39June 1, 2016
This past weekend was surely a case study in how our weather can bounce from hot to cold and from dry to wet. I think that if I was a plant, I would be totally confused as to whether to grow or not to grow.
If you set out any vegetable plants or any flowering plants, be sure to keep up with providing your plants adequate water. Newly transplanted vegetables and flowers initially struggle a bit to grow a root system out into the soil. They need moist soil in order to accomplish this task. On the other hand, if the soil stays soaking wet all the time, little roots will rot and your new plants will die. An application of fertilizer will also help your plants to develop a new root system.
Once your plants are set into their new home, insects will soon find those new plants to be a tender meal. Aphids can infect new growth and many chewing insect can damage the leaves of the plants. The rainy weather we had has created a perfect environment for slugs to attack hosta and many leafy vegetables. To save your plants from this early onslaught of garden pests, you must keep an eye on your plants and treat those plants at the first sign of an infestation. It is far easier to control garden pests if you catch the problem early. Young plants can be killed easily because there is less leaf surface to help the plant to grow. If that small amount of leaf surface is damaged, the plant may not survive.
If you have a forsythia bush in your yard, you may have noticed that it did not flower this year. I think that it may be due to the crazy winter weather killing the flower buds. Now would be a good time to cut the forsythia back a bit. The pruning that you do now will encourage new growth and that new growth will produce many flower buds for the 2017 flowering period. All of your early spring flowering shrubs can be pruned back after their normal flowering period. This will keep the plant to a manageable size and it will enable the plant to set new flower buds for 2017. The early spring shrubs should also be fertilized right after the shrub is done flowering. The fertilizer will help the plant to form the new flower buds and the fertilizer will help to strengthen the plant roots that may have been damaged by the winter.
Many of you may find that your perennials and shrubs really took a hit by the odd winter of 2015 – 2016. If you have not given your perennials and shrubs some fertilizer, now would be a good time. Perennials are putting out a lot of growth and they need fertilizer to fuel that growth. Shrubs need some fertilizer to help them to re-establish a root system that was damaged by the winter. Evergreens may need to be fertilized several times at a half strength application. This would be done every 2 weeks for roughly the next month. Please keep up with the watering of your evergreens unless Mother Nature provides us with adequate rain. As I said earlier, plants need moisture in the soil to help to form a new root system.
I’ll talk to you again next week.