Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2009
Regional Report

Let Lawn Go Dormant

Let your lawn go dormant if the rains stop. Cool-season grasses of the Midwest are designed to go dormant in the heat and drought of summer and it's more planet-friendly to turn off your irrigation systems. Just be sure to give the plants about a quarter inch of water every two weeks to keep the crowns alive.

Pick Summer Squash Young

As zucchini and summer squash begin to come in, check the garden at least every other day to pick them when young. This will keep the plant producing and give you plenty of tender young squash instead of having to figure out what to do with a baseball bat-sized zucchini.

Net Small Fruits

Cherries, currants, blueberries, and other fruits are getting ready for ripening, so get your netting ready. Birds, squirrels, and chipmunks can strip a plant even before the fruits ripen. Fasten the netting completely around the shrub or tree or leave it open at the bottom to prevent trapping an animal.

Watch for Tent Caterpillars

Tent caterpillars are beginning to show up on cherries, plums, and other ornamental trees. You can clip off and destroy the branch during the day when they are in the nest or you can spray the leaves that are affected with the bacterial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The caterpillars ingest the bacteria as they feed at night and eventually die.

Remove Bulb Foliage

Most bulb foliage can be removed now if you haven't already done it. Once it goes off-color, it is no longer producing food for the bulb. However, remember to keep fertilizing the tender bulbs such as amaryllis because they are still photosynthesizing.

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