• Treat for azalea lace bugs if you’ve had problems in the past. Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil and synthetic insecticide chemicals all work well, sprayed under the leaves.
• Look for tiny “toothpicks” on the trunk of your Japanese maple, Kwansan cherry and other small landscape trees. The Asian ambrosia beetle is spreading death-dealing fungus inside the trunk.
• Plant begonias, coleus, geraniums, petunias and vinca for summer-long color in your landscape.
• Fill the ruts and low spots in your lawn with a 1:1 mixture of sand and topsoil. Sweep with a broom afterwards to expose growing grass blades.
• Apply Bacillus thuringiensis to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower to ward off cabbage looper caterpillar damage as these plants mature.
• Snip off sprouts from the base and lower trunk of crepe myrtles that are being trained to grow in an upright tree form.
• Remove leafless limbs from shade trees. If they don’t have leaves by now, they won’t be coming back.
• Dig, divide and transplant your crowded irises to a better location, if needed, after they bloom.
• Prune early-flowering azaleas now that they have finished blooming. Remove tall sprouts at their base, inside the shrub.
• Pinch out the growing tips of rhododendron limbs now that flowers are gone. You’ll get many more flowers next year.
• Plant rosemary, basil, oregano, dill and other herbs for savory summer meals.
• Place a newspaper mulch 10 sheets thick under tomato plants to prevent leaf diseases. Cover with pine straw.
• Plant corn, squash, beans and peas now that the soil is quite warm. Make another planting of corn in two weeks.
• Drill a one eighth inch hole in the cap of a two liter soft drink bottle. Fill the bottle, cap it and upend it in the soil of your patio plants to slowly water them during the day.
• Control fire ants by lightly scattering a bait over your lawn. Forty-eight hours later, use an insecticide on any large mounds you can see. Repeat in September.
• Get in the habit of wearing a hat and sunscreen whenever you work in the sun. Skin cancer cases are on the rise.
• Plants need an inch of water per week. What’s an inch of water? If rainfall or irrigation fills an empty soup can to a depth of one inch, that’s just what plants need.
• Don’t put rocks in the bottom of houseplant pots. They actually decrease drainage and aeration for the plant roots.
• The best time to water is between 10:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. This allows the grass to dry before nightfall the next day and prevents disease.