The calendar may not say so, but many other signs show summer is in full swing.
If you were successful in getting all the plants planted that you wanted and beds in shape around your home and property, now begins the time to go back through your work and maintain the beauty you’ve created.
• Divide spring-flowering bulbs while you can still tell where they are. Mark the location of any that you will be dividing in fall, instead, before their foliage dies back.
• 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.
• Thinning plants is an important part of the growing process.
Before newly planted crops get too dense, thin rows and beds to give them appropriate room for robust growth.
For established plants thinning blossoms and early fruits on trees will encourage larger produce instead of stunted crops.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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).
• 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.
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is the owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)