Early Summer Gardening Jobs

The sun is at its strongest now and plant growth is rapid, so try to maintain soil moisture and keep down weeds.

During early summer winds tend to be light and there are alternating periods of bright, clear sunshine and rainy but warm, muggy weather. Nevertheless, this is usually the driest period of the year. During strong sunshine, afternoon temperatures may soar to 27°C (80°F), but night temperatures can fall to 10°C (50°F).

This combination of weather offers ideal conditions for plant growth — weeds as well as ornamentals and crops. The soil dries out quickly and moisture must be replenished by frequent watering during prolonged sun. Pests and diseases also thrive at this time and must be dealt with quickly.

Roses

hybrid-tea-rose-Just-Joey Early summer sees the beginning of the rose-flowering season, generally starting with the older shrub types and true species, then followed by the modern bush rose and climber varieties.

Many Hybrid Tea (large-flowered) roses have flowering shoots on which two or three side buds are produced in addition to the main bud at the top. If you want high quality blooms with long stems suitable for cutting, remove the small side buds as soon as it is possible to pick them off with finger and thumb. This procedure is known as disbudding.

Pull away briar shoots on the main stems of standard roses at the point where growth emerges. Remove sucker shoots appearing through the ground in rose beds.

Hoe the soil around roses to improve aeration and remove weeds, but don’t slice deeper than 12mm (1/2in) or so, since rose roots grow close to the surface and are easily damaged by harsh hoeing.

Mulch roses with garden compost, well-rotted manure, forest bark or lawn clippings. But don’t use lawn clippings if the grass has been treated with weedkiller

During dry weather, water miniature and patio roses growing in containers. All other roses tolerate normal spells of dry weather without harm.

Spray roses with systemic rose insecticide if aphids appear, and with rose fungicide at regular intervals as a precaution against mildew, rust and black spot diseases. With all rose ailments, prevention is easier than cure.

Garden borders

Herbaceous borders should remain colourful from early summer to early autumn if the plants have been carefully chosen.

Where early flowering herbaceous perennials are fading, cut them down to within 7.5cm (3in) of the ground and clear away any unsightly support sticks. This encourages a fresh crop of foliage, which will provide attractive ground cover for the rest of the summer. In some cases, a second flush of flowers may develop later in the season.

Lay a 2.5cm (1in) thick mulch of leaf-mould or forest bark between moisture-loving and shade-loving plants to hold the soil moisture and to keep down weeds.

Chrysanthemums

Stop garden varieties by removing the growing tips of plants as soon as break buds show in the leaf axils on the main stem. This will induce side-shoots which will flower earlier than if they were allowed to break naturally. Stop all plants no later than the third week of early summer or the flowers will be too late to avoid autumn frosts.

Do not allow chrysanthemums to become dry at the roots. Early in the month, hoe in a dressing of sulphate of ammonia at 15g (1/2oz) per sq m/yd to promote growth.

Bulbs

Towards the end of early summer in warm districts start lifting spring bulbs on which the leaves have turned yellow.

Tulips need to be lifted regularly to maintain their health, but most other bulbs — including daffodils — require dividing and replanting in fresh soil only if show-quality flowers are wanted or if the plants have become so crowded that they produce only masses of leaves.

In mild regions, plant anemone corms (Anemone coronaria ‘De Caen’) for autumn or winter show.

When dahlia tubers have begun to grow — two or three weeks after planting — pinch out the tip of each leading shoot. This will encourage the production of side shoots and make bushy plants that will give a long succession of flowers. When the shoots have reached a height of about 45cm (1-1/2ft) tie them to the stakes with garden string or raffia. Lay a thick mulch around dahlias and water the plants well.

Annuals

Complete the planting of half-hardy bedding annuals, waiting until all risk of late frosts has passed in cold or low-lying regions. Water the cleared borders or beds and the hardened-off plants before setting these out in the flowering positions.

During prolonged dry weather, water thoroughly all recently planted half-hardy annuals, and hardy annuals sown earlier, to help them make sufficient growth before flowering starts.

Give support to the taller-growing annuals when they reach a height of 15-23cm (6-9in). This is especially important in exposed situations. Use twiggy pea sticks slightly shorter than the eventual height of the plants, pushing them in among the individual clumps so that the plants conceal them while at the same time gaining support from them.

Spray bedding plants monthly with a systemic insecticide to control aphids and other sap-sucking insects. Hoe regularly to control weeds.

Biennials

Sow hardy biennials, such as wallflowers, if this was not done in late spring. They can be raised outdoors or under glass.

As soon as they reach manageable size, set out in a nursery bed biennial seedlings which are at present in seed boxes or outdoor seed beds. Plant them 15-23cm (6-9in) apart so that they have enough space to make sturdy, bushy plants for setting out in their final positions in early autumn.

Alternatively, sow wallflowers and sweet Williams directly in their flowering site at the end of early summer. Sow thinly and prick out surplus seedlings as soon as possible to leave remaining plants 15-23cm (6-9in) apart.

Rock garden plants

Continue to weed and hoe the rock garden, placing weeds straight into a bucket or box to prevent seeds from being scattered.

Trim dead flowers from aubrietas and saxifrages to prevent unwanted self-seeding. Dead-heading of other rock plants is unnecessary, but clipping with shears keeps the garden tidy. At the same time, trim back excessive growth on trailing plants. In the case of species which root as they spread, thrust an old knife vertically into the soil, then pull out the severed portions.

Shrubs and trees

Prune deciduous shrubs, such as deutzia, cutting out shoots that have just flowered. This will encourage strong new growth to develop and ripen for next year.

As soon as brooms (Cytisus) have finished flowering, cut back the shoots to prevent seedpod production. But do not cut into the old wood — it may refuse to send out new shoots and the plants will remain dormant or even die.

Dead-head lilacs (Syringa) and thin out weak shoots. If you grow senecios for their silvery foliage effect, remove the flower heads as soon as they appear.

Propagate Chaenomeles japonica and clematis by layering lax shoots into pots of a proprietary compost sunk into the ground.

Many hedges need the first trim of the year in early summer Escallonia hedges, if trimmed now, will produce a fine show of pink or white flowers on new growth during late summer and early autumn. Continue to weed or hoe at the base of hedges.

Lawn Maintenance

Apply a supplementary lawn fertilizer if this was not given in late spring. Mow the lawn regularly, adjusting the height of the mower blades according to the weather. During periods of drought, raise the blades and cut without the grass box in place -the clippings will act as a mulch and help to retain moisture.

Summer drought can cause significant damage to a lawn which receives constant wear, so spike it well to enable any rain or hose water to penetrate deeply to the roots. Use a garden fork or special lawn aerator, and carry out the work when the ground is soft after rain or watering.

Continue treatment with lawn weedkillers as necessary, except during prolonged dry spells.

17. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Garden Management, Gardening Calendar | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Early Summer Gardening Jobs

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