New England

May, 2007
Regional Report

Shield Plants From Insects

Floating row covers can help keep insects from reaching your veggie plants. Cover cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower to ward off the cabbage root maggot fly, among other pests. If you have leaf miner problems, cover early leafy crops such as spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard.

Remove Rose Suckers

On grafted roses, any growth that originates below the graft union -- called suckers -- will not be what you bought the rose to see. The foliage may look different and the flowers will be inferior to flowers on shoots growing above the graft. Clip off any sucker growth because it saps energy from the plant.

Deadhead for Reblooming

Many early bloomers, such as nepeta, veronica, delphiniums, and some perennial salvias such as 'May Night' will rebloom if you cut off the faded flowers. For bushy plants like nepeta and veronica and salvia, shearing with hedge trimmers is the easiest method.

Save the Sod

When removing sod to plant a new tree or shrub, flip the sod clumps over -- root side out -- and lay them down in a wide ring around the tree on top of the soil and they will form a berm to hold water and also add organic matter as the grass decomposes. Top them with your mulch of choice.

Prune Rhodies

The best time to prune rhododendrons to improve flowering next year is right after they finish blooming. And the best tool is your hand. The dried flower clusters will snap off when you bend them, just be careful not to break off the tiny buds just below the old flowers, which are the future blooms.

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