June In the Garden

June is the perfect garden month but it is a busy one.  Frost and freezes are long gone.    The warmer temps are bringing many plants into bloom – Gardenias, Hydrangeas, Butterfly Bush, Lantana, and other plants are just coming into their own.  Our garden is ablaze with color and full of butterflies, bees & Dragonflies.  We have so many beautiful plants that were not available in early spring – it’s the perfect time to check out our garden of plants

The warmer weather does bring blooms but it also brings other concerns – damaging insects, heat problems, and weeds.  For your June gardening tips, here are a few tips that can keep your garden looking its best with a little effort!

June is Pollinator Month at Blackcreek Nursery! 🌺🐝🦋

Attention all nature lovers and gardening enthusiasts! Join us this month at Blackcreek Nursery as we celebrate the importance of pollinators in our ecosystem.  We have a wide selection of pollinator-friendly plants and flowers to help you create a beautiful and sustainable garden that supports our hardworking bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.  Stay tuned to our Newsletter and Facebook pages as we will have several interesting things going on this month to help you learn more about pollinators!

Planting – It is rarely too late!

Just because we’re approaching summer doesn’t mean that planting is over!  Traditionally we want to plant in early spring and visiting our gardens at that time you see a lot of great plants, but you also miss a lot!  Many of the specialty perennials, shrubs, and edibles don’t really come into focus until sometime from late spring to late summer!  In SE Georgia it is rarely too late to plant anything – except for seasonal items.  The key to planting in the summer months is to pay attention to the three most important factors….

  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Nutrients

Watering Needs

Most plants consume more water during the warmer months.  Pay close attention to plants, both newly installed and established.   With less rainfall, you will want to supplement with irrigation, either automatic or by hand.

  • Check your irrigation system to make sure that all sprayers or drip lines are working.  Also, make sure that the plants in your irrigation area are actually getting water through your system.
  • If you are hand watering, make sure that the water is getting down into the plant roots and not just running off the top.  This can happen when the soil dries out or if the plant has soil on top of the roots.
  • Before you water the plants with a hose, make sure the water is cool. Water in hoses can build up heat – enough to burn the plants.
  • Know what your plants prefer before watering.  Some plants like to be moist and some like to be dry.  If you don’t know what your plant likes, contact us at Blackcreek Nursery & Garden and we’ll be glad to help you figure it out!
  • Watering in the morning is always best as it gives the plant moisture to help it through the day. Avoid mid-day watering or when the sun is the hottest.  If you can’t water in the mornings, then water late afternoon as the sun goes down.

Mulch – The Miracle Solution

Many problems in the garden can be corrected with mulch.  A great natural mulch such as straw, bark or leaves provides many benefits.

  • Beautifies your garden
  • Keeps weeds to a minimum which improves plant health
  • Keeps roots moist and cool slowing down water transpiration
  • Adds vital nutrients to the soil as it breaks down

Avoid synthetic such as artificial or rubber mulches for general gardening us as they don’t provide any real benefit to plants.  The natural mulch you use needs to be thick – at least 2-3″ and it needs to be replenished as they start to break down.

Rocks as mulch are never a good idea unless you have succulent type plants.  The rocks can absorb heat from the sun and can get quite hot.  The heat from the rocks can cause damage to ornamentals, annuals or perennials.   Also weed seeds can get in between the rocks where dirt can settle from rain and wind and then you really have a problem trying to weed.

Nutrients – keep your plants well-fed

You need a balanced diet and so do your plants.  What fertilizer you use depends on what you’re feeding.  Different plants have different requirements so you want to make sure that you are using the right one.  If you don’t know what to use, contact us at Blackcreek Nursery & Garden and we’ll be happy to help you with recommendations.

There are many types of fertilizers – here is a rundown of just a few….

Liquid Fertilizers

  • These fertilizers can come in the form of powder or a liquid that needs to be diluted in water.
  • You may also find some that are RTU-ready to use.
  • Most liquid fertilizers are only designed to last 7-14 days and must be applied regularly to benefit the plant.
  • Once a season liquid feed is not enough.

Granular Fertilizers

  • These come in granular form and are applied to the plant as needed.  There are many different types and here is where you need to make sure of what you’re using.  Some are designed for quick action with long-term residuals, and some are immediate and then they’re gone.
  • ALWAYS READ THE LABEL when applying fertilizers.
  • Old fertilizers can build up salts.  It’s best to not use them on anything you don’t want to burn.
  • Less is always more –  granular fertilizers can burn so make sure you’re not giving the plant more than it can handle.
  • Always water in granular fertilizers well
  • See our May In The Garden article for a breakdown of fertilizer types.

Timed Release – Slow Release Fertilizers

These fertilizers are designed to slowly release nutrients to the plant and are usually temperature-based.  The warmer it gets the more fertilizer is released.  Most of these are sold as 30-day, 90-day, 120-day, and even 365-day.  These are great fertilizers, but some caution should always be taken to avoid damage.

