Keep watering, but it's almost time to stop fertilizing

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With the hot and humid weather, we still must water once or twice a week to keep an adequate moisture level in the soil for plants to keep growing properly.

At this time, we need to make our last fertilization to our shrubs for the year. Apply one tablespoonful per foot height of plant and apply it at the drip line of the plant - the end of the limbs. You do not have to remove the mulch to fertilize; just scatter it on the surface of the mulch and water in.

Keep fertilizing your roses each month through September. Fertilize your annuals and perennials this month and again in August. Keep dead-heading flowers that need to be removed after they bloom so the plant does not put energy into seed production but into seed growth and flowers instead.

If you do not dead-head annuals, they will die soon after, as the plant thinks it has done its job of growing from seed and making seeds for next year.

You might need to treat some of your shrubs for scale, mealy bugs, aphids, white flies or lace bugs, which can cause the leaves to look dry with brown edges.

Some pests cause sooty mold, due to the sugars the insects extract from the plants and secrete as waste, causing a mildew to develop on the sugars.

Treat for mole crickets in your lawn, as they have been hatching and developing into adult crickets. These insects eat the roots of your lawn and weaken the grass, allowing brown patch to develop and weaken or kill the lawn.

Brown patch is a fungus that starts out as a small circular spot and spreads outward, killing the grass as it expands.

Where mole crickets have weakened the grass, the damage from brown patch will follow the weakened grass area instead of being in a circular pattern.

So, instead of having one problem, you end up with two problems damaging your grass.

If you have St. Augustine grass, watch to make sure chinch bugs do not become a problem.

Their damage is a yellowing of the grass, as they suck the plant juices out of the plant and then it turns brown. If you have any of these pests, treat with an insecticide.

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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