June can be a busy month in the garden.
Dry weather brings the need to water plants more.
Wet weather brings scouting tasks for disease and other pests.
Plants need to be fed to keep growing and that lawn just won’t quit, either.
Whatever the conditions, there is plenty to add to the outside to-do list.
• Irrigate the grass only when you walk on the lawn and it does not spring back.
A simple rule of thumb is that lawns need about 1 inch of water each week to remain healthy and growing.
When you irrigate be sure to place a tuna or cat food can about halfway in the middle of the irrigation coverage area.
When the can is full, you have given your lawn an inch of water.
Remember, clay soils need less water since the clay will retain moisture.
Sandy soils, such as those in Caroline and northern Dorchester counties need more water more frequently since the lighter soils cannot retain as much moisture.
• Fertilize azaleas and rhododendrons. June is the perfect time to fertilize your azaleas and rhododendrons.
Also, keep a close eye on insect damage. If you have not pruned these bushes yet, there is still time but do not wait too long.
• Attract beneficial insects to your landscape by planting a wide variety of flowering annuals and perennials that will bloom over the entire growing season.
Good choices are plants in the following families: daisy (marigolds, daisies, asters, mums), carrot (dill, fennel, anise, yarrow, parsley) and mint (all mints and thymes).
• Water newly planted trees and shrubs until they become established (for about two years), especially in the summer and fall.
Water deeply by allowing the water to soak into the soil directly underneath and around the root ball.
Check the depth of water penetration into the soil by digging a small hole after watering. It should be moist about 6 inches down.
A 2- to-3-inch layer of mulch is helpful. Keep mulch away from the trunk or stem.
• It is not necessary to prune ground covers every year; however, when a plant like pachysandra or plumbago matures, it gets straggly and loses its thick, full look.
When this happens, renew it by pruning to stimulate new growth and branching.
Do not remove more than a third of the top growth at one time.
• Monitor houseplants kept indoors for mealybug, spider mites, aphids, whitefly, and scale. If houseplant pests are a problem consider spraying with a labeled horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.
If possible, move the plants outside before spraying and when dry, move them back indoors.
• The suckers or succulent shoots that develop from tomato plants at the soil line should be removed throughout the season.
You can plant these suckers for a late crop.
• Cut iris flower stalks down to the crown when they are finished blooming.
Leave the foliage alone. If your iris are over-crowded after flowering lift and divide them.
Check rhizomes for iris borer.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is the owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)