High and dry is the way we spent most of the winter through spring months. But now summer arrives and we know it is going to be wet and humid. Regretfully your landscapes are going to bear the scars of an extended drought for a good while, so let's take a look at what we can do.
Those dead spots in lawns are not going away quickly and some are sure to fill with weeds. Now while it rains most days is a good time to add new sod or plugs to bare spots. If the weeds are invading, it would also be a good time to remove this unwanted greenery and add new turf. Remember the secret to establishing new grass is keeping the soil moist but not overly wet. Often rains help us rewet the turf but you may have to do some watering too.
Some of those bare spots may not have been a good location for turf. These areas may be difficult to water, too shady or have a soil problem. Maybe another ground cover would be a good choice.
Flower gardens suffered during the dry times too. If you did not water, you may be seeing just brown stems. Now is the time to add new color to beds and planters of all types. Let's start with the pentas with red, pink, lavender and white blooms. Many made it through the winter this year and could easily last through summer and into fall. Newer varieties are often dwarf selections but the taller types are still popular. A favorite is the dark red that really brings in the butterflies and hummingbird if they are in your neighborhood.
Many gardeners have geraniums they would like to keep through the summer and rebloom next fall. Here is the secret - keep them out of the daily rains. Yes, they are going to stop flowering and may look horrible during the hot weather but they can be survivors. Just keep the soil moist and feed only once a month and lightly. It's almost a miracle how they come back to life during October when the cooler weather arrives.
Herbs are a challenge too. The list of summer survivors includes anise, basil, dill, garlic chives, ginger, marjoram, mint, oregano and thyme. Some gardeners keep them in the ground but container culture works well as it provides good drainage during the rainy weather. Do keep them moist and feed every other week or use a slow release fertilizer.
- Feeding time is over until fall for residents in fertilizer restricted areas.
- If your lawn begins to yellow try an iron only application where permitted.
- Weeds are also making good growth; spot killing with a product for your turf type is best.
- Seasonal rains should return this month; until then water as needed and allowed in your area.
- Many lawns are filling in the bare spots; add sections of sod or plugs as needed.
- New lawns can be added with seed, plugs or sod for the grass type desired.
- Avoid sodding shady areas during summer to prevent rot problems caused by the wet weather.
- Chinch bugs are causing yellow to brown areas in St. Augustine lawns; treat when noticed.
- Sod webworms are likely to arrive this month due to the warm winter.
- Moths do not mean sod webworms are feedings; wait until chewing damage is noted to treat.
- Mushrooms common in lawns can be poisonous; remove if kids and animals are present.
- Mow a different direction each time the lawn is cut to avoid ruts in the turf.
- Replace constantly declining turf in dense shade with mulch or a ground cover.
- Change the oil and air filter in gas powered equipment as instructed in manuals.
- Consider new selections of flowers for summer; check the arrivals at garden centers.
- Add the tropical look to the landscape with heat loving foliage plants.
- Remove old soil from containers and improve beds with organic matter before planting.
- Groom perennials, roses and spring flowering shrubs to remove declining flowers and stems.
- Keep your landscape attractive by removing and replacing annual flowers as needed.
- Some bulbs like caladiums and gingers can add months of color to landscape beds.
- Pine bark fines available from landscape supply stores makes a great mulch for flower beds.
- Hurricane season begins June 1; it's not too late to have your trees checked and trimmed.
- Make plans now to protect plants and landscape accessories from wind and storm damage.
- Don't let weeds grow out of control; remove by hand or spot kill with herbicides.
- Complete azalea pruning by month's end.
- Groom roses to remove old flowers and twiggy stems: feed monthly and control black spot.
- Give camellias & gardenias the care they need; water, fertilizer, mulch and scale insect control.
- Trim back poinsettias 4- to 6-inches after a foot of new growth to keep them compact.
- Plant hydrangeas where they receive morning sun and afternoon shade.
- Hot summer days make it difficult to transplant trees and shrubs; wait until cooler weather.
- Root tip cuttings of shrubs and foliage plants to grow more plants.
- Feed shrubs and palms with a slow release fertilizer.
- Give container gardens a weekly feeding or use a slow release fertilizer as labeled.
- Divide orchids and bromeliads outgrowing their containers.
- Feed orchids every other week with a liquid or use a slow release fertilizer as labeled.
- Feed lilies and other aquatic plants in home water gardens.
Vegetable and fruit care:
- A mild spring means many crops are continuing into summer; enjoy as long as possible.
- Harvest maturing crops and replant with heat loving vegetables.
- Start sweet potato transplants from a spouting grocery store root.
- Keep weeds under control as gardens decline to prevent pest problems for fall.
- Bake out nematodes and diseases by covering moist soil with clear plastic for eight weeks.
- Continue to add fruit trees, shrubs and vines from containers to the landscape.
- Learn the pests of your new fruits and decide if you need a control plan.
- Feed summer vegetable plantings every 3 to 4 weeks.
- Reshape blueberry shrubs and hedges and prune blackberries.
- Groom other fruit trees and shrubs as needed to remove out of bounds limbs and congestion.
- Feed bananas monthly; harvest stalks when the first hand formed begins to yellow.
- Feed pineapples with a slow release fertilizer following label instructions.
- Give citrus trees the best care possible to avoid the greening disease.
- Complete late spring citrus feedings; apply a minor nutrient spray at each flush of growth.
- Control citrus pests including the Asian psyllid at each flush of new growth.
Foliage and house plant care:
- Move gift plants outdoors to grow in containers or in the ground.
- Forced tulip, daffodils and similar cool climate flowers are best tossed but keep the pots.
- Give declining foliage plants a rest outdoors in the shade.
- Repot plants needing a new container.
- Feed plants outdoors every two weeks and indoors monthly.
- Use a slow release fertilizer as instructed to stretch the time between feedings.
- Wash away insects with soapy water.
- Remove declining leaves, stems and blooms; pinch the tips of shoots to cause branching
June 2020 Planitngs
Flowers: Angelonia, begonias, bush daisy, butterfly plant, caladium, cat's whiskers, celosia, coleus, coreopsis, Dahlberg daisy, firespike, four-o'clock, gaillardia, gerbera daisy, ginger, goldenrod, impatiens, kalanchoe, lantana, lion's ear, marigolds, melampodium, Mexican petunia, Mexican sunflower, moon flower, Porterweed, pentas, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, salvia, showy primrose, shrimp plant, Stokes aster, sunflower, torenia and zinnias.
Vegetables: Boniato, calabaza, chayote, cherry tomatoes, dasheen, malanga, okra, roselle, southern peas, Seminole pumpkin, sweet cassava, sweet potatoes and yard long beans.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chives, dill, ginger, marjoram, mint, oregano, sage and thyme.
Bulbs-type plants: Achimenes, African iris, agapanthus, amaryllis, blackberry lily, bulbine, caladiums, canna, crinum, crocosmia, day lily, eucharis lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, peacock ginger, society garlic, rain lily and walking iris.