PLANT FLOWERS BETWEEN BULB LEAVES

Annual flowers such as petunias and impatiens can be planted in between daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs. As soon as bulb leaves start to turn brown, they have completed their job of forming a new bulb for next year. Just cut them off or wait until they are completely brown and pull them out. If some of your bulbs have been overgrown by shrub branches, now is the time to dig the bulbs and move them.

TIME TO PRUNE SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS

Spring flowering shrubs such as Rhododendron, Azalea, Forsythia, Lilac, Weigela, Ceanothus and Viburnum start forming new flower buds for next spring in late summer. To avoid removing those flower buds, the best time to prune is soon after bloom in June and July. To keep the natural shape and thickness of shrubs, prune branches one at a time. Branches which are too high or too long should be pruned down inside other shorter surrounding branches so the stubs do not show. We are experts at pruning flowering shrubs. Let us give you a free analysis and cost estimate of needed pruning. One of the unique services I offer is to teach you how to prune your own shrubs. Call or email for more information.

KEEP AFTER SLUGS AND SNAILS

Wet conditions are ideal for slugs and snails. They can do a lot of damage almost overnight. I apply bait at least once every 2 weeks. The old standby Metaldehyde is inexpensive. However it can be harmful to pets. I use bait with iron phosphate in the back yard where the dog goes.

WEED IN BITES

I like to weed early in the morning. It is cool, and I can listen to the birds singing their morning songs. By weeding 10 to 30 minutes almost every morning I can keep ahead of the weeds. If you have a regular job, try setting your alarm 20 or 30 minutes earlier. There is something about being outdoors that invigorates you for the whole day. Then if you are gone for a week, it will not be an overwhelming task to catch up. If you are a weekend weeder, try working in the shade. Weed on the west and south sides in the morning and weed on the east and north sides in the afternoon. Weeding is easier when weeds are small. One swipe with a hoe will remove a dozen or more weeds. A big weed may take 3 chops with a hoe to get it out.

WEED PREVENTERS

There are three different products available to prevent weeds. Casoron granules can be used around woody plants including raspberries, blueberries and roses. Casoron prevents weeds almost 100% for up to a year. Treflan (Triflurilan), sold as Preen and several other brands, will prevent about 95% of weeds around flower and vegetables for 6 to 8 weeks. Corn gluten is a natural organic product which will prevent about 90% of weeds. It is safe to use around all kinds of plants. Since all three of these products prevent seed germination, do not use them where you plan to plant seeds.

CARPENTER ANTS

Those large black ants roaming around your yard are probably carpenter ants. Carpenter ants do not eat wood, but the will excavate it for nesting and occasionally can cause structural damage. They will also nest in insulation. In most instances they are mostly nuisances. Many home infestations are satellite colonies from a nearby stump or log. The best way to prevent damage is to avoid soil or wood contact with wooden portions of your house. This would include branches touching eaves, firewood piled against the house, and bark touching wooden portions of the house.

ROSES AND APPLES NEED REPEAT TREATMENTS

To keep roses free of black spot and apples free of worms, repeat applications of pesticides are necessary. Fruit tree spray and rose disease pesticides should be applied at 2 to 3 week intervals. However, three codling moth traps in an apple tree will take care of worms for the season. Bayer All-in-One Rose Care only requires one application every six weeks. Neem oil is a good organic treatment for rose diseases and insects.

REMOVE SPROUTS ON RECENTLY PRUNED TREES

June is a critical time to remove those fast growing vertical sprouts that occur after trees are pruned in the fall, winter, or early spring. This is particularly true for fruit trees which have been heavily thinned so light can reach the lower fruiting branches. Sprouts can be quickly and easily snapped off with your fingers when they are soft and flexible. Snapping is preferable to cutting, because it removes tissue which can regrow another water sprout, sometimes in the same growing season. If you wait until fall or winter to remove those sprouts, new ones will grow to replace them next spring. Stop the sprout cycle now. And if you do happen to have more new water sprouts later, snap them off while they are young and soft.

Sprouts growing on the base of the trunk can also be snapped off while young. If they are too big to snap, remove with a knife, sharp shovel or other tool as close to the trunk as possible. Once removed, the base of the trunk can be sprayed with a growth inhibitor called “sucker stopper” or “sprout inhibitor” containing NAA. This is a natural growth hormone which will prevent sprout regrowth for about 3 months. It is available from most full service nurseries and garden stores or can be ordered on line.

Some trees produce sprouts from underground roots away from the tree trunk. These can be killed with lawn weed killer without damaging the tree. Do not use weed killer on sprouts attached to the trunk, because it could damage the tree.