Green grass

For many gardeners, summer is their favorite time of year. Veggies are maturing, and many flowers have reached their peak. But there’s still plenty of work to do, especially as you nurture new annuals in flower beds or manage your vegetable garden. This handy summer checklist can help you get organized.

Fertilize. Now is the time to fertilize warm-season grasses (Bermuda or St Augustine grasses, for example). Late-blooming shrubs, like azaleas, lilacs, and forsythias should be fertilized after they finish blooming. Use a shrub fertilizer as specified on the label.

Remember, too, that potted plants can exhaust the nutrients in their soil more quickly. Fertilize them about every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer, so they will continue to grow vigorously.

Raise your mower blade. Avoid cutting your lawn below two inches, because grass that is a bit taller will require less water. It will also stay green longer between cuttings.

Check on your camellias. Look at the undersides of their leaves, for small brown or white insects called tea scales. These suck sap and damage your plants, but can be prevented by spraying the underside of leaves with a horticultural oil.

Watch out for invasive spider mites. If you see speckled, bronzing, or browned foliage, you might have spider mites. A horticultural oil or insecticidal soap can help with this problem; come to see us and we’ll help you decide which type of product is best for your situation.

Don’t over-water your veggies. If you notice the leaves of your tomato plants turning yellow or curling up, you’re probably watering them too frequently.

Replace spring annuals with summer bloomers. Pansies and violas will begin to die and look unsightly around this time. Replace them with summer-blooming annuals.

Stop pruning. Don’t prune spring-blooming shrubs (azaleas, lilacs, forsythia, and so on) after the first of July. You could cost yourself a large portion of next year’s blooms if you do.

Plan for fall. Summer will be coming to an end before you know it, and don’t want to find yourself feeling envious of a neighbor’s lush fall garden. Plant seeds for fall annuals now; sunflowers, zinnias, and marigolds are excellent choices.

These are just some of the main things to remember this summer. For more advice specific to your situation, come to see us at our nursery. We can help you choose plants, deal with pests, and answer questions related to care for your garden.

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