  • Make sure you are giving them the exact recommended fertilizer and rates for the plants you are feeding.
  • If the weather gets warm fast, make sure that the plants are well hydrated.  Watering flushes salt buildup from the plants and if they are dry and the fertilizer releases at a faster rate, may get salt burned.
  • Always Read The Label.

 

Other Summer Garden Tips

Weeds In The Garden

Weeds are the worst detriment to your garden as they are fast-growing and they take away moisture and nutrients from your plants.  They can leave plants nutrient-deficient and can even cause death.  There are many ways to control weeds and we recommend the natural way as opposed to herbicides.

  • Apply generous mulch.  See above.
  • Use biodegradable ground around your plants and apply mulch on top.  This will slow down weed seeds from germinating.
  • Pull them!

If you do choose a chemical method – you should know that there are some great ‘organic’ weed products available.  But even organics can be harmful to plants, pets, and pollinators.  Always read the label.

  • Organic products containing Orange Oil and other natural products are great for killing weeds, but they are non-selective.  If you spray them on anything it can damage it.  Caution should be taken to only spray the unwanted plants.  Read the label to see if they are damaging to pollinators.
  • Spraying organic weed control during the heat of the day and as dry as possible will give you better results.
  • Homemade solutions containing vinegar or regular table salt should be avoided in a garden bed or walkways or patios adjacent to beds.  Vinegar can change this soil pH making it unsuitable for some plants.  Salt can be damaging to plants if it is absorbed.   It can leach into other areas and it is nearly impossible to correct salty soil.

Insects – The good, the bad, and the beneficial!

Summer brings flowers and it also brings insects – both good and bad.  There are just too many to list, but among the most common are Aphids, Scale, Mites, Beetles, Thrips, and Caterpillars.  Each of these insects can be damaging to desired plants but each is different and will require separate methods of control.

Scale, Mites, Aphids, and Thrips can be controlled with All Seasons Horticultural Oil or Neem Oil.    Make sure to spray the entire plant – bottom, and top of leaves. Don’t apply in temps below 40°F or above 90°F.  Sometimes just a harsh water stream can knock off Aphids and send them packing without using chemicals.

For some home remedies, you can also use a small amount of all natural Organic Castile Soap  in water. Add in a little peppermint or rosemary essential oil to sweeten the deal which can be irritating to some insects.  Try Blackcreek Nursery and Garden’s homemade Castile soap available in our Garden Market. 

Beetles and Caterpillars can also be damaging to a lot of plants.  You can use the homemade sprays using the above ingredients can make the plants distasteful.  There are also some commercially available insecticidal soaps that are safe for you and your pets but can deter plants.

Diatomaceous Earth is an excellent, natural product for most soft-bodied insects.  Diatomaceous earth is a powder containing about 80%-90% silica. Diatomaceous Earth is very abrasive and can damage the outsides and insides of bugs but it is safe for people and pets.  Go figure!

Beneficial Insects

We live in an ecosystem where everything thrives on something else.  It is a  ‘give and take’.  There are so many beneficial insects in the garden that eat bad insects.  Two of our favorites are Lady Bugs and Dragonflies.

Lady Bugs are extra special as they feed on aphids and other small insects.  Ladybugs, also called lady beetles or ladybird beetles, are a very beneficial group. They are natural enemies of many insects, especially aphids and other sap feeders. A single lady beetle may eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.

A Dragonfly typically eats 10 to 15 percent of its own weight in prey — including mosquitoes, aphids, and other small insects — each day. Unlike birds or butterflies, there are no plants that draw dragonflies to a garden.

The best way to keep these beneficial insects in your garden is to not eradicate them with harmful chemicals.

Pruning

June is a great month for pruning.  Many Shrubs, trees, and other plants can benefit from pruning during the warm months.  By pruning early, your plants have time to recover before fall and winter sets in.  There are a few exceptions to plants you DON’T want to prune…

Don’t Prune After June……

  • If your plant produces flowers on the same year’s growth, you should be ok to prune.  But if your plants produce fruit or flowers on last year’s growth, it’s best to follow the Don’t Prune After June Rule.
  • Camellias – it’s best to prune these before the end of April, but if you need to prune, it certainly won’t hurt them, but it may prevent blooms the following season as Camellias produce flowers this year on last year’s growth.
  • Blueberries – Blueberries set flowers and fruit on ‘last year’s growth, so anything that grows this year will produce berries next season so we usually say Don’t Prune After June.
  • Some spring-blooming hydrangeas like the old mop-tops produce flowers this year on last year’s growth.  So anything that grows this year will produce flowers next year.  These old Blues, pinks, and whites are best to Don’t Prune After June.  Other types of Hydrangea like Oakleaf and Panicles can be pruned because they produce flowers on the current year’s growth.

If you have any questions about what plants can be pruned during the summer,  just give us a shout!  We’ll be glad to give you advice!