Summer Edition of

Timely Gardening Tips“The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world.” ~ Vita Sackville~West

Annuals, Perennials & Bulb Care

  • It is normal for some perennials to die back in the summer such as old fashioned bleeding heart, spiderwort, oriental poppies and many wildflowers such as trillium. Clean up withered foliage to prevent attracting slugs.
  • Fill in the gaps where the spent perennials were with heat loving annuals.
  • Remove dead stalks from spent lilies and continue to deadhead other blooming perennials, this encourages the plant to put more energy into strengthening the roots. Strong roots ensure the plant’s return.
  • Daylilies can be dug up and divided at in late July or early August. Some reblooming varieties might not rebloom after transplant. Varieties that do not rebloom should have all dead stalks removed. Remove any yellow or dying foliage.
  • Continue cutting back or pinching the buds on mums and asters until mid to late July for more compact plants and to prevent early blooming. feed with Espoma Plant-tone to promote bushy growth.
  • Monitor the watering of all plants, especially plants grown in full sun and the spring bloomers. If you are not sure how much to water, use rain gauges. They can help assure your plants are getting the moisture they need. This is especially important in the dry hot weather. Check container plants and hanging baskets daily and water deeply. Soaker hoses are a great way to distribute the water evenly without causing soil erosion.
  • If not done early, apply 2″ or more of mulch to keep weeds under control, moisture in and it will enrich the soil as it decays.
  • Slugs hide under large leaves, create a slug barrier with  Bonide Organic Slug Magic regularly around your hostas and other perennials, or share a beer with the slimy things. Fill a pie pan with beer and place it in the garden. Slugs are attracted to beer. They crawl in and drink themselves to death!
  • To deter deer, rabbits and squirrels, use long lasting Bobbex Spray.
  • Continue removing weeds from beds, lawns and borders. Use RoundUp (a non-selective herbicide) directly to weeds, or dig them out being sure to remove the roots. Once they go to seed, they spread rapidly. Remember birds carry and spread weed seed! Preen applied on top of mulch acts as a barrier to weed seeds.
  • Fertilize summer annuals with John’s Recipe fertilizer, Espoma Plant-tone, Nature’s Source or Dr. Earth Golden Bloom for large summer flowers.
  • Deadhead early blooming perennials to prevent disease and spread mulch to control weeds.
  • Plant seeds of summer annuals like sunflowers and zinnias directly in the ground.
  • Complete planting borders and divide overcrowded perennials. To reduce transplant shock use a root stimulator.
  • Use Bonide Garden Dust for aphids and/or caterpillars on new growth of perennials and annuals.
  • Use Bayer All-in-One Rose Flower Care to control mildew and phlox plant bug on garden phlox.
  • Spring blooming bulbs can be moved or divided as the foliage dies. Use Bulb-tone when replanting
  • A spray application of Wilt Stop on plants immediately before transplanting can also help reduce transplant shock. After transplanting, water in using a root stimulator to help the plant establish itself.
  • Watch for spider mite activity. Hose off affected foliage on a regular basis to reduce activity. It may be too hot to use chemical pesticides. Insecticidal Soaps can be effective.


  • Plant corn, summer squash and melons as cool season veggies are harvested. Mix worm castings in to soil for increased production.
  • Control caterpillars on broccoli and cabbage plants by handpicking or use Dr. Earth Yard Garden Insect Killer.
  • Give vegetable plants a boost by feeding them with an organic fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Organic Tomato, Vegetable and Herb Fertilizer or Espoma Organic Garden-tone.
  • Plant all warm season herbs and vegetables if not done earlier, including basil and tomatoes (tomatoes and other veggies can be planted through the first week of July). Set stakes in to support the tomato plants at the time of planting.
  • Blueberries and raspberries are acid loving plants. Fertilize them with Holly-tone fertilizer to increase harvest. And, remember adequate water is essential.
  • Strawberries are in full flower and berry production now, keep them well watered and fertilize with Garden-tone fertilizer.
  • Continue fertilizing vegetables monthly with a non-burning organic fertilizer such as Garden-tone or Dr. Earth Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer. This is especially important in the hot weather. Fertilizers add back many of the minerals that get leached out by frequent watering.
  • Continue to pinch flowers off of herbs as they grow.
  • In early July, plant bush beans, summer winter squash , cucumber and pumpkin seeds.
  • For an organic fungus control solution, use Dr. Earth Final Stop Fungicide.
  • Protect ripening fruits from birds by covering plants with netting.


  •  To prevent the spread of black-spot and fungus diseases do not water foliage. Hand water at the base of the plant or use soaker hoses buried in mulch. If overhead watering is necessary, make sure to water early in the morning so that water evaporates from the foliage quickly.
  • Keep rose beds clear of dropped leaves and petals and dead-head spent blooms regularly. Remove all yellowed and black-spotted foliage.
  • Roses can be pruned through August. Cut out dead canes, branches that are smaller than a pencil and branches that cross each other. Prune canes just above an outward facing 5-leaf stem.
  • Apply fertilizer such as Rose-tone after the first show of blooms is past and continue fertilizing all roses monthly with Rose-tone or every six weeks with Bayer All-in-One Rose Care.
  • Roses are thirsty plants. Each rose needs 5 gallons of water per week to thrive.
  • Continue spraying roses that are susceptible to black spot and other fungal diseases with Dr. Earth Disease Control Fungicide or use systemic Bayer All-in-One Rose Care, every six weeks, which controls fungus, acts as an insecticide and fertilizes.
  • Apply Sevin for control of Japanese Beetles at the first sign of chewed leaves. Spray in the evening when the honeybees are not active.
  • When planting new roses mix organic matter in to help break-down heavy clay soil. Add mushroom compost, worm castings,  bone meal, and Rose-tone into your soil.
  • For more rose care tips, click here.

