Northern & Central Midwest

June, 2004
Regional Report

Prune When the Weather is Dry

We can still do pruning up until the middle of July, but choose a day that is dry and sunny. Many fungal diseases are spread easily when the weather is cool and damp. Pruning is a necessity in some cases, but remember not to make any cuts unless you have a reason to.

Keep a Drought-Tolerant Lawn

As we move into the drier season, be prepared to reduce lawn watering. Water less frequently to make grass more drought tolerant, and allow the lawn to go dormant if we have a very dry summer. It's better for the environment and the grass than trying to keep it lush and green.

Hill Your Potatoes

Potato growth should be coming along well by now, so begin hilling soil or using thick, straw mulch around the stems to start tuber formation. As potatoes form, pay particular attention to keeping the tubers under soil or mulch to keep them from turning green.

Prevent Squash Borers

Squash vine borers may begin laying eggs soon, so keep young squash plants borer-free by covering them with row covers until they begin to blossom. If you do find borer larvae in the base of stems, dig them out and then bury the damaged portion of the stems.

There's Still Time for Renewal Pruning

There's still time to renovate older shrubs like red twig dogwood, forsythia, viburnum, mock orange, privet, and lilac. Remove one-third of the oldest canes at ground level. Then, next year you can remove another third. After three years, the shrub will be completely rejuvenated and healthy.

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