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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


June 2013 To-Do List: North & Central Midwest

Susan Wells

inspecting sunflowersWeed season is well underway in June, and it is best to control them before they get well established.  Dig weeds when the soil is moist to help remove the entire root system. Many weeds will re-grow from the tiniest bits of root left behind, especially dandelions. If not opposed to chemicals, apply liquid broadleaf weed control to lawns.  Be cautious of drift to perennials, shrubs and trees. 


•    Keep annuals watered. Stick your fingers into the soil to see if there is moisture. If not, water deeply.

•    If you are summering houseplants outdoors, water deeply and frequently. Containers dry out faster than the ground. The same is true of window boxes and hanging baskets.

•    Plant heat-loving annuals, such as zinnias, petunias and marigolds for color wherever you can fit them in. Keep them deadheaded and they will bloom all summer.


•    Dead-head perennial flowers as soon as they finish blooming to either bring them into bloom again, or to simply refresh the foliage for the rest of the summer.

•    In early to mid-June, prune asters back by half to keep them from getting tall and floppy. Don’t pinch or prune after July 1, or you may prevent them from flowering in the fall.

•    Apply two to three inches of fine mulch such as cocoa bean hulls or finely shredded bark to perennial beds.

•    Pinch out or cut out blossom stems from bulbs to prevent seeds from forming which will sap strength from the bulb. Be sure to leave the foliage, though, until it begins to turn off-color.

•    If you take your amaryllis outside to spend the summer in the garden, be sure to fertilize it every month or it won’t bloom in the winter.

•    Watch for aphids on roses, perennial flowers, shrubs and trees. Many can be dislodged with a hard spray from your garden hose or 2 applications of insecticidal soap about 10 days apart.

•    If perennial flowers such as Monarda and Artemisia are taking over your garden, don’t be afraid to dig out large clumps and share them with friends or put in the compost pile.


•    Use row covers to prevent squash vine borers from laying eggs on tender young plants, but remove the covers as soon as flowers appear.

•    Mulch well in the vegetable garden. The mulch will hold in moisture and moderate soil temperature as the weather heats up.

•    All warm-season plants including tomatoes, peppers and melons can be safely planted in June. If tomato transplants are leggy they can be planted deeper and will root along the buried stems.

•    Harvest early season fruits and vegetables including strawberries, lettuce, radishes and peas when they are at their peak.

•    Plant a second crop of beans, beets, carrots, and chard. Successive plantings help space out your harvest and allow you to enjoy them at their best.

•    Apply dusting sulfur to the underside of the foliage of peppers, tomatoes and potatoes to reduce outbreaks of psyllids, the tiny pests that cause serious damage and spread diseases to other vegetable plants.

•    Plant bush and pole beans every two to three weeks through June for a continuous harvest.

•    Water deeply once a week if rain does not provide enough moisture. Vegetables need an inch or more of water weekly. Deep watering promotes healthier growth and deeper roots.


•    Prune early flowering shrubs right after the bloom is finished.

•    Finish pruning by July 1. Pruning shrubs and trees after this may cause new growth, especially on evergreens, to stay soft and succulent and not harden enough to withstand winter cold.

•    Prune spring flowering shrubs such as lilacs and bridal wreath spirea right after they finish blooming to avoid removing next year’s flower buds. 


•    If you are tired of mowing, consider planting dwarf forms of grass – they grow slowly, need mowing only once a month during the growing season and seldom need to be watered.

•    Fertilize your lawn before very hot weather arrives and start watering if we don’t receive at least 1” of rain every week.

•    Start mowing higher (2 ½” or above) as the weather warms to encourage deep rooting and make the grass plants more resistant to drought.


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