, metallic sound when immature.

 
   

Use both hands to pick peas, beans and cucumbers to prevent breaking stems.

Make sure your climbing roses are securely tied into position.

Stake tall flowers to keep them from blowing over in the wind. With new plantings, add a stake to each planting hole as you’re transplanting, and tie the stem loosely to the stake as the plant grows.

Start a water garden.

Some herbs such as basil and parsley are good additions to the vegetable garden. Others prefer drier conditions and little fertilizer. Herbs from the Mediterranean region such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, dill and oregano will have greater concentrations of essential oils if given lots of sun, very well-drained soil, and very little fertilizer.

The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering, when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils.

Mow frequently enough to remove no more than one-third of the blade at a time.

Mow St. Augustine and zoysia at three inches, leaving enough blade to shade the soil and conserve moisture.

Don’t bag or rake grass clippings; let them lie on the lawn to return nitrogen to the soil.

 

Replace constantly declining turf in dense shade with a mulch or ground cover.

Don’t let the compost heap or bins dry out completely or it will not "cook." Turning the compost pile to aerate it will also hasten decomposition.

Mulch around woody plants after cleaning away weeds and grass, but don’t pile thick mulch up against trunks. Two-inch depth is plenty, starting several inches or so away from trunks.

This is a good time to take cuttings to propagate many shrubs. Most stems would be classified as semi-hardwood cuttings in June and July.

To get the color of crape myrtle you want, you should purchase a containerized plant now while it is in bloom in the nursery.

Adjust ties on trees and shrubs to prevent girdling of stems.

Build, repair or paint trellises, arbors and lawn furniture.

Change the oil and air filter in gas-powered equipment as instructed in manuals.

Edge beds to make a clean line and define them, and keep edges clean with regular fine-tuning with grass shears. A well-cut edge makes a big difference.

 
   

Ethanol-enriched gases have a shorter storage life; buy smaller quantities or add a stabilizer.

Before pouring gasoline into the fuel tank of your lawn mower, garden tiller or other garden equipment, be sure to turn off the engine and allow it to cool for at least five minutes.

Keep the mower blade at the highest level recommended for your lawn type. Sharpen mower blades frequently.

Change the water in your bird bath regularly. Standing water may become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.