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Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips Regions

The pros recommend treating tulips as annuals with the exception of species tulips. Painful as it may be, yank those tulips up, compost them, and plan to plant the bed anew in the fall.

Plants that bloom now include balloon flower; Canterbury bells; clematis; coreopsis; delphiniums; English, painted, and Shasta daisies; foxgloves; Oriental poppies; and sweet William.

Encourage young fruit trees to develop strong limbs and a wider crotch angle by weighing down the branches with clothespins.

Thin fruit trees by leaving 1 fruit approximately every 6 to 12 inches along the branches or 1 fruit per cluster. The higher the leaf-to-fruit ratio, the sweeter the fruit. A standard apple tree should have about 40 leaves for each fruit. Dwarf apples, which usually produce a ration of 1 fruit to about 25 leaves, will yield better-quality fruit when thinned.

Stop cutting asparagus when the yield decreases and the spears diminish in size. Top-dress the bed with compost or well-rotted manure.

Thin crowded plantings of lettuce, carrots, beets, and herbs. Give them a good watering when the job is finished to help the roots of remaining plants recover from any damage your pulling may have inflicted.

Religiously patrol your basil plantings and remove all the clusters of flower buds that form at the stem ends the minute you see them forming. This will encourage nice bushy plants and a continuing supply of leaves.

Mulch around trees to create a safe zone where your mower won't go. Nicking a tree trunk can seriously damage even a well-established tree.

Mow your lawn according to the needs of the grass, not the calendar -- for example, every Saturday. Grasses thicken and provide better cover when regularly clipped at the proper height. Adjust your lawn mower blades to cut the grass at 2 or 3 inches rather than at 1 1/2 inches.

Prune rhododendrons after they flower. On young and old plants, snap off spent flower stalks by bending them over until they break away from their stems. Be careful not to damage growth buds at the base of each flower stalk.

Don't trim iris leaves into scallops or fan shapes after the flowers fade. Leaves carry on photosynthesis and develop nourishment for next year's growth. Cut off brown tips and remove the flowering stalk down to the rhizome. If you're dividing irises, cut the leaves back by about half just before you move them.

All vegetable crops, including warm-season plants, can go in the ground now.

Continue to sow carrots, beets, and beans to spread out the harvest.

Pull out any bolted lettuce, spinach, or radish plants.

Harvest early season fruits and vegetables.

Pull soil up against potato plants when they are 9 to 12 inches tall.

Sidedress asparagus and rhubarb with aged manure or fertilizer (10-10-10 formulation).

Protect ripening strawberries from birds.

Eliminate weeds when they are small and easy to pull. By keeping your plants well-watered and -fertilized, they will quickly fill in spaces instead of weeds.

Thin your seedlings to their proper spacing so as to avoid overcrowding. Remove dead flowers from plants to encourage new growth.

Remember to water your plants. It is better to water your garden thoroughly once a week to ensure that a deep root system is established.

Deadhead fading blossoms from perennials and roses.

Prune older canes from climbing roses.

Fertilize roses after the flowers start to fade.

Give perennials a fertilizer boost (5-10-10 formula).

Divide and replant iris.

Finish pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs by the end of the month.

Mow your lawn when grass is at a height of 2 to 3 inches to best keep weeds down.

Start seedlings of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage now so they can be transplanted in the fall.

Thin overloaded fruit trees; thinning them will allow for larger and healthier fruit to grow.

Protect fruit trees from animals and pests.

June is the driest month. However, do NOT overwater. Water slowly, deeply (5 or 6 inches deep), and let the soil dry between watering.

Stick to your mowing schedule. Lawns will grow faster with the warmer weather, so try to mow every 5 to 6 days.

Apply a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch around the roots of your plants. The mulch will help retain moisture during the dry summer months.

Finish seeding Bermuda and warm-season grasses by the end of June.

Native and imported heat-tolerant plants can be planted during summer months as long as they are watered regularly until fall.

Plant colorful summer annuals, such as cosmos, marigolds, salvia, or petunias.

Pinch back established mums and plant mums now for fall bloom.

Cut back on fertilizing roses during the hot temperature. Water deeply. Hose off roses in early morning to increase humidity.

Remove faded or dead flowers from your plants to encourage new growth.

Remove any unwanted or vigorous branches from trees.

June is not a good planting month for most edibles. You can plant melons, sunflowers, and sweet potato transplants. Be sure to water your transplants both before and after you plant them.

Some common problems to look for in gardens are gray leaf spot, blossom end rot, spider mites, and lace bugs.

All vegetable crops, including warm-season plants, should be in the ground now.

Pull soil up against potato plants when they are 9 to 12 inches tall.

Sow more beans, carrots, and beets for a continuous harvest.

Start seedlings of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage now so they can be transplanted in the fall.

Look out for Japanese beetles and knock them into a can of soapy water. See Almanac.com/Gardening for our pest pages.

Tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers can use some nutrients now, so scratch some granular fertilizer into the soil around plants or in a shallow trench alongside a row.

