Upper South

June, 2004
Regional Report

Move Houseplants Outside

If possible, take houseplants outside for the summer. Be aware that the greater intensity of light may sunburn the leaves. Try to provide shade for them while they adjust. Also try to choose a location that is not too windy. Whether indoors or out, tropical plants will need more frequent watering and fertilizing during the summer months due to increased growth.

Thin Fruit

Don't panic when some of the young fruit on apples, pears, and peaches drops in the next couple of weeks. This is a natural thinning process that most fruit trees go through to prevent excessive loads. Thin remaining fruit, if necessary, or prop up heavy branches to avoid breakage. Most fruit should be spaced 6 to 8 inches apart on a branch.

Plant Successive Crops

Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb to allow food reserves to develop for next year. Continue to harvest cool-season crops, such as peas, radishes, spinach, kale, and lettuce. When they begin to bolt (form flower stalks) as the weather heats up, remove the entire plant. Clear out the space and replace with summer crops, planting carrots, beans, summer squash, and sweet corn at two-week intervals in order to have continuous crops in the months ahead.

Tend Flowers

Remove spent blooms of peonies, iris, delphiniums, and other flowers. Remove tops of spring-flowering bulbs only after they have withered and yellowed. Pinch the shoot tips of chrysanthemums, impatiens, petunias, and coleus to promote bushier growth. Plant gladiolus bulbs at two-week intervals for a succession of blooms.

Protect Young Trees from Cicadas

In much of our region, this is the year for the appearance of the cicadas popularly known as the 17-year locusts. They spend 17 years underground in the immature stage before emerging to live about three weeks. Following mating, the females cut a slit in the bark of tree twigs, where they deposit an egg. This results in the death of the tree twig. Mature trees are not usually harmed, but newly planted trees should be protected by wrapping the trunks with butcher paper and covering the branches with fine netting.

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