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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


To-Do List: Central Great Plains

R. L. Rhodes
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Here in the Central Plains, we know that the weather can be soaking wet, dry as dust, or somewhere in between in the early summer months. If Mother Nature does not cooperate with rainfall, watering the garden moves to the top of the to-do list.

  • Avoid overhead watering when tending to your roses. This method not only is wasteful because of water evaporation, but it can also contribute to plant disease, especially a fungus called blackspot. Overhead watering splashes fungus spores from the soil onto the leaves of roses and other plants.
  • Begin pruning spring-blooming shrubs, such as lilacs and forsythia, if needed. Overgrown plants, plants with dead branches or plants that aren’t blooming will benefit from pruning. Waiting until late summer or fall to prune these shrubs results in the removal of next year’s flowers.
  • Apply a grub control product to the lawn. This is especially important if you noticed grub damage earlier this spring or last summer. Always read and follow the label directions.
  • Keep mower blades and the blades of other tools clean and sharp. Sharpen the mower blade monthly. If the blade is not sharp, it will tear the grass, leaving rough, uneven tips that turn brown. To keep pruners and other tools clean, use a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water. Do this after each use, but especially if working with diseased plants. A clean tool reduces the chance diseases will be spread from one plant to another.
  • Maintain the lawn at about 3 inches tall. Mowing too short may result in scorch or other lawn problems.
  • Begin harvesting lettuces, peas and other vegetables as they mature. The more you harvest, the more the plants will produce. Pull out early planted, cool-season vegetables as they begin to deteriorate and replace them with beans, squash or other warm-season crops.
  • Pull out spring-blooming annuals. Replace these annuals (pansies, in particular) with long-blooming summer annuals. Salvias, petunias, impatiens, zinnias, marigolds and coleus hold their own through hot summers.
  • Plant hanging baskets. Hanging baskets add color to patios, porches and front steps. They’re easy to care for and add interest at eye-level and above, an area which is sometimes neglected in the garden.

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