Northern & Central Midwest
Scout for Japanese Beetles
Begin scouting for Japanese beetles. They will start appearing in the next few weeks. The adults are most active from 9 am to 3 pm on warm summer days through mid-August. Feeding is usually only on the upper portions of plants, and since they prefer direct sun, they seldom attack plants in the woods.
Bring in the Hummingbirds
Attract hummingbirds to your garden by planting bee balm, cardinal flower, trumpet creeper, cypress vine, and sage. You can also bring them in with feeders filled with sugar water to mimic nectar, but you must be very careful to change the water in the feeders every three to five days to prevent mold.
Pinch Your Asters
Get ready to pinch your asters. In early to mid-June, prune them back by half to keep them from getting tall and floppy. This will often reduce the need for staking. Don't pinch or prune after July 1, or you may prevent them from flowering in the fall.
Encourage Native Lady Beetles
Lady bugs or lady beetles are plentiful this year and are great predators of soft-bodied insects like aphids. You can encourage higher populations by mulching your garden and avoiding the use of insecticides. Imported beetles tend to not stay in the garden, so encouraging native populations will mean you will have a steady supply of these predators.
Prune Early Bloomers Now
The right time to prune early flowering shrubs is right after the bloom is finished. The plants will begin to set their flower buds for next year over the next month, so pruning now will avoid cutting off the flower buds for next year. Prune only if necessary.