When geranium flowers wither, pinch off the flower with your fingernail an inch or so below the blossom.
A few days later, tug out the dried, brownish stem at the top. A replacement stem and flower will grow quickly because you pruned properly.
Perk up flowering plants in containers or hanging baskets with an application of a product such as Greenlight’s Super Bloom, for example, once every two weeks.
Prune achillea and delphinium back to three feet off the ground now to enjoy another burst of late-summer and early-fall flowers.
Give lawns about an inch of water a week if we get no rain.
It is better to apply this all at once to encourage deeper roots in your lawn.
Water in early morning so the grass blades dry quickly, reducing the chances of fungus.
To measure the water you apply, cut the lid off an empty tuna can and place on the lawn.
When the can is full, you have applied an inch of water.
Those folks who have sandy soil, which drains very quickly, water twice a week, one inch each time.
• Japanese beetles are present and mating. Place traps at the corners of the property away from desirable plants (roses, grapevines, flowering plums, and cherries).
If you need to spray, we suggest using Bonide Yard & Garden Eight, or Beetle Killer.
Both will kill on contact and provide about two weeks of protection.
• Mildew problems on roses, phlox, and lilac are likely to occur with the hot, humid, moist days and nights.
Be sure to water only in the morning, and only on the ground around the plant, try not to get the foliage wet.
If this and other fungal problems persist, we suggest using Infuse by Bonide, which is a systemic fungicide and repeat the application every ten to fourteen days.
• Prune and fertilize strawberries. By doing this now, you will allow time for the plants to develop for next year’s fruiting.
It is suggested that you spade out 2-year old plants and discard, as one year old plants will produce much better fruit.
• When fruit and berry plants are ripening, remember to harvest consistently every day to avoid inviting the deer to eat the ripened fruit.
Install a nylon cover mesh to keep the deer and also birds from your berries.
• Keep watch on lawn for drought stress. If you walk on your lawn and the grass does not spring back, it needs water.
Clay soils need one inch of rain per week, while sandy soils need two one-inch applications a week. Be careful not to over water as this can cause lawn fungal diseases like “grease-mold or cottony blight.”
• A reminder that frequent watering of container and patio plants as well as hanging baskets leeches the nutrients from the soil. You must fertilize to compensate for this loss.
I suggest using Jack’s Classic fertilizer at half the dose rate every other time you water.
Also, replace any soil that may have shrunk away with an organic compost such as Leafgro, or Composted Manure.
• Rid your vegetable garden of rabbits by soaking corn cobs in vinegar overnight and scattering in the garden. You can soak them again in two weeks to ensure that the rabbits stay out of your vegetable garden.
• Where you are losing too much light to tree branches, mark the limbs that can be removed to thin the canopy.
Late winter will be a good time to remove these limbs.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)