For your lawn
A third of the growth should be removed when mowing warm-season grasses. Try to change direction when mowing your lawn. This will help strengthen the roots system and expose different sides of the plant to sunlight. Fertilize bermuda grass and St. Augustine lawns at a rate of 1 pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet, equal to 6 pounds of 16-4-8 per 1,000 square feet. Install a rain sensor to your irrigation system to avoid watering during or immediately after rain. Adjust irrigation applications according to rainfall, so that a total of 1 inch of water is applied each week.
Trees, shrubs and flowers
Pinch off garden mums till mid-July to encourage branches and delay flowering until fall. Many people have container gardens on their patios and porches. Container-grown plants can dry out quickly during these hot, summer days. Daily watering may be necessary, however the soil shouldn’t be soggy or have standing water. Apply water until it runs out the drainage holes. Feel the soil in containers at least once a day and twice on hot, dry days to be certain that plants are getting enough water. Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as azaleas, forsythia and hydrangeas as their blooms fade. Be sure to prune them by mid-July to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds. Reduce the mosquito population by emptying standing water. Mosquito larvae need only a small amount of water to grow. Empty any open container of water, including saucers under plants and birdbaths, every two or three days to prevent larvae from reaching maturity. A second application of slow-release fertilizer is needed in mid-summer for containers and flower beds.
Fruits, vegetables and herbs
If you are growing herbs, remember to harvest before they flower for peak flavor or aroma. Pick herbs in the morning when the dew has dried off, when the aroma will be the most intense. When watering vegetables from overhead or with a sprinkler, the best time of day to water plants is early in the morning. Watering during midday allows excess water evaporation. Avoid watering in late evening when the foliage cannot dry before the sun sets. Wet foliage on hot summer nights is a perfect environment for diseases to start. Keep tomato plants mulched and evenly moist to reduce blossom end-rot and cracking. Certain pesticides have a waiting period of several days between the time of the last spray and harvest called “Harvest Interval Date.” Read and follow directions on all labels before applying to your vegetable crops. Wash all produce thoroughly before use. Pick beans, squash and tomatoes regularly to increase production. Remove lower suckers on tomatoes and lightly fertilize to keep production going.
Got gardening questions? We can help. Contact the Wayne County Extension Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. by phone at 919-731-1433, e-mail at Master.Gardener@waynegov.com, or by stopping at the Wayne County Extension Office at The Maxwell Regional Agricultural & Convention Center, 3114B Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro.
Jessica Strickland is an agriculture extension agent specializing in horticulture for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.
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Upcoming Wayne County Extension Gardening Programs
Visit the Farm Credit Farmers Market!
The Farmers Market is located behind The Maxwell Center at 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro. The market is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Farmers Market will be closed on Thursday, but will reopen under its normal schedule Friday.
Tomato Day at the Farmers Market – Friday, July 12
Purchase fresh, local tomatoes and enter to win a tomato recipe contest at 1 p.m. The contest is open to all ages. Entries will be received from 1 to 1:30 p.m. with judging set to begin at 1:30. All recipes must include at least 1 cup of tomatoes. Contestants may enter more than one recipe and must be present during the contest. Entries have to be prepared at home and presented at the market for judging. Each entry must serve three to four judges. Tomato food demonstrations and samples will be offered from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Master gardeners will be available to answer gardening questions.