Trees & Shrubs

  • Use Bayer Advanced Insect Disease Mite Control on trees, shrubs and flowers to kill Japanese Beetles, aphids, spider mites and other insects.
  • Trees and shrubs may be planted throughout the summer.  To help reduce stress, plant in the early morning or late afternoon and water thoroughly, especially if we are not getting rain.
  • Organic Tree-tone fertilizer can be used prior to the beginning of July if needed on trees and shrubs that have been planted the previous year.
  • When watering trees and shrubs (especially newly planted ones), make sure to soak the root area with a slow but thorough watering. Be aware that an oscillating sprinkler may not reach the root area.
  • Watch for Japanese Beetles…they can destroy a plant within days! Apply insecticide at the first sign of a Japanese beetle, spraying in the evening when the honey bees are not active.
  • For blue hydrangeas, apply Organic Soil Acidifier to around the base of the plant and water in. You can continually add it until you get the color you are looking for.
  • Treat azaleas and boxwood that have leaf problems (such as lace bug or leaf miners).
  • Watch for bagworms feeding on many garden plants, but especially juniper and arborvitae. Once bagworms have reached full size, insecticides are ineffective. Prune off and burn large bags or cut them open and make the bagworms available for the birds!
  • Apply a second spray for borer control on hardwood trees.
  • Trees and shrubs may still be fertilized until July 4th. Use Holly-tone on the acid loving trees and shrubs such as dogwood, holly, azalea and  rhododendron. For other trees and shrubs use Tree-tone.
  • August is not the best time to prune unless a shrub has finished flowering and needs to be shaped. You may prune out dead wood any time.


Tropical Plants

  • Spring and summer are the best times to repot houseplants with a good potting mix. We love Pro-Mix with Mycorrhizae.
  • Tropical plants thrive outdoors in the summer. For the plants that like sun, gradually introduce them to the sun. Most houseplants brought outside prefer a bright spot shaded from afternoon sun. Check soil moisture daily during hot weather.
  • Prune leggy vines such as pothos and philodendron to promote thicker, bushier growth. To propagate, place cuttings in water. When roots appear, pot cuttings in a good, well drained potting mix and apply root stimulator to develop strong root and vigorous plants.
  • Keep a look out for various insects. Use Insecticidal Soap to treat infestations.
  • Apply Holly-tone to gardenias and citrus plants every 3 to 4 weeks.
  • For all citrus trees, use Citrus-tone to enhance growth.
  • Repot orchids while they are not finished bloom with a special orchid potting mix.
  • Use Holly-tone to fertilize acid-loving plants such as gardenia, jasmine, orchids, and ferns.



  • Warm-season lawns such as Zoysia can be fertilized through mid-August.
  • Mow grass as necessary to a length of 3” to 3 1/2”. Cut slightly higher if the weather is especially dry and hot.
  • Water deeply and early in the day to encourage deep rooting and discourage fungus disease.
  • Continue watering newly laid or seeded lawns. Use rain gauges to monitor rainfall. Gardens need about 1 inch of water per week through September.
  • To control nutsedge, apply a selective herbicide containing halosulfuron. A second application should be made in the fall.


  • Continue shredding and composting all dead herbaceous material and leaves.
  • Turn the compost pile frequently.
  • Heat up your compost pile to speed the decaying process by adding Compost Maker.
  • Add water to compost pile to keep moist and add fresh kitchen refuse (vegetable waste, coffee grounds and eggshells only. NO meat products).

Backyard Wildlife

  • To attract hummingbirds to your garden plant annuals such as petunias, salvia, and impatiens, or perennials such as monarda, campanula, heuchera, day lilies, penstemon, phlox, or liatris. Vines and shrubs such as morning glory, trumpet vine, clematis, weigela, althea and hibiscus also attract hummingbirds.
  • Keeping birds, bees and butterflies visiting your yard and garden is pretty easy. Backyard wildlife need three elements to thrive; food, water, and shelter. Plants can provide food and shelter for many birds, butterflies and beneficial insects. Click here for more information.
  • Feed hummingbirds with packaged hummingbird nectar, or a mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. (Boil the water, remove from the heat and mix in sugar). Hang them close to your house to see these magical birds up close. Clean the feeders every 5 to 7 days. Aside from their magical quality, remember, hummingbirds are pollinators!
  • Protect bees by not spraying when plants are in bloom. If you must spray, use a short acting insecticide in early morning or late evening when the bees are not active.
  • Attract butterflies to your garden, by planting host plants such as parsley and asclepias. Nectar plants include butterfly bush, achillea, agastache, asters, coreopsis, echinacea, lavender, daisies, lantana, and scabiosa.
  • For songbirds, clean and set up bird feeders and keep feeders full to welcome the return of migrating birds to your garden.
  • As the summer gets hotter, place pans or bowls of water in your yard to keep the critters happy!
  • Make sure bird baths are cleaned and filled with fresh water regularly.
  • For more information about attract beneficial insects and pollinators, click here.)