It is often said that patience is a virtue. This spring, patience has not only been a virtue but a necessity as well. Many self-sowing annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees have been reluctant to begin their growing season. As I prepare this article in late May, many plants are still just beginning to appear.
Woody plant care
In June, both trees and shrubs will appreciate a layer of mulch. Mulching will conserve soil moisture, retard weed growth, moderate soil temperature and enhance the overall appearance of your garden beds.
Rugosa and shrub roses need a spring application of fertilizer. All other roses will be ready for a second application of a well-balanced fertilizer after their initial bloom period.
Annual and perennial care
As many annual and perennial plants are already in the ground by June, let's consider after planting care. Here are some tips.
• Mulching your garden beds with a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch is recommended.
• To develop strong root systems, deep, infrequent watering is preferred over frequent light watering. Early morning watering is recommended.
• Annuals and perennials do not require large or frequent amounts of fertilizer.
• For annuals, an initial fertilizing in the spring at planting time will probably be sufficient. If plants appear to have poor growth, nutrients may be missing in the soil. If this occurs, a second application may be used 6 to 8 weeks after planting. Perennial plants should have a successful growing season with an application of a balanced fertilize such as 10-10-10 once a year.
• Deadhead both annuals and perennials for greater flower production.
Healthy turf grass may be mowed at 2 to 3 inches. If stress situations such as drought, disease or insects occur, do not remove more than one-third of the turf at one time.
Seed bare areas if needed.
Do not fertilize your lawn in the hot weather. It is better to wait until fall.
Water early in the day to prevent disease problems.
Fruit, vegetable and herb care
Early June is pumpkin planting time. Large pumpkins may take as much as 100 days to develop.
June is the time to pinch top growth on herbs to encourage branching and stop flowering. Many herbs are now ready to be used for cooking.
As simple as it sounds, the main thing to remember when you are planting or replanting annuals, perennials, shrubs or trees is that your first consideration should be "right plant for the right place." Many plants fail in their first year because they are planted in the wrong location. Before planting, take time to study the site to determine if your plant will be successful there. Learn as much as you can about your plant before putting it in the ground. A little time spent researching before planting will almost always yield a better result.
Even though there will be some plant loss in our 2014 gardens, please be patient before giving up on your plants. Enjoy each day in your garden as you discover that many of your favorite plants are returning, and like many of us, are just running a little late.
• The Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at the University of Illinois Extension DeKalb County office in the Farm Bureau Center for Agricultur, 350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore. Call 815-758-8194 or email DeKalb_mg@extension.uiuc.edu. Walk-ins are welcome.