With the hot weather upon us, feed and water summer bedding and lawns regularly and mulch borders to help keep weeds at bay. For the grow your own enthusiasts, sow spring cabbage, chard and winter spinach now and plant out winter cabbage plants.
Cut back delphiniums and geraniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage a second flowering period. These and late flowering border perennials will benefit from a top dressing of quick acting organic feed such as Sulphate of Potash.
Feed, water and deadhead summer bedding regularly to encourage continued flowering. You can use a liquid feed such as Tomorite for all containerised plants, to encourage flowering throughout the summer.
Hoe and hand weed regularly to keep weeds at bay. To help prevent weeds, mulch borders to a depth of 2-3 inches. This also helps to retain moisture.
Most weeds can be controlled by cultivation techniques such as hoeing, mulching or digging. As a last resort, use a weed killer that is recommended for the control of the weed and follow the instructions on the product label.
Feed and deadhead your roses to keep them flowering. Keep an eye out for aphids and black spot and use Rose Clear.
Prune June-flowering shrubs now and look out for:
- Scale insect on bay trees which shows as small oval bumps under the leaves. Organic sprays such as SB Plant Invigorator give some control if applied weekly. For more persistent infestations use Provanto ultimate bug killer.
- Greenfly and blackfly on young shoots. A regular spray of SB Plant invigorator will provide non-toxic control.
- Powdery mildew can occur in dry weather. Mulch plants to keep moist and spray with Fungus Clear.
- Inspect lilies for the scarlet lily beetle and spray with an organic spray such as Vitax Plant Guard or SB Plant Invigorator.
Asparagus beetle is also active, stripping the bark. Hand pick beetles and larvae from plants – small populations are unlikely to affect cropping in subsequent years but if chemical control is required, use an organic spray such as Bug Clear for Fruit and Veg.
Look out for the symptoms of clematis wilt including wilting leaves and black discoloration of the leaves and stems. Cut out all affected material back to the healthy tissue and dispose of it. Disinfect pruning tools to prevent contamination and avoid moving the infected plant and soil to a new area.
Give the lawn a quick-acting summer feed. During periods of prolonged dry weather, set your mower blades higher to reduce stress on your grass. If your lawn is new, don’t let it dry out.
Sow spring cabbage, chard and winter spinach. Plant winter cabbage plants.
Sow biennials such as foxgloves and forget-me-nots for next year’s blooms.
Give woodwork a coat of preserver while the weather is dry.