What to do in June

Lawn Care
•    Fertilize warm-season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine if you haven’t already done so. (Cool season grasses such as fescue should NOT be fertilized at this time.)
•    A 1/3rd of the growth should be removed when mowing warm season grasses.
•    Core aerate your warm season yard two days after a good rain or irrigation.
•    Zoysia lawns can be started this month

•    Fertilize or sidedress vegetables as needed.
•    June is the only month to fertilize centipede grass.  A ½ pound of 15-0-14 per 1,000 sq.ft is recommended however; the fertilizing needs can be better determined with a soil test.
•    Dogwoods can be fertilized at this time.  Be sure to follow the soil analysis so that you don’t over-fertilize.

•    Vegetable to be planted in June: beans, lima beans, southern peas, peppers, sweet potato, pumpkins, and tomato.
•    Brussel sprouts and collards can be planted at this time for transplanting in mid-July.
•    Trees like dogwoods can be transplanted at this time.  Use proper planting techniques when doing a transplant.  Dogwoods for example, grow best in soils which contain lots of organic matter.

•    New growth on white pines can be pruned.
•    Outgrown hedges can be pruned.
•    Pinch off garden mums till mid-July.
•    Narrowleaf evergreens like junipers and arborvitaes can be pruned.
•    Bigleaf or florist hydrangea can be pruned when the flowers fade.
•    The dieback on hybrid rhododendrons, azaleas, and blueberries can be pruned out
•    Lastly, don’t forget to pinch your chrysanthemums to encourage branching.

•    Watch shrubs for the following insects: bag worms, leaf miners, aphids, spider mites, and lace bugs.  Bag worms already enclosed in their bags will need to be picked off by hand and destroyed.
•    Japanese beetles are also emerging and can be controlled.
•    Watch tomato leaves for dark spots which could be blight.  Spray with the appropriate fungicide if observed.
•    Use recommended herbicide to control poison ivy, kudzu, and honeysuckle if desired.
•    Spray the following vegetables if insects are observed: cucumber (cucumber beetle), squash (squash borers and aphids), tomato and eggplant (flea beetle), broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower (worms).
•    Continue pest control program for fruit trees and bunch grapes.  .
•    Continue with rose spraying program.

(Pesticides should be used sparingly!  Use only when needed and always follow the label)

Other Activities
•    Renovate strawberry beds after the final harvest.
•    Build a coldframe for rooting your shrub cuttings.
•    Water lawns in the early morning during dry periods.  Don’t forget watering lawns late in the evening encourages diseases.
•    Also, vegetables gardens should be watered about an inch a week.

What to do in April


  • Fertilize azaleas after they bloom

  • Fertilize annuals, shrubs, and trees that were not fertilized in the fall


  • Plant summer bulbs

  • The average last spring frost date in Durham County is April 13, +/- 11 days.  After last frost, plant herbs and warm-season vegetables.

  • The following warm-weather vegetable can be planted this month:  green beans, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, melons, swiss chard, beets, cantaloupe, and corn.

  • Replace cool-season annuals, such as pansies with summer annuals.

  • Plant perennial seeds, such as hollyhock, coreopsis, daisy, phlox and Sweet William.

  • Plant small fruit plants, such as strawberry, blueberry and blackberry.


  • Cut back butterfly bushes to approximately 30”

  • Cut back ornamental grasses close to the ground

  • Prune azaleas after they bloom

  • Pinch chrysanthemums to promote later bloom


  • Spray insect oil on fruit trees

  • Check azaleas, rhododendron and pyracantha for lace bugs.  Treat with an insecticide if necessary.

  • Spray roses before buds open.

  • Begin spraying to control poison ivy, honeysuckle and kudzu with a recommended herbicide.

Lawn Care

  • Start mowing tall fescue to three inches

  • Begin irrigation

  • Fertilize warm-season grasses

  • Do not fertilize cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue, Kentucky blue grass and fine fescue now.

  • Mow your warm-season grasses at the correct height.  Bermuda and zoysia at 1 inch and St. Augustine at 2-3 inches.


  • Divide perennials such as daylilies and hostas

Specific Chores

  • Perform mower maintenance

  • Re-mulch beds

  • Clean out water gardens

Educational opportunities abound!

