Monthly Horticulture Tips
Monthly Horticulture Tips
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Oklahoma State University
- Find someone to water plants in the house and garden while on vacation. Harvesting vegetables and mowing the lawn are a must and imply that someone is home.
- Mulch ornamentals, vegetables, and annuals to reduce soil crusting, and to regulate temperatures and moisture during hot summer months. Mulching will reduce about 70 percent of the summer yard maintenance.
- Remain alert for insect damage. Add spider mite to the list. Foliage of most plants becomes pale and speckled; juniper foliage turns a pale yellowish color. Shake a branch over white paper and watch for tiny specks that crawl. Watch for first generation fall webworm. (EPP‑7306)
- Fertilize warm-season grasses at 1 lb. N per 1,000 square feet. Don’t fertilize fescue and other cool-season grasses during the summer.
- Dollar spot disease of lawns can first become visible in mid-May. Make certain fertilizer applications have been adequate before applying a fungicide. (EPP-7658)
- Seeding of warm-season grasses should be completed by the end of June (through July for improved varieties such as Riviera and Yukon) to reduce winterkill losses. (HLA-6419)
- Brown patch disease of cool-season grasses can be a problem. (HLA-6420)
- White grubs will soon be emerging as adult June Beetles. Watch for high populations that can indicate potential damage from later life cycle stages as grubs in the summer.
Fruit and Nut
- Renovate overgrown strawberry beds after the last harvest. Start by setting your lawnmower on its highest setting and mow off the foliage. Next thin crowns 12-24 inches apart. Apply recommended fertilizer, preemergence herbicide if needed and keep watered. (HLA-6214)
Trees and Shrubs
- Vigorous, unwanted limbs should be removed or shortened on new trees. Watch for forks in the main trunk and remove the least desirable trunk as soon as it is noticed. (HLA-6415)
- Pine needle disease treatments are needed again in mid-June.
- Remove tree wraps during the summer to avoid potential disease and insect buildup.
- Softwood cuttings from new growth of many shrubs will root if propagated in a moist shady spot.
- Protect trees from lawnmowers and weed eaters by mulching or using protective aerated covers.
- Pinch back leggy annuals to encourage new growth. Fertilize and water appropriately.
- Feed established mums and other perennials.
- When picking fresh roses or removing faded ones, cut back to a leaflet facing the outside of the bush to encourage open growth and air circulation.
- Stake tall perennials before toppling winds arise.
Insect Hotels: Good Bugs Check In AND They Check Out
Eric Rebek, Extension Entomologist
From backyard gardeners to large-scale producers, more and more folks are becoming interested in insect conservation. You might be asking, “Why would anyone want to encourage greater numbers of those creepy crawlies?” The short answer is even if they give you the chills, not all insects are pests—in fact, less than 1% of all insect species on planet Earth are considered pests (i.e., those that compete with us for food and fiber or cause us harm). So, what about the other 99%? They either serve as an important food source for vertebrate predators or they benefit us directly.
A couple of these insect-derived benefits include pollination and natural pest control.
Every gardener and farmer appreciates these important ecological services as their crops, and livelihood, often depend on them. There are myriad strategies available to conserve these “good guys” in our landscapes, ranging from polycultural plantings of mixed crops to modified (reduced) pesticide use (see OCES publication E-1023: Conserving Beneficial Arthropods in Residential Landscapes). Here, I will focus on one conservation technique for home gardeners that integrate science and art: insect hotels.
Insect hotels are simple structures that provide shelter to a wide variety of beneficial arthropods, including bees, wasps, lady beetles, and spiders. These bug-friendly structures are often constructed from scraps of wood, brick, bamboo, plant pots, and other leftover landscaping/gardening materials. Gardeners can tap their creative energy and design insect hotels to be aesthetically pleasing and tailored to their landscape. Beneficial arthropods are attracted to insect hotels because they require shelter for nesting or overwintering. Thus, the design of insect hotels should accommodate these requirements.
Native pollinators such as solitary bees and wasps require nesting sites that are often lacking in well-manicured lawns and landscapes. To attract these beneficials, insect hotels should have lots of nooks and crannies with deep recesses. These nesting sites can be created from stacked bamboo, old pots, masonry, and wood pieces drilled with holes of various diameters. Spiders, lady beetles, and other predators require hiding places and/or overwintering sites, which can be provided by adding straw, fallen leaves, pine cones, and sticks. For lots of design ideas, see the following website: http://www.inspirationgreen.com/insect-habitats.html. After visiting this site, I’m totally inspired to repurpose lots of old scraps, landscaping material, and yard waste lying around my garage to construct my own insect hotel this spring!