June Newsletter: Garden Maintenance

June Garden Maintenance

• Trim your azaleas, gardenia and camellias for the final time this month. These plants set their flowers for next year early and too much trimming after this month will result in far fewer flowers.

• Mow lawns at least weekly, no lower than 1 1/2 inches for centipede, 3″ for St. Augustine and Bahia and 1”-1 ½ “for Zoysia. If we experience dry weather- mow a little higher. Watch for brown patch fungus in wet weather and chinch bugs in dry on St. Augustine grass. Also be vigilant for sod web worms- the first clue will be swarms of moths when you walk through your yard. Seek advice if you see these.

• When (they may have already!) summer rains come, monitor, and check your irrigation system. Have a rain sensor installed if you do not have one.  Turn on your system and check all the heads.  Taking time to do this will insure proper watering.  Do not have your irrigation system come on too early (middle of the night) as water will sit on foliage for hours before sunrise and can lead to fungus problems.  Have it come on closer to dawn to prevent that.

• Remember- just because we are permitted to water twice per week in the summer does not mean we have to- mature landscapes only require a maximum of 1 inch of water per week! There are weeks Mother Nature provides that.  Check your system to see how much water you are outputting.  Put cans or containers out to measure the output in a cycle and adjust your time accordingly to allow for no more than an inch per week.  Rain gauges will assist in determining whether you need to turn your system on at all.

• Increased moisture can also lead to fungus or “rust” on some plants. If this appears- stop by with a sample and we will be happy to advise you.

• Oleander caterpillars will become evident again soon. They can defoliate a plant almost overnight. Stop by for advice on how to use systemic insecticides and sprays to control the problem. Monitor Desert Rose, Mandevillea and Dipladenia as well because these caterpillars can take a liking to these plants as well.

• We are often asked how and when to trim palm trees. There is one universal rule to trimming palms- always leave the green leaves that provide much needed chlorophyll from the sun. Many palm experts believe that because palm trees regenerate (as new rows of palm fronds emerge from the heart of the palm, the bottom row naturally dies off), trimming the bottom row too soon will cause too many fronds to die off before they should. A good rule of thumb is to never trim above the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock horizontal line. Your palm should NEVER look like a “giant carrot top”! Similarly, with the approach of storm season- do not let anyone convince you that your palms need to be “hurricane proofed”. This is NOT necessary. Palms will lose a frond or two in a bad storm but removing green foliage will do more harm than good!

• With the many threats that mosquitos bring us, make sure you regularly change the water in your bird baths or in anything that will hold water. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitos.

• Potted plants have their own water needs and may require watering more often during out hot summer days. A drooping plant can signify a dry plant but it also can be a sign of overwatering so check the soil to determine which is which. Leaves folding upward or in half is a sign the plants need water while tips of leaves turning brown or “water soaked” foliage drooping, and hanging are signs of over watering.

• Hot summer weather is hard on some plants- geraniums being one of them. If they are in pots keep them out of the heavy rains. They may look awful but when the cooler weather returns, they will come back to life!

• Are your flowering plants like hibiscus, roses or bougainvillea lush and green but no flowers? Make sure they are getting at least 5-6 hours of sun and consider using our “bloomer” fertilizer. Too much nitrogen causes significant growth, but flowers cannot set.

• Finally, summer heat can bring an influx of spider mites. If you have cedars, junipers, or cypress especially, watch carefully for these mites.  They are microscopic in size and can cause damage without you being aware until it is a big problem.  Spray your plants with a miticide periodically to help keep them at bay. Some varieties of mites can cause a problem called “witches broom”- often seen on Ligustrum especially.  If you see this type of damage- prune off the worst affected areas and treat plants with a miticide such as Horticultural Oil or Spinosad.

So now that you have your gardens spruced up for the summer, appropriate trimming done, cutting and watering done- sit back- relax and enjoy a cool beverage!  Your work is done!  For this month anyway!

                                    Happy Planting!