By: Lyn Chimera, Master Gardener, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Looks like we’ve skipped June and gone right into July! The following are some tips for this hot, dry start of the summer that is turning to cooler and wet – what is the weather going to do next?:
Watering: Dry weather can create a definite need to water.
It’s better to water deeply once or twice a week than a little bit each day. The water needs to penetrate the soil 6-8 inches – where the roots are.
Shallow watering evaporates quickly and causes the roots to stay up near the surface, thereby drying out sooner during dry periods.
Any newly planted or moved plants should be watered almost daily depending on how much sun they are in. It’s best to water them before they get droopy as drying out saps their strength and makes them weak.
Watering is most effective when done early in the morning or when the sun is low in the evening.
Most of the water evaporates when you water in the sun.
Watering the lawn at this point is not really necessary. Grass will go dormant (turn brown) after a long dry spell and will green up again when the rain returns.
Don’t forget to water trees and shrubs.
Except for newly planted trees and shrubs, watering should not be done at the base of the trunk, rather out where the feeder roots are.
Lily Leaf Beetle: This is a relatively new invasive insect that attacks true lilies (not daylilies). I’ve had them on my lilies this year for the first time although they have been in northern areas for a few years.
They are small, under half an inch, and bright red. Actually, they are a beautiful insect; however, all stages of the lily leaf beetle eat all parts of a lily plant.
Because of their bright color they are easily spotted on leaves. If you see one you can squash it or nock it into a container of soapy water.
The eggs are very small, bright orange/red and laid along the veins on the underside of the leaves. They are easily rubbed off.
Once hatched, the larva cover themselves with their own feces so look like an oval piece of wet mud. These can be rubbed off (definitely wear gloves).
For more information about the lily leaf beetle, pictures and control method go to:
Garden chores: Weeding is an ongoing task.
It’s much easier to weed after a rain or watering.
Ordinarily June is a good time to divide and move perennials. However, due to the hot dry weather I’m waiting until fall to do some major moving I haven’t yet gotten to. The plants are so big now they won’t react as well to being moved in this weather.
Start keeping an eye out for fungal diseases like powdery mildew.
Mulching now will really make a difference in reducing weeds and watering needs during the summer.
Avoid the new colored wood mulch products. The dyes are not good for the environment and they do nothing to add nutrients to the soil.