As the weather continues to get hotter with the summer months, new problems tend to crop up in the home landscape. Below are some useful tips to help you face them and prevent future difficulties.
- Look for insect activity now on evergreen trees like magnolias and hollies. Scale, spider mites, lacebug, leaf minor, spittlebug, and leaf hopper can be prevalent this time of year.
- Base your fertilizer applications on soil test results and desired appearance. For Bermudagrass, a complete fertilizer like 16-4-8, 10-10-10, or 12-4-8 can be applied in spring and late summer with additional applications of nitrogen in the summer if it is not drought stressed.
- Though it may be tempting to reseed your Tall Fescue lawn in spring, September and October are the best time to seed for success. The new turf types will grow better when mowed at 2 inches but may need higher mowing (3-4 inches) during dry periods in the summer or under heavy shade.
- Evergreen shrubs like the holly family can be shaped by trimming new growth. Do not cut into last year’s growth.
- Azalea, rhododendron and mountain laurel should be fertilized as soon as they have finished blooming. They can also be pruned after bloom but be sure to finish your pruning by the end of August.
- Disinfect your pruners between cuts when removing diseased plant tissue. It is recommended you mix one part bleach to nine parts water in a bucket and then swish your pruners between cuts. You can also wipe your pruner blades with isopropyl alcohol between cuts if you don’t want to swish in a bleach solution.
- Use extreme caution when spraying ferns with insecticide as common insecticides can sometimes cause burning of the leaves.
- Apply post-emergent herbicides to control summer weeds. Remember to follow all label directions for application; you may need to apply after first irrigating or after a rainfall. Most herbicides don’t work as well if the weeds are drought stressed.
- Climbing roses don’t actually climb – they have long canes that require some sort of support. Loosely tie the canes to trellises with broad strips of material. Do not use wire because it can cut into and damage the cane.
- Alkaline soil can cause leaf yellowing (chlorosis) of some shade trees. If you suspect alkaline soil to be the cause of leaf yellowing, have a soil test done to determine soil pH. Pin oaks are especially susceptible to this condition. Extremes in soil pH, high or low, will limit the availability of nutrients to all plants
- If it becomes necessary to transplant woody ornamental plants in hot weather, drape them with a wet sheet after they are planted. Dampen the sheet two or three times a day keeping the plant covered for several days. This will help the plants survive the untimely move. In addition, mulch around the base to keep the soil moist.
- Divide spring and early summer flowering perennials after the blooms fade. Instead of severing the clump in half, try jiggling the roots apart with two sharp, spading forks. This takes more time, but damages fewer roots than cutting the clump apart.
- Remove foliage from spring bulbs after it turns yellow and begins to dry. Set out bedding plants to cover the bare spots using care not to damage bulbs.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Brenda Jackson at Murray County Extension at 706-695-3031 or email