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Skaggs: Garden chores are heating up

POSTED: June 10, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Spring is here, and summer lingers in the not too distant future.

Spring rains have brought about a sense of optimism among many gardeners. And while the recent rains have helped, a number of landscape and garden chores still need to be tended to if you want a prosperous landscape and garden this summer.

Below are a few tips and suggestions that will hopefully improve your landscape.

Look for insect activity now on evergreen trees like magnolias and hollies. Scale, spider mites, lacebug, leaf minor, spittlebug and leaf hopper are prevalent this month.

Continue a regular control program for insects and diseases on your fruit trees. A complete home orchard spray may well be the most practical method of control.

Evergreen shrubs like Burford Holly may be shaped by trimming new growth. Do not cut into last year's growth.

Strawberries picked early in the day keep best. Do not wash berries until ready to use. Store berries in covered containers in the refrigerator.

Side dress sweet corn with 34-0-0 when it reaches knee high. About a half pound per 10 ft. of row should boost the corn.

Climbing roses don't really climb - they have long canes that require support. You'll need to loosely tie the canes to a trellis with broad strips of material; do not use wire, it can damage the cane.

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumber and okra can be fertilized with 5-10-15 about every six weeks throughout the growing season.

When it is necessary to transplant woody 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.

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.

If weed plants are mature, plan to weed your garden early in the morning when moisture is present to prevent the seed heads from shattering and dropping weed seeds in the garden.

Scout the lawn and identify problem weeds. Since some species infest lawns only in certain times of the year, scout quarterly. Also, know the life cycle of weeds you find. If it's an annual, you may be able to use a pre-emergent herbicide for control. If it's a perennial such as dandelion, you'll have to use a post-emergent herbicide.

Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County Extension Coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.



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