June 2019 observations

This spring was another one for the record books. Record wet! Lake Erie is as high as it’s ever been. That’s certainly better than too low. But I don’t think the farmers are too pleased. We won’t see much corn planted this year as we don’t have enough growing season to finish it.

But unlike the farmers, we’ve always got something we can do. While we can’t build patios in wet lawns we can certainly do cleanups and planting. We aren’t doing too bad keeping on schedule despite losing many rain days in April and May. Next week we’ll get started on the booked patio jobs. My thanks to all those folks I sold these jobs to in winter that have patiently waited for us to get the spring work finished.

Is it too late to plant? Of course not. You can plant any time you can dig a hole in the ground. Of course, we prefer spring and fall because it’s typically cool and moist. One caveat to my saying, “you can plant anytime” is that, you can’t necessarily transplant any time. Trees and shrubs need to be dug in the dormant season. If their roots are cut while in leaf they might just wilt and die. Perennials, on the other hand can be divided and moved just about any time of year. In fact, if you’ve got bare areas, you can split the perennials or groundcovers that are doing well and plant pieces in those bare spots to help fill in.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the weeds have loved this rainy spring. Just when you’ve controlled one crop of seedlings, the next is sprouting. You can control these weeds with a careful, regular application of “post emergent” herbicide. The 2,4-D products will take out the broadleaf weeds in grasses (both lawn and ornamental grasses) Conversely, a grass herbicide will selectively control weedy grasses in broadleaf beds. Of course the Roundup products will take out any weeds but be careful not to hit the desirable plants. You might also consider putting down a “pre-emergent” like Preen over newly mulched beds to prevent sprouting of new seedlings. Forget the weed mat! Most weeds don’t start under the weed mat. They grow in the mulch that covers it.

We haven’t had to worry about watering this spring but as we move into hotter, dry weather this summer, you should monitor the situation and possibly give new plantings a weekly drink. Generally, a good deep soaking once a week is enough though. Don’t kill them with kindness.

Enjoy your summer garden!