June Garden Tips

· Fertilize all plantings this month. Use Lesco 12-2-14 or similar high quality, all-purpose fertilizer on trees, shrubs and palms. Avoid fertilizing citrus because leaf miner likes to feed on the new lush growth. A slower, tougher leaf may be less appealing to the pests. Use Lesco 16-4-8 or similar for lawns. Palms, such as royal, queen, paurotis and pygmy date and cycads such as sago, should be given manganese sulfate to prevent frizzle top. Follow label directions exactly and keep fertilizer off foliage. Sprinkle lightly and evenly; water in. 

· If your lawn looks terrible right now, don't worry. It should make a comeback now that the rainy season should to have arrived. Once the rains start coming regularly, the lawn will start growing again, and should fill in on its own. 

· If you do not have an irrigation system, this is the most important month of the year to plant. Choose whatever you like in the shrub, palm, groundcover or tree categories. Nature will do most of the watering for you and eliminate hose dragging if you don't have an irrigation system. Plants will be well established by mid-October when the dry season arrives. Plant virtually anything you want except vegetables and winter annuals. Select hot weather annuals, such as marigold, coleus, caladium, vinca, torenia and zinnia. This is also a great month for air layering, grafting and rooting cuttings. Many plants will start from shoots stuck in the ground. Water all new plantings daily for the first two weeks if there is no rain. Afterward, water twice a week. Normally, we get good rains in June. 

· This is the best time of the year to cut back hedges and shrubs if they need it. It is usually not advisable to remove more than one-third of the total green growth of the plant. We have good 

cloud cover in June, which minimizes sunscald. Plantings that have been hard pruned will re-grow and fill in much quicker now than at any other time of year. Walk around your property and check trees and shrubs that have dead wood, hollow trunks or crossing/rubbing limbs. Slate these for removal before hurricane season gets more active. 
· Bugs are still busy. Disease can be a problem now. Water only in the morning to avoid mildew on roses and crape myrtle. If plants are close together or growing quickly, open plants up for better air circulation. 

Green Thoughts: I applaud the use of palms in the landscape, but I never stop being amazed about what some gardeners do with them. 

Homeowners regularly use areca palms as foundation plantings and then are surprised when their trees start banging into the eaves. Those who plant queen palms as street trees or in parking lots find that they grow into utility lines and get fried or die from manganese sulfate deficiency, also known as frizzle top. 

Cities and homeowners that have queen, royal, pygmy date, paurotis, or sago palms should include an annual application of manganese sulfate in their yearly maintenance budgets. 

Most of the small palms are shade-loving because they are understory palms in nature. You can plant these shade-lovers (Cat palm, bamboo palms and parlor palms) fairly close to the house. Unfortunately, few sun-loving palms are small. 

Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia)

Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia

The royal poinciana symbolizes the beginning of summer with its vivid blooms of orange, red and sometimes yellow. Nothing in the flowering tree world can quite equal a royal poinciana for sheer gaudiness during full bloom. 

Proper siting is essential so the full beauty can be displayed and the negatives minimized. The tree's good points include the exquisite flower display, the shade provided by the great umbrella _shaped crown and its hardiness. It does well in sunny, dry locations without baby-sitting. 

But these pretty trees do have some negatives _ branch and twig drop, messy pods, fine leaves that clog gutters and pool pumps as well as some staining. Shallow roots grab extra water, and lawns and other plantings have a rough time growing under the tree. The tree casts heavy shade in summer and is totally bare for several months during the winter. 

Watering may cause leaves to remain on the tree longer, but too much disturbs the bloom cycle, causing a scattering of blooms over a longer period. Irrigated trees may also develop root rot and have decay problems. Pruning must be done carefully as the softwood rots easily. 

The royal poinciana is a big tree and needs a large open space so that the full spread of the crown can be accommodated. Expect 40-foot heights and 60-foot _plus horizontal spreads. This is a good tree for highways and unirrigated parks where its beauty can brighten the landscape and care is not routinely provided. 

  • Origin Madagascar 
  • Salt tolerance Medium 
  • Foliage Green and delicate 
  • Drought tolerance High 
  • Growth rate Fast 
  • Nutritional requirements Low 
  • Propagation Seed 
  • Light requirements High 
  • Problems Weak, messy, staining 
  • Soil requirements Well drained, not good in heavy soils 

"Id rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck". 

Emma Goldman


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