With the year coming to a mid-point, we need to make the final light pruning on azaleas at this time, as the plants will start setting blooms over the next couple of months. Pruning after this month will mean no flowers next spring.
Now is the time also to finish adding new annuals and perennials to the garden to produce color later this summer. Make sure you add plenty of organic matter, lime and a little fertilizer to the beds where the new plants will be planted.
Other problems of shrubs can be scale or aphids affecting the leaves or new growth, so consider using a systemic insecticide to treat for these problems so they will not be an issue later.
By now you should be pruning new growth on spring flowering shrubs and new growth on plants you might have cut back severely. When that growth gets to about 12 inches, take off an inch or so to cause them to side branch and thicken up later.
If you planted new shrubs or trees this past year, make sure you water the root ball regularly as most of these plants take about a year to establish themselves.
We have been fortunate to get lots of rain recently, so you haven’t had to water your garden or lawn.
However, when temperatures are hot and the weather dry, watering is very important and needs to be applied at least twice a week, with an application of one-half inch per watering.
Make sure you apply the water in the early morning hours or the middle of the night. We do not want to tuck plants in wet at night, as this starts disease problems on lawns and flowers.
Be careful not to water too much. Over-watering causes disease problems like brown patch (roundish circles the size of a dinner plate or larger), so stay on the drier side and the lawn will do just fine.
If you do get brown patch, it will need to be treated with a fungicide to keep it from spreading. Also, St. Augustine grass can get a disease called gray leaf spot, with areas on the leaf blade that are gray in color. This also needs a fungicide to correct it.
Both problems start due to late watering or evening rains.
Another problem we have at this time is mole crickets hatching and eating the fine root hairs of the grass. This weakens the lawn, and then disease can affect the lawn due to its weakened state, rendering it incapable of taking up water or nutrients.
In late June or early July, it will be time to fertilize your lawn again.
Edward Poenicke is a retired Chatham County extension agent. This article is provided in collaboration with Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.