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Garden tasks for June

For a lovely garden throughout summer, don't procrastinate this month

It's June, and here's a timely reminder of key garden chores - in the areas of fertilizing, pest control, planting and maintenance - you'll want to attend to this month.

If you wait, you run the risk of having a less-than-satisfactory garden in July and August.

Recommendations are not necessarily applicable to all areas of Oregon. For more information about individual plant care or other subjects, be sure to contact your local OSU Extension Service office.

PLANNING

• Construct trellises for tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans and vining ornamentals.

MAINTENANCE AND CLEANUP

• Prune lilacs, forsythia, rhododendrons and azaleas after blooming.

• Fertilize vegetable garden one month after plants emerge by side dressing alongside rows.

• Harvest thinnings from new plantings of lettuce, onion and chard.

• Pick ripe strawberries regularly to avoid fruit-rotting diseases.

• Use organic mulches to conserve soil moisture in ornamental beds. An inch or two of sawdust, barkdust or composted leaves will minimize loss of water through evaporation.

• After normal fruit drop of apples, pears and peaches in June, consider thinning the remainder to produce a larger crop of fruit.

• Make sure raised beds receive enough water for plants to avoid drought stress. If a green lawn is desired, make sure lawn areas are receiving adequate water (approximately 0.5 to 1.5 inches per week from June through August). Deep watering less often is more effective than frequent shallow watering. Measure your water use by placing an empty tuna can where your irrigation water lands.

• If green lawns are being maintained through the summer, apply one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of grassy space.

PLANNING/PROPAGATION

• Plant dahlias and gladioli.

PEST MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT

• Learn to identify beneficial insects and plant some insectary plants (e.g. Alyssum, Phacelia, coriander, candytuft, sunflower, yarrow, dill) to attract them to your garden. Check with local nurseries for best selections. See OSU Extension publication PNW550 ('Encouraging Beneficial Insects in Your Garden') for more information.

• Blossoms on squash and cucumbers begin to drop. This is nothing to worry about. Cherries may also drop fruit; this is not a major concern.

• Monitor azaleas, primroses and other broadleaf ornamental plants for adult root weevils. Look for fresh evidence of feeding (notching at leaf edges). Try sticky trap products on plant trunks to trap adult weevils. Protect against damaging the bark by applying the sticky material on a four-inch-wide band of poly sheeting or burlap wrapped around the trunk. Mark plants now and manage root weevils with beneficial nematodes when soil temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If root weevils are a consistent problem, consider removing plants and choosing resistant varieties. And see http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/eb0970e/eb0970e.pdf for list of rhododendrons exhibiting resistance to adult root weevil feeding.

• Control garden weeds by pulling them, hoeing them or mulching.

• Control aphids on vegetables as needed by hosing plants off with water, or use an insecticidal soap or a registered insecticide.

• Watch for 12-spotted beetles on beans and lettuce and cabbage worms or flea beetles in cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts). Remove the pests by hand or treat with registered pesticides.

• Spray peas as first pods form, if necessary, to control weevils.

• Birch trees dripping a sticky fluid from their leaves means that aphids are present. Control as needed.

• Use yellow sticky traps to monitor for cherry fruit flies. About one week after the first fly is caught, spray cherries at appropriate intervals.

• Last week: perform a second spray for codling moth in apple and pear trees, as necessary.

• Identify problems in the garden before acting, and opt for the least toxic approach. Cultural, physical and biological controls are the cornerstones of a sustainable pest management program. Use chemical controls only after you identify a pest problem and carefully read the pesticide label. Least-toxic choices are insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, botanical insecticides and organic and synthetic pesticides. For more information about about pest management choices, contact your local OSU Extension Service office.

HOUSEPLANTS AND INDOOR GARDENING

•Move houseplants outdoors for cleaning, grooming, repotting and the best chances for summer growth.