WAYNE COUNTY — As summer begins, gardens are now in full swing. With summer weather, gardens need to be watered regularly and gardeners need to be on the outlook for insect and disease problems. Below are gardening tips from Wayne County Cooperative Extension to help your garden grow through the month of June.
Mowing at the correct height and frequency is one of the most important things you can do keep your lawn thick and weed free. Different turf types have different ideal mowing heights. Centipede, bermuda and zoysia lawns are best kept at one to one and a half inches. St. Augustine lawns need to mowed at three to four inches high.
If you use any broadleaf weed killer containing 2-4-D, buy two sprayers and use one for herbicides and the other for insecticides and fertilizers. Label the sprayers with permanent markers so the use is obvious to prevent accidently spraying a herbicide on wanted plants.
Seeds of centipede, bermuda and certain varieties of zoysia can be sown in June but need frequent watering to germinate. Do not allow grass seed to dry out after being sown. St. Augustine grass cannot be established by seed.
For container gardens in shady locations, try shade loving plants like begonias, caladiums, ferns, coleus, fuchsia, hellebores, heuchera and impatiens. Mid- to late June is an excellent time to take softwood cuttings of shrubs to start new plants. Some shrubs propagated in this manner are spirea, boxwood and azalea. Remove dead flowers from bedding plants to get more flowering. Removing the dead flowers or “deadheading” prevents the plants from not flowering and going to seed and before summer is over.
Plant sweet potato slips in June for fall harvest. Most vegetables require one inch of water per week. Avoid wetting the foliage of plants when watering as this increases disease problems. Use soaker hoses or drip tape to apply water at ground level.
Remember to fertilize your tomatoes as they are growing. Fertilize with two to three tablespoons per plant after plant has started to set fruit and four to six weeks thereafter throughout the growing season. Use 8-8-8 and 10-10-10. Keep fertilizer four to six inches from the plant’s stem to avoid fertilizer burn.
Squash vine borers may cause a squash plant here and there to wilt, even when no other plants are suffering. Check near the base of the plant for a small hole and a mass of greenish-yellow excrement. Slitting open the stem may reveal the villain: a fat, white caterpillar. It may be possible to save the plant by removing the caterpillar, then covering the injured vine with moist soil to encourage rooting.
— From the Wayne County Cooperative Extension website, by Extension Agent Jessica Strickland