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Weed Control Weeding is a satisfying task in the spring when moist soil and small weeds permit the gardener to make quick work of unwanted plants. However, when temperatures soar and tough perennial weeds send roots deep into summer-baked soil, the gardener may be tempted to give up on weed control. Repeated cultivation with a hoe, at least twice a week, will weaken established weeds. If it's not too hot to work safely in the yard, the gardener should at least attempt to remove the seed heads from weeds that will germinate when cool temperatures and fall rains return.
Insect Control Gardeners breathe a sigh of relief when typical spring pests like aphids fade from the landscape garden. However, summer insect pests like beetles, spider mites, scale, whiteflies, and grasshoppers soon replace them. Take advantage of cool mornings to conduct landscape rounds, plucking off the larger offenders and dropping in a bucket of soapy water. Use any pesticide sprays, whether organic or conventional, judiciously, as sprayed foliage is susceptible to burning in high temperatures. Yellow sticky traps are an easy way to capture thrips, fungus gnats, and whiteflies. Spider mites gravitate to drought stressed flowers, so a daily misting will discourage these pests.
Disease Control Flowers weakened by drought stress and high temperatures are vulnerable to mildew and fungal diseases. High humidity and nighttime temperatures further encourage the development and spread of plant diseases. Gardeners should remove and destroy any leaves infected with black spot or mildew, as spores will settle into the soil, only to reappear next season. Selective pruning of overcrowded branches promotes disease-reducing air circulation.
Fertilizing Some flowers need regular nutrient boosts to keep blooming until the end of the season, while others need to harden off and rest. Annual flowers, especially those that shine at the end of summer like dahlias, need continuous feeding until frost. You should allow perennial flowers to naturally wind down their blooming season, without forcing further new tender growth with fertilizing. If your garden features flowers that throw a second flush of blooms when the weather cools, like roses, you should apply the last feeding at the beginning of August.
Irrigation and Drought Management Even when gardeners lay down a three-inch layer of organic mulch in the spring, moisture and high temperatures can cause the mulch to break down before the garden season ends. Without a protective layer of mulch, the surface of the soil becomes cracked and hardpan, and the delicate feeder roots of flowers wither. Gardeners should apply a fresh layer of mulch in mid to late July, keeping the application a few inches away from plant crowns. Flowers need a minimum of an inch of water each week during summer months, but up to three inches of water when temperatures hover around the century mark. Conserve water by using soaker hoses, and water early in the morning to allow foliage to dry quickly. Just some food for thought about gardening....even late summer gardening. Do you get the idea I don't like to read or hear that? You are right. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse