Choosing a watermelon for the Fourth? Slap it to determine ripeness. Good ones sound hollow; unripe ones sound like you’re hitting solid wood.
Regularly remove faded flowers from salvia, zinnia, coneflower and especially petunia. This will encourage bushiness and the production of more flowers.
Remove all stems that support faded flowers on your blue and pink hydrangeas; shorten droopy, flowerless stems by one-third. The new growth that occurs between now and winter will produce next summer’s blooms. See Pruning Hydrangeas
There is still plenty of time to plant seed of marigold, cosmos, cleome and dwarf sunflower. They’ll make a spectacular flower show in six weeks.
Support tall flower stems prone to flop over after a rain. Use a thin stick or a length of bamboo and some jute twine to tie the plant upright.
Cut back by half herbs like basil, mint and oregano. This prevents them from producing seed and promotes more fragrant leaves.
If you’re forced to dig a hole for a post, let your water hose trickle in the spot all night long. The water will soften the soil from its concrete-like state
Don’t let fruit tree limbs break. Prop them up with poles or remove some unripe fruit.
Check the houseplants you’ve stationed outdoors for insect pests. Use insecticidal soap to manage insects if you find any.
Pick squash, cucumbers and okra regularly. One over-ripe vegetable, left on the vine, stops bloom production.
Ticks are a big problem this year. Take time to do a “tick check” when kids return from romping in the yard or nearby woods.
Going on vacation? Most houseplants will grow just fine while you’re gone if placed on a wet towel in your bathtub with the curtain drawn.
Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and centipedegrass sod can be successfully installed in bare spots now. Make sure to loosen the soil six inches deep before putting the sod in place. Water enough to keep the upper half-inch of soil moist but not soggy.
Cut back dahlias to half their height. Fertilize and water the plant to produce a crop of fall flowers.
Water spring-planted trees and shrubs weekly: 2 gallons of water per foot of height.
Water figs now as the fruit begins to ripen. Drought can cause fruit drop.
Mow grass growing in the shade one-half to one inch higher than the normally recommended height. Plants need as much leaf surface as possible to take advantage of any available light.
Fertilize houseplants. They are getting much more light now and can use the food to grow bigger.
Don’t automatically reach for a fungicide if you suspect a disease on your plants. Identify the problem correctly first – it might not be a disease after all! Call 1-800-ASKUGA-1 to talk to your local Extension office.