Gardening in June 2019
Of all the enhancement and applications we make to lawns, fertilizer is by far the most common. It nourishes the turf, helping to make it healthy. The healthier the turf, the better it can fight off disease, and tolerate everyday stresses such as drought, heat, and foot-traffic. But too much or too little fertilizer and you may sacrifice the health and resistance you’re trying to promote.
Too much fertilizer can lead to foliar burning and actually stimulate disease, insect, and weed activity. Too little fertilizer and the lawn won’t thrive, again making it more susceptible to disease, insects, and weeds.
In all, there are at least 18 elements that plants require for proper growth; fortunately, they get most of these via natural soil processes. But 3 of these: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K), are the critical ones that plants need in larger quantities, which is why fertilizer products focus on these three.
When selecting a fertilizer, be careful to select the proper product, and the proper application regimen for the time of year, the condition of your soil, etc.
Important: be VERY careful with fertilizer products containing herbicide, sometimes referred to as “weed-and-feed.” Follow directions carefully. Herbicides can certainly have an adverse effect on trees and shrubs if used incorrectly. Most herbicides don’t know the difference between good stuff and bad. I can’t say it enough: BE CAREFUL!
Insect problems like chinch bugs and mole crickets may need to be dealt with this month. Chinch bugs suck the sap out of grass and are especially damaging during periods of hot, dry weather. Look for areas of dead, straw-like grass starting to appear in sunny, hot areas of the lawn; particularly near concrete driveways and sidewalks. Treat with insect-control aids/products labeled to control chinch bugs in lawns.
A WORD ABOUT ROSES
If you did not fertilize your roses last month, you may do so this month. Use your favorite rose fertilizer, or a premium quality, long lasting, slow-release rose fertilizer. Read and follow label instructions.
Although it may seem as if roses have pest problems no matter what you do, DON’T GIVE UP. A regular weekly spraying with a combination product that includes a fungus-control aid for blackspot and an insect-control aid for insect pests is important.
Keep weeds under control by regularly hand pulling, and mulching 3-4 inches deep. Regularly collect and dispose of diseased leaves that yellow and drop from your rosebushes. This may help reduce blackspot problems.
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