June Gardening Tips
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Oklahoma State University
David Hillock, Consumer Horticulturist
- 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.
Six Must-Have Plants for the Shade Garden
Casey Hentges, Oklahoma Gardening Host
To me a well-designed woodland garden makes me feel like I am walking into a life-size fairy garden. The cool shades of green with subtle pops of color here and there create a calming effect where you could spend the evening watching fireflies.
While it may not be appropriate for every soil type and location. If you have a shady location with rich soil you might think about adding these six plants to create more of a woodland effect.
Variegated Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum ‘Variegatum’ – Solomon’s Seal grows 18-24” tall on arching branches that grow individually from the ground. It produces dainty, white, bell-shaped flowers that hang from the curve of the stems in pairs. You will notice when they start blooming in late spring, by the sweet lily fragrance they release. These flowers eventually give way to black-colored berries. Typically, the most common cultivar you will find is ‘Varigatum’ which has nice white streaks running through the leaves. Hardy in zones 3-8, it is a good perennial for Oklahoma, but can handle cooler moist conditions better than hot conditions. When you find a good location for it make sure to give it a little room as it spreads by rhizomes.
Bear’s Breeches, Acanthus mollis – It is easy to like a plant when it has new growth coming on, but what I love best about this plant is its foliage looks just as amazing in August, when many of our other plants are starting to look a little tired. Bear’s Breeches has lush green, almost tropical looking foliage, but is hardy from zones 7-10. If you live in northern Oklahoma, you want to let the thick foliage die back and remain as a cover over the base of the plant during the winter and then remove it in early spring to allow the new foliage to come out. The foliage of Bear’s Breeches is actually said to be the model for leaves that adorn the Greek and Roman Corinthian columns.
While this plant is worth growing for the foliage alone, it also produces a flower spike that is just as impressive. In late spring, it will produce a massive 3-5’ tall spike with white flowers that each have a rose-colored hood resembling a giant snapdragon flower. When you are walking through a garden and see this plant in flower, you can’t help but give it the recognition it deserves.
Japanese Rose, Kerria japonica – They call this plant the Japanese rose for a reason. If you look at the overall shape it has a bit of a shrub rose appearance as do the flowers. This is a low maintenance plant that has some interest all year, whether it is during the growing season when it continues to produce dainty yellow flowers or in the winter when it maintains bright green stems. Unlike a rose however, it actually prefers more shade than sun. It should be given plenty of room, as it does tend to sucker and can get anywhere from 6-10’ tall. ‘Pleniflora’ is one of the most common cultivars with double pom-pom like flowers. Most Kerria tend to be yellow but there is a white cultivar ‘Alba’.
Sensitive Fern, Onoclea sensibilis – You can’t have a woodland garden without including a fern. The sensitive fern needs consistent moisture and in fact can grow in swamp-type conditions where it will get taller providing even more beautiful fern foliage. It will fill an area as it spreads by rhizomes and may become aggressive in optimal conditions. It is called “Sensitive Fern” because although it is winter hardy the first frost of the season will set this plant back as well as any drought conditions.
Hardy Garden Orchid, Bletilla striata – When talking about woodland plants, the last plant to come to mind might be an orchid, but a hardy garden orchid enjoys the rich, moist soil and shady conditions of a woodland garden.
Sometimes referred to as a Chinese ground orchid, it has strappy, pleated orchid leaves that come from corm-like root. Given a happy home, this plant will naturalize and spread by rhizomes. In late spring, it produces these cattleya-like flowers that come in pink, purple and white. In the winter, the foliage will die back to the ground, but returns as it is hardy zones 5 to 9.
Toadlily, Tricyrtis hirta – Toadlily is another must have in the woodland garden. Hardy from zone 4-8, it has a purple and white flower that is speckled, some say like a toad. While it might look like an orchid it is actually in the lily family. It gets about 2-3 feet tall, but should be planted near a path in order to appreciate the delicate flowers. Because it blooms later in the summer when many other woodland plants are not this is a great one to incorporate.
The lush green foliage of each of these plants will add not only some interesting texture, but also offer just the right pop of color turning your woodland garden into a fairytale.
Oklahoma Gardening Video