March 19 – Durham Garden Forum – “Cut Flowers for the Home Garden” with Alicain Carlson, 6:30 – 8 pm at Sarah P. Duke Gardens

March 24 – In the Garden: The Master Gardeners’ Extension Gardener Series – “Love That Lettuce”, 2-4 pm at Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Learn about site selection, planning, soil preparation, transplanting, irrigation and weed control for lettuce crops. By Master Gardeners of Durham County. Details at durham.ces.ncsu.edu. Free. Pre-register. Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham. 919-668-1707. gardens.duke.edu

March 26 – “Rain Gardens”, 6:45 – 8:45 pm at the main branch of the Durham County Library

For more information about classes at Sarah P. Duke Gardens:  http://www.hr.duke.edu/dukegardens/pdfs/March-July%2013%20ed%20brochure/Gardening-Horticulture-13a.pdf


What to Do in July

Water effectively. Unless the water reaches the roots where it can be taken up by the plant, you waste both time and water. Let the sprinkler run until water runs off, turn off the sprinkler to let water soak in, then water again, repeating until the root zone is wet. Several cycles may be necessary.

Control fungal diseases – which flourish in hot, dry, and humid weather – by keeping irrigation water from standing on foliage. The best time to water is early morning or late at night, so that morning sun can dry water drops from foliage. Watering in early evening keeps foliage damp all night, encouraging the spread of fungal spores. Drip irrigation is preferable to overhead irrigation, because water is delivered to the roots and doesn’t contact the foliage.


Established fescue lawns naturally go semi-dormant in the heat of July. Established fescue can survive up to three weeks without water, but will need a drink if it doesn’t rain by then! Water only when grass shows sign of wilt (footprints show when grass is walked on). Fescue planted last fall will need watering every week. Call for a Fescue Lawn Maintenance Calendar.


Propagate shrubs by rooting cuttings. Semi-hardwood cuttings of Azalea, Camellia, and Holly can be taken this month. The wood should be hardened enough that the stem breaks when bent. Call for information on rooting cuttings.

Prune off spent crape myrtle blossoms to prolong the flowering period. Sooty Mold will make the leaves appear dark and sooty or almost uniformly charcoal gray. Sooty mold grows on the sticky leftovers of a May/June aphid feast. Control the aphids, and the mold will wash off. Powdery Mildew makes the leaves appear grey and powdery. It’s a common problem which disfigures the foliage but doesn’t kill the tree.

Keep shade trees watered. Shade trees in declining health may simply be thirsty. Water deeply, to soak the soil 4-6″ deep around the drip line of the tree.

Hand-pick bagworm bags on evergreens. Pesticides are not effective once the caterpillars are safe in their bags.

Remove vigorous upright sprouts growing from tree roots (“suckers”) or from the upper surfaces of tree branches (“water sprouts”). Rub off unwanted sprouts from branches and trunks, to direct the tree’s energy into desirable growth.


Weed when it’s easy. Weeds are easier to pull when the soil is moist, so wait until after a soaking rain, or irrigate the area first. The roots of desirable plants can be injured by pulling large weeds nearby, so pull those weeds in late afternoon or on cloudy days, and water the area afterward to help injured plants recover.

Start seeds for cool-weather annuals indoors in July/August for fall planting. Try foxglove, pansy, alyssum, snapdragons, ornamental cabbage (kale), and primroses. Pansy seeds germinate well when stored in the refrigerator (not freezer) for 10-14 days before planting.


Watch for blossom-end rot on tomatoes. That black rot at the bottom of the fruits is a symptom of calcium deficiency. To help your plants this year, apply a foliar spray of calcium. To prevent the condition next year, add lime to the soil when you plant tomatoes.


Put out a bird-bath and keep it filled with fresh water. Birds will pay you back by eating lots of insects!

Think twice about squashing caterpillars; many turn into butterflies. Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars love parsley, so set out a few extra plants to share with them. A pan of moistened pebbles or sand will attract butterflies.


Think strategy. Now that deciduous trees and shrubs are in leaf, survey your landscape critically. Do you have too much? too little? are plants too low where screening is needed? so tall that a view is blocked? Take photographs and make plans to add or move shrubs this fall. Don’t do it now.

Plant chrysanthemums for fall color. Plant rooted cuttings in flower beds, planters, or tubs on patio. Pinch out the tips of garden mums to encourage lower, compact plants with many flowers.


Keep potted plants watered! Plants in pots outside may need daily watering in the heat of summer.

Start stem cuttings of geraniums and leaf cuttings of succulents to be potted for use as house plants this winter.

From: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/durham/agriculturehorticulture/mg/gardencalendar/jul.php