Harvest vegetables early in the day for best flavor.
If grass is invading flower beds, use a grass-specific herbicide such as Fusilade or Ornamec (fluazifop-P), Segment (sethoxydim) or Envoy (clethodim). In our trials fluazifop-P has been the most effective on bermudagrass. Always read and follow label directions.
Remember to feed hummingbirds with 1 part sugar and 3 or 4 parts water. There is no need in using red food coloring. Replace sugar water mix at least once a week if it is not emptied sooner.
Keep moisture levels even around tomatoes to prevent blossom end rot.
Tomato diseases are going to happen if they haven’t hit you yet. Control of foliar disease is important in maintaining productive foliage and for providing shade to fruit for prevention of sunscald. While there are some cultural practices that will help reduce foliar diseases, a spray program is needed to achieve adequate disease control because resistance to common foliar disease is not available in tomato varieties. Formulations of chlorothalonil (ex. Daconil), mancozeb and maneb are effective against Septoria leaf spot, early blight (the most common tomato disease), and anthracnose. The first spray should be made at bloom and a 7-10 day schedule should be maintained thereafter. A preventative schedule is critical because these diseases are difficult to control once they become established. If you have a leaf spot disease, spray every 4-5 days. Always read and follow label directions.
Finish up needed pruning to spring blooming shrubs.
Keep a clean garden. Mulch around plants with a 3-4 inch layer of organic material such as shredded bark, pine needles, straw or grass clippings to help prevent weeds, conserve moisture, moderate soil temperature, prevent soil borne disease and slowly add nutrients back to the soil as it rots.
Check junipers for bagworms. They hatched out last month but are still relatively small. If bags were left from last year, you will have them again this year. Spraying early will allow you to use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) or lower rates of Sevin, malathion, acephate, or pyrethroid.
Thin tree fruit crops to one fruit (apple, peach, nectarine, and pear) every 6 inches. This will encourage large fruit with more flavor. Total yield by weight will not decrease by thinning fruit.
Now is a good time to take grasshopper control measures with either Sevin liquid or 50% WP, or malathion. Because grasshoppers are mobile, re-infestations are sure to occur. Check routinely for re-occurrence particularly if you are adjacent to an open unkept grassy area.
When harvesting potatoes this month, spread potatoes out in a protected well ventilated area for curing. Once cured (2-3 weeks), store potatoes in a dark cool place. Check routinely and dispose of spoiled potatoes promptly.
Late this month separate crowded clumps of irises. You can dry iris clumps and plant this fall or you can replant right away. Share with all your garden friends any extra irises.
Annuals planted early last month need their first side-dressing this month. Fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer like 13-13-13 at the rate of one-quarter cup for each square yard of bed area. Fertilize again every 4 to 6 weeks, but use a nitrogen fertilizer such as 34-0-0 at 2 tablespoons for each square yard.
Check azaleas for azalea lace bugs. Use acephate, malathion, or permethrin. One application is not going to work, so repeat spray is necessary. Refer to your product label for determining how many days between spraying intervals. Do not spray more than 3 times per incident. Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub insecticide, also known as Merit, claims that one application can give you a twelve month period of control.
Keep in mind that lack of moisture can happen quickly especially for newly planted shrubs and flower beds. Flowerbeds may require watering twice a week whereas shrubs and fruit trees need a good soaking once a week. Do remember, some plants require more moisture, so pay attention to those specific needs.
Monitor water needs. Keep in mind that plants, trees in particular, exhibit a delayed visual stress symptom. These delayed symptoms could be wilt, leaf scorch, or loss of green coloration. Drought stress to many plants, trees especially, could be the beginning of a slow decline and eventual death that cannot be corrected once it occurs. To avoid these problems, don’t wait to water until you see these visual symptoms. For mature trees, water once a week with a thorough soaking.
Because of all the rain we’ve had this spring, some ornamentals are showing some signs of powdery mildew. Those in the shade have a greater potential of a serious outbreak. You will have to use a fungicide for those in the shade. The following fungicides are some of the ones recommended for powdery mildew: myclobutanil, propiconazole, triadimefon, sulfur, triforine and chlorothalonil.
Mark D. Keaton County Extension Agent- Telephone: 425-2335
For more information on any of the above points, contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service at 425-2335.