Northern & Central Midwest

June, 2006
Regional Report

Spread Mulch

If you haven't mulched yet, but sure to do it now. Weed and water flower beds, trees, and shrubs, and then apply 2 to 4 inches of shredded bark, cocoa bean hulls, shredded leaves, or other organic mulch. Mulch will help keep those weeds away, as well as keep the soil beneath moist.

Fertilize Container Annuals

Annual flowers should be coming into full bloom by now, so remember to fertilize flowers in containers, baskets, and window boxes with a dilute solution of balanced fertilizer about every 7 to 10 days. Remember to soak the soil with water before fertilizing.

Pinch Herbs

Herbs benefit from having the new growth pinched, and you can use the sprigs in the kitchen. This keeps them from blooming and intensifies the flavor in the leaves. Cut herbs periodically during the summer to dry or freeze to avoid the last-minute rush in the fall to preserve them for winter.

Weed the Vegetable Garden

Keep ahead of weeds in the vegetable garden to avoid competition. Most vegetables need all the moisture and nutrients they can get, so carefully slice weeds off just below the soil surface. You can also spot-treat troublesome weeds with a spray of white vinegar or with boiling water.

Watch for Iris Borer

Watch your iris for spots that look like water streaks on the leaves. This usually indicates iris borer larvae. If you see streaking, find the small borer and destroy it. Through the season, if you see iris damaged by borers and the bacterial rot they carry, destroy that plant, tuber and all. Consider beneficial nematodes for further control.

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