June and July Gardening To-Do's

We are already through the half-way mark of June and July is right around the corner, granted the temperatures we are currently experiencing is more reminiscent of July then June. I was trying to figure out what to write on this week, so on my drive back from a program, I figured what better time than now to think about what we should be doing in June and July in our yards.

Make sure to keep control of weeds and don't let them go to seed. Especially those that are particularly annoying such as purslane or ragweed (this is the one that causes misery for fall allergy sufferers) or plantains, really any weed to be honest. Last week Chris wrote about violets and my yard is like his, those get to grow and bloom in my yard so I don't worry about controlling them. If you catch weeds when they are still small, especially the annual weeds, you can get decent control with mechanical control – pulling weeds by hand or using a stirrup hoe. Harder to control weeds such as creeping Charlie or dandelions or yellow nutsedge are perennial weeds and sometimes we have to resort to using herbicides to get them under control. If you do want to use an herbicide for weed control make sure to identify the weed first and then find the right herbicide, read the label, and make sure to watch the temperature – avoid spraying in temperatures over 85 degrees as chemicals can vaporize and land off target injuring desirable plants. Timing is important for herbicides as many plants that are in flower are more resistant towards the effects of herbicides. Contact your local extension office for more information about weed control.

Make sure to provide supplemental irrigation to newly planted trees and shrubs if we aren't getting a ½ inch of rain during the week. Even trees planted last year or the year before should still be provided irrigation through what is considered the establishment period. Soaker hoses or a slow trickle of water from a regular hose to the root ball area works great. You can also use watering bags such as Gator Bags which you place around the tree and fill with water and it slowly drains out. Don't rely on turf irrigation systems to water trees and shrubs.

Even mature, established trees can benefit from supplemental irrigation if we aren't receiving any rain during a 2 week period. Remember the drought from 2012? We saw a lot of mature trees that were suffering from residual drought stress in the following years. For large trees you can use large clean garbage cans, drill a few holes around the base a few inches up from the bottom, place the garbage can out under the trees drip line, fill it up, let it drain out, move the can to a new spot and repeat.

When it comes to turf – unless you plan to consistently irrigate it through the summer, let your turf go dormant during the hot weather. It will green back up later once the temperatures cool back down. Most of the turf in our area is cool season turf and prefers the cooler weather in spring and fall then the heat of the summer, so dormancy is normal. Pulling turf in and out of dormancy from sporadic irrigation causes stress and can reduce the overall health of the turf plants.

Make sure to remove any standing/stagnant water to remove mosquito breeding grounds. If you have birdbaths in your yard, make sure to change water frequently to help prevent standing water.

Continue to deadhead flowers to keep up continuous blooms. If your petunias are starting to look a little worn out and leggy you can trim them back 6-8 inches and let them regrow.

If you have any plants growing in containers, check daily to see if they need watered. Make sure to not let plants wilt as it puts stress on the plant. You can also utilize water-soluble fertilizer at the recommended rate on the package or use slow-release fertilizers to provide supplemental nutrients to container plants.

Finally, give yourself time to enjoy your gardens and relax.