It's not too late to fertilize

The June Gardener

Southwest Georgia Master Gardener member Joe Clift tends to his garden in Terrell County which includes the art of bonsai. Photo Joe Bellacomo

Southwest Georgia Master Gardener member Joe Clift tends to his garden in Terrell County which includes the art of bonsai. Photo Joe Bellacomo

Joe W. Clift


ALBANY — Because of our early spring in South Georgia, the plants and vegetables that you planted should have gotten off an early start on growing. Therefore, many of the gardening tips for June will be simple maintenance for lawns, ornamentals, flowers, and vegetables.

ORNAMENTALS AND FLOWERS: Be sure you have added the right amount of mulch to your bushes in order to conserve moisture later in the summer months. Three to four inches is recommended. April or May was the prime time to fertilize our shrubs with a granulated fertilizer at the rate of one tablespoon of fertilizer per foot height of plant. If you have not done so, June is not too late.

Apply fertilizer at the drip line of shrubs and water the fertilizer into the ground. If you did not already pruned your azaleas, now is the time to do so. All flowering shrubs need to be pruned after they bloom in the spring. Do not prune azaleas or other Spring flowering plants after the first week of July. Many rose bushes will need a weekly fungicide spray to prevent black spot.

Spray camellias once a week with horticultural oil in order to prevent tea scales. Repeat every two weeks through June. Water newly planted trees and shrubs weekly if it does not rain. Apply enough water to soak in at least 10 inches deep. Use drip irrigation of a slow running hose. Remove foliage of spring-flowering bulbs after they have died back. Bulbs can be thinned out or moved at this time. Remove spent blooms from perennials to encourage more flowering.

LAWNS: Irrigated lawns need one inch of water each week. Mow Bermuda-grass, Centipede-grass and Zoysiagrass between one and two inches; St. Augustine between two and three inches. Do not let grass grow more than four inches tall before mowing. It is best not to mow grass when wet.

If disease occurs, mowing when wet will spread it. If broadleaf weeds are present in your lawn, pull or spot-treat with a broad-leaf herbicide. It is too late to apply crabgrass preventer. Do not fertilize cool-season lawns until September.

VEGETABLES: When squash plants begin to flower, apply organic Bacillus thuringiensis to stems weekly to prevent squash vine borers. Organic gardeners can fertilize vegetables six week after planting with two cups of dried blood meal or four gallons of composted cow manure per 100 feet of row. Vegetables need at least one inch of water per week. Use a two-inch-thick mulch of straw to reduce weeds and retain soil moisture.

Do not wet foliage late in the day. Consider using drip irrigation. To prevent early blight and late blight diseases, spray tomatoes weekly with a fungicide. Scout for insects regularly. Use insecticides only if necessary, and select the least toxic product that will control the pest.

If you have questions about gardening, call your county extension agent or talk to a master gardener extension volunteer. You can also go to UGAextension.com/Dougherty or Georgiamastergardener.org and click on Southwest GA. The Master Gardener site for Southwest Georgia is SWGAMastergardener.com/contact.

Joe W. Clift is a master gardener and a volunteer with the University of Georgia Extension Service.