Gardening This Weekend: June 14, 2018

Mid-June is a very busy time in caretaking of your landscape and gardens. Quick-scan through the list of things I’ve prepared. They should be a help as you prepare your plants for the summer.


Take cuttings from your favorite spring tomatoes to root for fall garden transplants. Stick 4- to 5-inch terminal cuttings into 4-inch pots filled with loose potting soil. Water thoroughly and cover almost air-tight with dry cleaner’s plastic in a bright but shaded location. They should start to develop roots within 10-14 days. Once they are firmly rooted (3 weeks or so), move them into morning sun, then full-day sun before setting them into the garden by end of first week of June.
Crape myrtles while in full bloom so you can see the exact shades. Read labels carefully to determine maximum heights. Match them up with the spots you have for them.
Lawngrass from seed, sod or plugs. Water lightly daily (or more often) until grass takes root and starts growing actively. Then gradually water more heavily but less often.
Heat-tolerant annuals and tropical color plants to carry you now through mid-fall. Don’t want to work up a big bed? Plant in large patio pots. They give almost as much impact for a lot less total effort.


Remove flower buds from basil, coleus, santolina, caladiums, lambs ear. They stop production of new leaves, and plants become unattractive.
Remove blackberry canes that have just borne fruit since they will never bear again. Pinch growing tips out of new shoots to keep them compact.
Pinch growing tips out of coleus, copper plants, Mexican bush salvias, fall asters, mums and other plants that tend to grow too tall.
Lanky, unattractive shoots from shrubs. Avoid formal shearing to maintain natural look.


• Patio containers and hanging baskets with water-soluble, high-nitrogen plant food at least weekly. Supplement these feedings with encapsulated, timed-release fertilizer.
• Iron to chlorotic plants showing yellowed leaves with dark green veins most prominently on newest growth. Many products include sulfur to keep iron in a soluble (“available”) form. Keep iron products off masonry, painted surfaces to prevent staining.

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Lace bugs causing pale tan, mottled spots on leaves of boxwoods, loropetalums, pyracanthas, azaleas, Boston ivy, sycamores, chinquapin oaks, bur oaks and other shrubs and trees. You rarely will see the insects, but you will see black specks on the backs of the leaves (their droppings). Apply systemic insecticide Imidacloprid 2-3 weeks prior to outbreak dates of past years.
Leafrollers will soon begin to tie leaves of redbuds, sweetgums, pyracanthas and especially trailing vinca groundcover together. Affected leaves will quickly turn brown. Apply systemic insecticide Imidacloprid as drench to soil to kill them as they start to feed.
Chiggers when you’re working in bermudagrass or weeds. They are not as common in St. Augustine turf. Apply DEET spray to your feet, ankles and calves, also to your socks and cuffs. If you’re pulling weeds, also to your hands and wrists. Might as well spritz your back and head to keep mosquitos at bay.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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