Be Alert for Azalea Lace Bugs
Keep an eye out for azalea lace bugs, as the second generation of these critters usually appear in late July to September. Both adults and nymphs suck sap from the undersides of the leaves, causing stippling or blanching on the upper leaf surface. Yellowing and leaf drop may signal severe infestation. When treatment is called for, make three applications of insecticidal soap at three- to four-day intervals, always spraying the undersides of the leaves for complete coverage.
Be especially vigilant about weed control as these pesky plants come into bloom and begin to set seed. Hand pull after rain (or irrigation) and renew mulch cover in beds and borders as needed. When time is short or soil is too dry for plant removal, waylay trouble by removing flowers and seed heads.
Make well-place pruning cuts to encourage the production of wisteria spurs, which will provide next year's floral display. Trim lateral shoots to about one foot in length, or just beyond the fifth or sixth leaf. Pruning now will limit excessive growth, and increase circulation and sunlight penetration, all of which will improve flower bud formation. Cut back a second time in late winter, leaving 2- or 3-inch spur with several buds.
Plant for Second Harvest
Extend the bounty of the summer vegetable garden by planting a second round of basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplant, and southern peas. Because of the season's heat and humidity, choose disease-resistant varieties and pay careful attention to irrigation.
Fill in the Blanks
As blank spots begin to show in the summer garden, fill the gaps with container grown plants that are easily moved around the landscape. Or, sow heat-loving and quick-growing annuals such as cosmos, gomphrena, marigolds, and zinnias. In just six weeks you can have another wave of color.