Plant colorful summer annuals, such as cosmos, marigolds, salvia, or petunias.

Elevate your container plantings so water can drain.

Remember to water your plants. It is better to water your garden thoroughly once a week to ensure that a deep root system is established. However, do NOT overwater. Water slowly, deeply (5 or 6 inches deep), and let the soil dry between watering.

Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the roots of your plants. The mulch will help retain moisture during the dry summer months.

Top-dress asparagus and rhubarb with aged manure or fertilizer (10-10-10 formulation).

Native and imported heat-tolerant plants can be planted during summer months as long as they are watered regularly until fall.

Remove any dead flowers from your perennials to encourage new growth.

Give perennials a fertilizer boost (5-10-10 formula).

Help suppress weeds in your lawn by mowing it to a height of 2 or 3 inches.

Protect ripening strawberries from birds. Remove blossoms from newly established strawberry plants. Remove runners to keep energy focused on the fruit.

Water your lawn and gardens in the morning or late during the day to avoid any evaporation.

Fertilize roses, using a liquid fertilizer at every watering or a dry rose fertilizer.

Prune older canes from climbing roses.

The fruiting of tomatoes and peppers is improved by applying Epsom salts, which contains sulfur and magnesium. Apply 1 tablespoon of granules around each transplant, or spray a solution of 1 tablespoon Epsom salts per gallon of water at transplanting, first flowering, and fruit set.

Apply a layer of mulch around your woody plants.

Be sure to weed your gardens regularly, as the weeds will compete with your plants for water and nutrients.

Prune flowering shrubs, such as rhododendrons, lilacs, and azaleas, after they bloom.

Fertilize your vegetable plants 1 month after they emerge by side dressing.

Be sure to continuously harvest your vegetables and fruit to keep the crops thinned out.

Ensure that raised beds are getting enough water. Once the soil surface dries out, water deeply in the early morning.

Make trellises or supports for tomatoes, cucumbers, and pole beans.

Remember to water your lawn. It is better to water it deeply and less frequently than shallow and more frequently.

Keep checking your plants for any diseases or insects, and treat when necessary. (See our Pest pages.)

Stay on top of garden weeds.

Move your houseplants outside for some sunlight. You can also clean and repot your plants.

Mow your lawn regularly to a height of 2 to 3 inches. Leave clippings on lawn as natural fertilizer.

Make sure your lawn is getting 1 inch of water per week. (Measure rainfall by putting out an empty tin can.)

Sharpen your mower blades to prevent disease and keep the lawn greener.

Plant more flowers, such as petunias, marigolds, zinnias, asters, nasturtiums, and impatiens.

Remove the dead flowers from perennials and annuals. Pinching back the stems will also help to keep your plants healthy.

Fertilize annuals with a balanced fertilizer. High nitrogen content is important until the plants are fully grown; once they fully grown, switch to a high-phosphorus fertilizer.

Check your trees and shrubs; ensure that each has a few inches of mulch (or add more).

If your apple and pear trees drop, thin the remainder for more productive harvest.

Spray fruit trees to avoid pests. Horticulture oil sprays handle many pests in an environmentally friendly yet effective way.

Keep your compost pile moist. Mix and moisten dry materials and cover with plastic if it’s dry out.

Harvest your vegetables as soon as they are ripe for freshest taste, to prolong production, and to avoid pest issues. Beans, peas, squash, cucumbers, and okra are often ready.

Harvest Irish potatoes when two-thirds of the tops have died down. Store in a cool, dark place.

Store onions in a dry, airy place.

Start preserving your extra bounty or give to the poor. See Almanac.com for canning and preserving tips.

You can still plant okra, southern peas, lima beans, and sweet potatoes.

Plant heat-loving herbs, including basil, rosemary, and Mexican tarragon.

Pinch your annual and perennial herbs to promote bushier growth.

Carefully monitor and control for harmful insects. See Almanac.com/Gardening for our Pest pages.

Remove any dead/finished vegetable plants from your garden; plant new crops in their place.

This is normally a rainy season, but ensure that your garden receives 1 inch of rain per week.

Plant annuals that can take the full sun during hot summer months, including celosia, portulaca, vinca, and some coleus.

Remove any dead or old flowers from your plants to encourage new growth.

Do not remove the foliage of spring bulbs until it has yellowed and dried.

Stake any tall plants to help prevent any damage.

Add bright color to the landscape with perennials, including zinnia, salvia, and blue sage.

Plant palms during these warm, wet months. Make sure that the trunk is not covered with soil or fertilizer.

Lightly prune summer flowering shrubs, such as oleander, hibiscus, and crape myrtle.

For healthy grass, avoid weed and feed products. Only apply herbicides to areas with weed infestations.

If you have areas where grass simply doesn’t grow well, consider a ground cover.

Mow your lawn at recommended heights (St. Augustine and Bahia: 3 to 4 inches; Centipede: 1.5 to 2 inches; Dwarf St. Augustine: 2.5 inches).