To-Do List: Great Lakes

R. L. Rhodes
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There’s lots to do in your Great Lakes region garden this month. Here’s what to do in your garden this June to have a beautiful landscape all summer long.

  • Prune spring-blooming shrubs. Lilacs, forsythia, early-blooming viburnum and mock orange all benefit from a light pruning. Waiting too long to prune these spring-blooming shrubs in late summer or early fall removes next year’s blooms. Practice selective pruning so that the shrubs can be allowed to retain their natural shape. These shrubs may need to be pruned in order to:
    • Remove crossed branches. Branches rubbing against one other damage the plant and permits insects and disease into the injured areas.
    • Remove dead or diseased branches.
    • Shape up the shrub and moderately reduce its size.
  • Tidy up the garden. Remove the faded blooms of peonies, iris and other spring perennials and bulbs. Remember to leave the foliage on spring bulbs until it turns yellow or brown. The foliage is needed to nourish the bulb for next spring’s flowers.
  • Begin pinching back fall blooming perennials. Pinch chrysanthemums and asters to keep them nicely mounded and increase the number of flowers. Pinch them, or use snips to cut them back by about one-third to one-half.
  • Replace cool-season annuals. Take out pansies in pots or the landscape and replace with summer-loving annuals. Among the best heat-tolerant annuals are salvia, petunia, dianthus, cockscomb, marigold, sweet potato vine and tropical plants.
  • Begin a regular fertilization program for summer annuals. Plants in window boxes or containers definitely need to be fertilized every two to three weeks. Annuals in the ground also benefit from regular applications of fertilizer.
  • Water plants to encourage growth. Vegetables, plants in containers, annuals in the ground and newly planted perennials, shrubs or trees need extra water–especially during hot, dry weather.
  • Sow the seeds for your Halloween pumpkins. The seed packets tell the number of days to maturity. Count backward from Halloween to find the proper planting date.
  • Tear out early-season vegetables and re-plant. Lettuce, spinach and peas will start going to seed and will stop producing. Replace them with green beans, squash, corn, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers or other warm-season vegetables.

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