Northern & Central Midwest

June, 2011
Regional Report

It's Not Too Early to Mulch

Mulch everything! Even though the weather may not be dry yet, we all know that June and July can turn extremely hot with little rain. If you mulch plants when the soil is still quite moist, the mulch will hold the moisture in place. And it will moderate soil temperature extremes that can damage roots.

Use Row Covers to Prevent Pests

Be ready with row covers to prevent squash vine borers from laying eggs on tender young plants. You must be vigilant, however, in order to remove the cover as soon as the plants begin to flower. If vine borers do invade, slit the stem, remove the larva, and bury the cut stem section to encourage it to reroot.

Consider a No-Mow Lawn

Next time you drag around hoses to water your lawn, maybe you should consider changing over to a "no-mow" lawn. Such a lawn is planted with dwarf forms of grass that grow very slowly and need mowing only about once a month during the growing season. Best of all, they seldom need to be watered.

Fertilize Amaryllis

If you take your amaryllis outside to spend the summer in the garden, be sure to put on your calendar to fertilize every month. They are easy to forget, and since they are growing in a pot, cannot find their own nutrients. An amaryllis that isn't fertilized over summer won't bloom in winter.

Check on Staked Perennials

Once supports are in place, it may be tempting to rest on your laurels about staked perennials. But check them every few days to make sure they aren't outgrowing their stakes, whatever system you use. Be ready to tuck some of the stray shoots back into the clump. Let some escape, though, for a more natural look.

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