♦ Tall fall bloomers such as chrysanthemums, swamp sunflowers, and phlox can be cut back by about one half now to reduce their fall height and make them fuller.
♦ Climbing roses don’t really climb — they have long canes that require support. You will need to loosely tie the canes to trellises with broad strips of material. Do not use wire as it can damage the cane. Miniature roses can be propagated from stem cuttings. Take cuttings with four leaves and insert them into pots filled with moist potting soil. Rooting hormone is optional. Place whole pot in a perforated plastic bag and place in a shady spot. Water as needed. By autumn, cuttings should be rooted.
♦ Control black spot and powdery mildew on rose foliage.
♦ Fertilize your roses at monthly intervals. Inspect plants frequently for pests such as spider mites, aphids and Japanese beetles.
♦ Leaf miner larvae tunnel inside leaves, leaving whitish trails as they move about. Holly, boxwood and locust are particularly susceptible to damage.
♦ Disinfection of pruners between cuts is recommended when removing diseased tissue from plants. UGA recommends a one to ten solution of bleach and water. The solution is corrosive and must be rinsed from tools after use. Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle also works. When spraying tools, spray over a trash can so you don’t kill or injure grass or plants.
♦ Now is the time to prune Azaleas and Rhododendrons before they set next year’s flower buds. Divide and transplant iris now so they will have a long growing season and a better chance of blooming next year. Cut off and discard the older part of the rhizome that does not have white fleshy roots. Cut the leaves back to 6 inches so they don’t blow over.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
♦ Strawberries picked early in the day keep best. Do not wash or stem berries until ready to use.
♦ Set young melons and cantaloupes atop tin cans — they’ll ripen faster, be sweeter and have less insect damage than those left on the ground.
♦ Yellow crookneck squash tastes best when 4-7 inches long. Pick when pale yellow (rather than golden) and before skin hardens.
♦ Remove cucumbers by turning fruits parallel to the vine and giving a quick snap. This prevents vine damage and results in a clean break. If you have trouble mastering this, take a sharp knife to the garden for harvesting.
♦ Stop cutting asparagus in mid to late June when spears become thin. After the last cutting is made, fertilize by broadcasting a 10-10-10 formula at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet. Allow the tops to grow during the summer to store food in the roots for the crop next spring.
♦ Avoid side dressing tomatoes, eggplants and peppers with fertilizer until they have set their first fruit.
♦ If weed plants are mature, 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. Hold as much of the seed heads in your hand as possible, and do not shake off extra soil as it may scatter weed seeds.
♦ To protect bees that pollinate many of our crop plants, spray pesticides in the evening after bees have returned to their homes.
♦ The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils. Cut herbs early on a sunny day. Herbs are best if watered the day before to wash off the foliage.
♦ June is a great time to clean out the greenhouse. Discard dead or diseased plants and old potting soil.