“No price is set on the lavish summer; June may be had by the poorest comer.“
-James Russell Lowell
By June, most parts of the country are lush and green, and teeming with birds, butterflies, and flowers. June also marks the official start of summer on the summer solstice when the northern hemisphere experiences the longest day of the year.
June is a great month for working in the garden – in many areas, the heat is not (yet!) unbearable, and the summer drought hasn’t taken hold. Here are some tasks for your garden in June.
Trees and Shrubs
- Continue pruning blooming shrubs as soon as they finish blooming.
- Deadhead spring-blooming shrubs, to focus the plant’s energy toward strong growth and next year’s blooms.
- Shear hedges while the growth is still soft and easy to shape.
- Watch for black spot and powdery mildew on roses and other plants – apply fungicide and remove (and destroy – don’t compost) any diseased foliage.
- Add extra mulch to shallow-rooted shrubs (like azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons), to help them hold moisture.
- Remove aphids with a blast of water from the hose.
- Reduce (or stop) fertilizing as the temperature heats up.
- Continue planting container-grown trees and shrubs, but keep them well watered.
- Lightly shear conifers (junipers, cypress, etc.) but don’t cut back to bare wood.
Perennials and Bulbs
- Get planting! Perennials and summer bulbs can be planted now, and shopping is more fun when they’re blooming.
- Don’t cut foliage on spring bulbs until it dies naturally. Early bulbs (like daffodils) will die out soon, but later bloomers (like irises) will stay green all summer and should only have the flower stalks removed.
- Plant tender bulbs such as dahlia, gladiolus, and tuberous begonia.
- Do successive plantings of gladiolus for a longer season of blooms.
- Stake or support leggy plants.
- Train climbing plants on trellises before growth is unmanageable.
- Pinch back chrysanthemums and asters to encourage blooming in the fall.
- Lightly cut back spring-blooming perennials after they bloom – if you’re lucky, you might get a second blooming.
- Use plant stakes to mark the location of perennials and bulbs while they’re actively growing and blooming – you’ll thank yourself next spring!
- Try growing perennials from seed for next summer’s enjoyment.
Annuals and Containers
- Plant summer annuals such as petunias, impatiens, begonias, and zinnias in flower beds and boxes.
- Pinch back leggy annuals to encourage branching.
- Deadhead flowers to encourage more blooms.
- Remember to water containers every day or two. Window boxes, hanging plants, and containers under porches and eaves may require daily watering.
- Fertilizer annuals and containers every couple of weeks with a balanced or bloom-boosting organic fertilizer.
- Pinch off faded leaves of coleus and caladiums, and apply a balanced organic fertilizer to keep colors bright.
- Raise the blade on your lawn mower for summer. Cool-season grasses should be mowed at 3”-4” and warm-season grasses at 2”-3”.
- Mow regularly, especially if you’re mulching the clippings.
- Control existing weeds with a post-emergent herbicide, or by pulling or digging. Removing weeds before they bloom and disperse seeds helps reduce next year’s crop.
- Warm-season lawns can be planted and fertilized now.
- Aerate and dethatch warm-season lawns, if needed.
- Reduce fertilizer on cool-season lawns, since they go partially dormant during the hottest part of the summer.
- Apply moss killer before temperatures are regularly above 65° F.
- Make sure your lawn gets one inch of water per week. If you irrigate, water deeply to encourage deeper roots.
Vegetables and Fruits
- Plant warm-season veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, and peppers.
- Mulch sprawling veggies, such as melons and squash, to keep them clean and away from soggy soil.
- Thin vegetable seedlings.
- Keep your vegetable garden evenly and regularly watered.
- Address insect and disease problems as soon as you spot them.
- Keep weeds pulled – they compete for nutrients.
- Remove fallen fruits or veggies to prevent insects and diseases from spreading.
- Install fences or netting to protect your garden from rabbits, birds, and other hungry creatures.
- Install trellises, stakes, or cages for vining veggies.
- Plant summer herbs such as basil and cilantro. Pinch off flower buds to encourage more tasty leaves.
- Harvest cool-season vegetables, such as broccoli, onions, cabbage, and asparagus.
- Begin harvesting warm-season veggies as they mature.
- Summer is a good time to spruce up houseplants, and give them a change of scenery.
- Repot those that are root bound or have moldy soil, and address insect and disease problems immediately to prevent transfer to the new soil.
- Trim dead branches and leaves, and pinch back leggy plants.
- Gently clean dusty leaves with a damp cloth or gentle spray of water.
- Feed houseplants with a balanced organic houseplant fertilizer.
- Consider moving houseplants outdoors for the summer, or to a new place indoors with plenty of fresh air. Choose a shady spot that provides protection from storms.
Cleanup and Maintenance
- Plant water plants in ponds and fountains.
- Take cuttings from the new, soft growth of trees and shrubs for rooting.
- Add extra mulch around heat or drought sensitive plants.
- Turn your compost pile, and sprinkle it with water if it’s drying out.
- Replace hummingbird feeder nectar every few days – it doesn’t take long to spoil in hot weather.
- Keep birdbaths and water features refreshed, to prevent mold and mosquitoes.
- Be on the lookout for insect damage in the garden. Address with appropriate controls, or encourage beneficial predators.
- Reduce fertilizing of all plants as the temperatures heat up and the soil gets dry. Only feed plants if they’re being watered.
- Pull weeds before they bloom, to prevent next year’s seeds.