New England

July, 2003
Regional Report

Stop Pruning Roses

Stop pruning and leave spent flowers on rose bushes to allow the fruits – rose hips – to develop. This signals to the plant that it\'s time to start winding down and begin the slow process of entering dormancy. Pruning and deadheading delays this process and can lead to winter injury.

Cut Back Annual Flowers

If shrubby annuals, such as petunias, are getting leggy, cut several stems on each plant right back to the base of the plant and pinch back remaining stems by about a third, then fertilize plants. The plant may look sparse at first, but it will bounce back quickly and be covered with flowers into fall.

Plan Your Fall Garden

Begin new plantings of carrots, lettuce, and beets so you'll have a fresh supply come fall. Although you may have your hands full with tomatoes, beans, peppers, and other warm-weather crops right now, take the time to make these additional sowings. As the weather cools, you'll appreciate the continued harvest.

Plan for Vacation

If you'll be away from home for more than a few days, take steps to keep container plants healthy. If possible, have a neighbor water plants daily or as needed. If that's not an option, move containers to a shady location and water plants thoroughly before you go. Group small containers together and set in a shallow basin filled with an inch or two of water. Self-watering containers are a good choice if you travel frequently during the summer.

Protect Blueberries

Birds love blueberries as much as we do, so protect bushes with netting. Rather than draping the netting over the bush – birds will be able to reach the berries – use stakes to suspend the netting over the shrub. Secure the netting to the ground to prevent birds from sneaking in.

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