Mid-Atlantic

June, 2004
Regional Report

Stop Mosquitoes

Remember to empty and refill birdbaths every few days. Use the so-called mosquito dunks (these contain Bt to control mosquito larvae) in your fountains and water gardens -- mark your calendar and toss them in on schedule thorughout the summer. Empty saucers beneath container plants after watering and rain showers. Also, cover rain barrels with screening or a thin layer of vegetable oil.

Renovate Strawberries

After harvesting June-bearing strawberries, select the best runners to keep and continue to thin out the rest so the plants do not become overcrowded. Fertilize and/or topdress with compost, then mow or trim off the foliage to about an inch tall to stimulate vigorous, new foliage growth. Mulch and then keep the bed weeded this summer.

Caring for Peonies

Peonies should be deadheaded when the blooms fade. Cut off the flowers but leave the stems and foliage intact to grow for the rest of the summer. Floppy plants can be gently supported with stakes and a spider web pattern of string. After the first fall frost, cut back the plant close to the ground.

Prune Early-Blooming Clematis

Early-blooming clematis can be pruned within a few weeks after blooming. Remove wayward, broken, or damaged stems, and thin or cut back to control size as needed. If the vine is an overgrown, tangled mess, simply trim it off short to rejuvenate it.

Helping Squash Pollination

The first blooms on a squash plant are male; they will open and die without forming any squash. This sequence ensures a good supply of pollen when the female blossoms begin to appear about a week later. You should see a squash forming at the base of each female bloom. If not, you can help pollinate the blossoms by picking up some of the pollen with a soft brush and transferring it to the center stalk (stigma) of the female flower.

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