As summer nears, stay on top of garden chores

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With temperatures climbing and summer knocking on the door we should finish up our planting of annuals and perennials this month and make sure, depending on how much rainfall we get, we're irrigating properly.

If we only get rain once in a while, consider watering twice a week, applying a half-inch per application.

Newly planted shrubs will need water throughout the summer, but make sure you're wetting the root ball thoroughly to insure survival over the summer.

You can still plant annuals for summer color to finish up those beds and at the same time finish making hanging baskets and containers to provide color on the patio, front porch or entrance areas. You may still sow zinnia seeds every couple of weeks to provide cut flowers for the house.

If you have young children who want to plant seeds, marigolds are a good choice. They are pretty indestructible and do not care how they are planted.

Start fertilizing your annuals, perennials and daylilies at this time. If you have porch railing, consider adding color with some of the new railing boxes that have come out in the last couple of years.

It's time to finish pruning early blooming spring shrubs to allow new growth to develop. It is also time to do light pruning on shrubs that got severe pruning earlier in the year. Remove an inch or two of new growth to allow the plant to develop some nice side shoots and thicken up as the new growth develops.

You are also pruning to control size, remove dead or diseased limbs and remove any awkward growing limbs.

Rose gardens need to be fertilized monthly, and you must keep spraying weekly for Black Spot disease and insects. Other insects such as scale, white flies, lace wings, aphids and caterpillars might be damaging your shrubs by eating leaves or sucking plant juices out of the leaves. Treat with systemic insecticides to help reduce these problems later.

Now is a good time to replace any sod that might have been damaged due to Hurricane Matthew, as the soil temperatures have warmed up, and the roots will be actively growing and make establishment easier.

Remember to water new sod every day for two weeks to help with establishment. Water in the morning to allow the water to dry off and not allow disease to develop.

We can see brown patch developing in established lawns this time of year due to moisture, warm soil and air temperatures, and lush-growing grass that might have been recently fertilized. If you see these spots develop, treat with a fungicide. If left alone, they will keep spreading outwardly, killing your grass.

Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.

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