June 2012 Garden Tips
The late rains mean that your plants will go into the dry season a bit more fortified than usual, especially trees and shrubs. However, it also means that weeds are more of a problem than usual! Those of you who have neglected to mulch are probably really paying the price, so follow any weeding with a thick (1-2”) layer of mulch and keep the weed problem to a minimum going forward.
Those who are already converts to mulching, keep at it, especially new plantings. Mulch not only cuts down on weeds but also prevents soil from drying out as quickly. Don’t forget to mulch around trees, too, but in all cases keep mulch from piling up around the base of the plant. The mulch level at the base should never be higher than the soil level.
The late rain may cause conditions, such as fungal problems or rotting, that you have not seen before (or saw for the first time last year). Observe how your plants behave in these unusual conditions and garden accordingly.
Continue to fertilize roses and other heavy feeders. If you have amended your soil with compost and are using an organic fertilizer, you do not need to do much else at this point.
Dead-head roses as the first round of blooms finishes. Cut blossoms for bouquets early in the morning and get them into deep, warmish water quickly – the stems will take up the water and remain fresh longer in the vase.
If you have wisteria, prune it aggressively after bloom, cutting back to 2 nodes on new branches to ensure a robust display of bloom next year. You should prune it again in the fall, also.
Pull or prune suckers from the bottom of sucker-prone plants such as wisteria, crab-apples, poplars, etc.
As the weather warms the aphid problem will lesson – be alert for any remaining colonies and spray them off with water.
Fill in empty spaces in flowerbeds or borders with annuals such as zinnias, container sunflowers or impatiens.
If you plan to be away this summer, ensure that you have someone to water, or set up your irrigation system on automatic timers.
There is still a lot to do in June, but enjoying the garden should be high on your list. The plentiful flowers bring out the bees and hummingbirds in full force and birds are busy courting and making nests.