Middle South

June, 2014
Regional Report

Determine Culprit Before Spraying

it's important to identify the cause of a problem before resorting to sprays. Visit damaged plants at different times during the day to look for insects. If you find any, identify them before taking action. The larvae of lady beetles, for example, look nothing like the shiny red adults, and you wouldn't want to spray and kill these beneficial insects. Consider non-chemical control options and do your part to protect pollinators by avoiding pesticide sprays as much as possible, even "organic" ones. If you must use sprays, avoid spraying blossoms and spray in the evening when bees have returned to their hives.

Deadhead Daily

Carry pruners with you whenever you head out to your garden. As you browse, snip off spent flowers and over-ripe fruit. By keeping plants from producing mature seeds you'll encourage them to continue producing. Cutting back early-blooming perennials like dianthus can encourage a second flush of growth and flowering.

Reuse and Recycle

By now you probably have 4- and 6-packs and pots of various sizes left over from spring planting. Before throwing them in the trash, check to see if they can be recycled through your local municipal recycling program. Or consider saving them for next spring's seed starting or donating them to a school garden program.

Attract Beneficial Insects

Intersperse flowers with vegetable plantings to attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. Zinnias, cosmos, and similarly shaped flowers will attract butterflies. Dill and other umbel-shaped flowers attract tiny, beneficial (and non-stinging) wasps. Plus, flowers are just plain nice to look at.

Prune Roses

Help hybrid teas and other reblooming roses make a quick comeback by pruning off old flowers. After pruning, inspect and treat outbreaks of black spot. Some roses won't rebloom no matter what you do, so don't despair if you don't see new buds forming.

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