Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lawns Resist Weed Invasion With Regular Fertilizer

By Keith Markensen

In the Western June garden, midway in the growing season, color abounds from almost every corner. Even the hard hit northwestern cities and towns, which reeled under the untimely November and December freezes, are coming back strongly.

From now on it is mainly a job of maintenance rather than planting. Mowing the lawn, watering and weeding the garden, pruning of spring flowering shrubs these are the jobs to be done now.

Annuals to sow: In the Pacific Northwest and Northern California lots of annuals can still be started from seed. If seed is sown now in the Southwest, and particularly in the hot sections of Arizona, the rows will need protection from the heat. Peatmoss serves as a perfect insulator in this case.

No matter where you are starting seeds in the West this month, be sure to provide them with a loose, porous soil. Some of the best annuals to sow are zinnias, marigolds, nasturtiums, portulaca, cosmos, salvia, cockscomb and sweet alyssum. All thrive in spite of hot weather. They will be dependable replacements for the bare spots in the spring border.

What to fertilize: It is a well-known fact that lawns are able to resist weed invasion when fertilized regularly, so give the lawn a late spring feeding. Annuals, vegetables and potted plants such as fuchsias and tuberous begonias prefer mild feedings twice a month rather than heavier, infrequent doses. The important acid-loving shrubs like camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons are ready for another feeding.

Pinching back plants: Pinch back annuals, perennials and even evergreen shrubs and trees to induce bushier growth. Some authorities declare that this type of summer nipping, with mere thumb and forefingers, accomplishes more than a major fall pruning job. Dont let the faded flowers remain on annuals. This is the quickest way to end their blooming season.

Pest control: The sod web worm is the number #1 pest in June; it is even worse than the ever-present aphid. Dont wait until brown areas appear in the turf; instead apply a preventive dose of control at once... check with the local garden center or county agent for the control methods. This is one case where it really pays to spray for protection rather than to wait for trouble.

As always, aphids, red spider mites on gardens and other mites on houseplants should be sprayed every ten to fourteen days. Also watch the roses, spraying them with a combination insecticide-fungicide once a week. If you can keep the foliage healthy and clean through the summer months, prize blooms will be enjoyed for many more months. Spray with a good combination insecticide-fungicide every week.

Tasty vegetables. from your garden: Warm weather makes it possible to enjoy quick tasty crops from tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, squash and beans. There is still time to sow the seed in the open ground.

Subtropicals: In the warm areas of the West, where subtropicals can be enjoyed outdoors, hibiscus, bougainvilleas and other showy items can be set out. Now is a good time to select hibiscus, for most varieties are in full bloom.

Versatile fuchsias: It would not be difficult to plan an interesting garden devoted entirely to fuchsias. Many amateur hobbyists have already proven this.

There are compact, dwarf varieties for pots; trailing kinds for baskets; and strong, tall growers for hedges and pillars. A few are even low enough for rock gardens.

Near the beach areas fuchsias can take full sun, but usually a northern exposure is best. Fuchsias revel in morning sun but prefer protection from midday on. An acid soil to which generous amounts of sphagnum moss have been added will suit them beautifully.

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