Unlike the farmer who has to make some hard planting decisions this late in the season, our annual plants are going to grow and flower. We just may need to plant a few more annual flowers to get the bed to fill in for the summer though. Many existing perennials have grown bigger than expected with our cool, wet weather, yet those we plant now can end up smaller than expected with the delayed planting.
The lawn challenge has been, and will continue to be, frequent mowing at least until the soil really dries and we get those hot temperatures that trigger the natural summer dormancy for our cool season grasses. If you need a mantra, it should be:"mow high, mow often, and with a sharp mower blade."
Leaf spot diseases, while rarely life threatening, certainly can be unattractive visually and if severe enough, even disfigure the foliage. We can blame the same cool, wet weather that kept us from gardening for this too. Trees, shrubs and perennial flowers will be the ones that take the biggest hit.
While planting and yard work has been delayed, that is not the case for overwintering insects. Insects have "partnered" with their host plants for many hundreds of years and they develop in parallel with the plant. One bright spot in all the cold weather damage that has happened to our plants – survey work is indicating that female bagworms did not survive nor did their eggs, so maybe we have one less insect to worry about this season.
Other insects that get our attention while attempting to work in the yard are all the gnats, flies and mosquitoes. All the moist soil and high humidity has fostered big populations right now. Gnats and flies will decline soon enough, but the mosquitoes are going to hang around. Gardeners should not leave any containers around that collect and hold water for any length of time. Birth baths and decorative containers come to mind. A birdbath should be rinsed and refilled regularly to stop mosquito larval development.
A final note this week – landscape plants that have been damaged by the severe winter temperatures and the late freeze are still recovering and it will be weeks really, before we know if they are going to make it. Stay patient and stay tuned.