Archive for Sunday, June 2, 2002

Easing into a routine

Spring planting is over; maintenance becomes important

June 2, 2002


Thank goodness for June. The hectic hustle and bustle of spring cleanup, weeding, planning, planting and fertilizing of May now give way to a more leisurely gardening pace.

There's still plenty to do, although much of our gardening focus is now on maintenance.

In the flower garden

Continue to plant annuals to add color and interest to the garden. Since the perennials are reaching their mature height in June, we can see where the bare spots are. Fill in those vacant areas with annuals. Water them well and fertilize.

Fertilize roses. Follow all directions carefully. Keep roses evenly watered and avoid splashing the foliage.

Add 3 to 4 inches mulch to the garden to retain moisture. Mulch also keeps the soil cool and discourages weeds. Organic mulches, such as shredded bark and chopped leaves, will improve the soil as they break down.

Keep the garden well watered. Water zinnias, phlox and other plants prone to fungal diseases along the ground. Avoid splashing their foliage with water.

Water container plants every day. Fertilize regularly. Container plants have no way to secure nutrients since their roots cannot spread out into the earth searching for them.

Remove dead foliage from spring flowering bulbs. Once the foliage has died, the energy has been returned to the bulb for future flower development.

Break off spent daylily blooms. This prevents seed formation and gives the plant a cleaner look. Once the entire spray of blooms on a stalk has faded, cut out the stem.

Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants when they reach a height of 8 inches. Continue pinching back until the middle of July.

Remove spent flower stalks from irises and peonies to give the plants a neater look and to discourage diseases. Do not cut back the iris foliage since the plant uses it to store up energy for the next growing season.

Control poison ivy. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and gloves when ridding it from your garden. Wash well if you come in contact with it.


Set mower to 2 1/2 to 3 inches for summer mowing. The longer length helps shade the turf and discourages weeds.

Let grass clippings fall to the lawn during mowing to return nutrients to the soil.

Pluck out weeds either by hand or by spot treating with a weed killer.

Water the lawn weekly during morning hours to a depth of one inch to encourage deep root formation and to keep the lawn green. Or, water sparingly to increase its drought tolerance throughout the heat of summer.

In the vegetable and fruit garden

Harvest spring-planted snap beans, broccoli, peas, turnips and beets.

Harvest gooseberries, strawberries and cherries.

Plant sweet potatoes, sweet corn, squash, lettuce and cauliflower.

Keep vegetable beds weed-free and watered. Mulch as needed.

Renovate existing strawberry beds by cutting back or narrowing the plant rows to promote new plant development and provide optimum conditions and a vigorous harvest. The main steps in renovation include controlling competition among strawberry plants for light and nutrients, fertilizing and controlling weeds.

Water and fertilize strawberries carefully. The performance of any strawberry cultivar is influenced by the local conditions. Soil that is too wet inhibits good root growth.

To ensure well-drained strawberry beds, mound the soil so excess moisture drains away. Strawberries are sensitive to the planting depth. Strawberry roots must be below the soil level and the crown even with the soil level.

A starter solution of fertilizer can be prepared by adding 2 tablespoons of a garden fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 5-10-10, to a gallon of water. One cup of the starter solution can be added around the root area.

Do not put it directly on the roots to avoid injury to them.

Pinch back herbs to encourage bushiness.

Trees and shrubs

Snip off suckers from the base of trees.

Trim off broken branches.

Prune spring flowering shrubs after blooms have faded.


Add material to the compost pile, turning it regularly and keeping it moist.

Drive to Powell Gardens in Lone Jack, Mo., for the Daylily Festival.

Carol Boncella is education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and home and garden writer for the Journal-World.

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