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Gardening | A six-month, to-do list for lawns, gardens


The first half of the 2015 yard maintenance schedule was published in the Coasting section of The Sun News in January. The schedule for the second half of the year follows.


▪ Ongoing: Keep track of rainfall. When necessary, augment rainfall with irrigation to a total of 1 inch of water per week. Keep weeds under control; eliminate them before they go to seed. Maintain lawn at recommended height for your type of grass.

▪ June-September: Monitor warm season grasses, especially St. Augustine, for chinch bugs. If you find small spots of yellowing grass in dry sunny areas, check the base of leaf blades for tiny 1/8-inch, darkly colored bugs (adults have white wings). Treat the lawn immediately with insecticidal soap or a chemical insecticide formulated to safely kill chinch bugs on your type of grass. Follow label directions.

▪ August: Fertilize your lawn for the last time this year. Water well, before and after application. Do not use a weed and feed product.

▪ September: Apply preemergent. Note: A “winterize” product is not necessary for warm season turf grasses.

▪ September-November: Watch for large-patch fungal disease during wet weather. Treat it immediately with fungicide.

▪ November-December: Remove fallen leaves and pine needles.

▪ December: Apply preemergent.

Gardens, trees and shrubs

▪ Ongoing: Deadhead to keep annual and reblooming perennial blooms coming. Keep weeds under control; do not allow them to go to seed and spread. Keep newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials well-watered. Perform light pruning as necessary. If you have a deer problem, spray new growth with deer repellent regularly. Pay extra attention to container plants. They need more water and fertilizer than plants in the ground.

▪ July: Do not prune azaleas after July 1. Pinch back chrysanthemums for the last time by mid-month. Feed palm trees with fertilizer formulated for palms.

▪ July-August: Give annuals and reblooming perennials a midsummer spruce up. Apply slow-release fertilizer – the spring serving is likely depleted. Do not apply fertilizer during a drought. Do not put fertilizer on dry soil – water well before and after application. Trim back leggy plants. Shape up raggedy annuals and perennials. Cut back geraniums, petunias and verbena to revitalize them for growth in cooler weather. Replace worn out annuals with new plants. Clear out vegetable plants that have passed their peak. Plant a second crop of summer vegetables. Refresh mulch.

▪ July-September: Manage insect pests. Look for stippled leaves, sticky honeydew, decline in plant vigor, yellowing leaves and leaf drop. Check azaleas, pyracantha, hawthorns and lantana for lace bugs. Monitor crape myrtles for aphids. Watch for mites on juniper, rosemary, pyracantha and other plants. Keep an eye on gardenias for white flies. Use insecticidal soap as necessary to combat these insects. Avoid using insecticides when the temperature is over 85 degrees. Protect bees by applying insecticidal products only in early morning or evening when bees are not feeding. Recognize grasshopper damage by the large holes they chew in leaves. Trap them in a quart container half full with 2 cups of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of molasses. Monitor tomatoes, peppers and eggplants for tomato hornworms. Pick them off or prevent them with Bt spray. Control kudzu bugs with insecticides in which pyrethroid is the active ingredient.

▪ August: Dig up crowded iris rhizomes. Replant them and give away the extras. Order spring blooming bulbs that need pre-chilling.

▪ August-September: Plant cool-season vegetables and herbs.

▪ September: Put bulbs that need pre-chilling in the refrigerator for 12 to 16 weeks. Feed palm trees with fertilizer formulated for palms.

▪ October: Ease houseplants inside. Clean out debris, wash leaves and spray with insecticidal soap. Move plants to a warm microclimate close to your house, on a porch or in the garage, especially at night. Bring them inside before nighttime temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

▪ October-December: Clear plant debris out of gardens. Have your soil tested. Divide and transplant perennials. Plant new trees, shrubs and perennials. Top dress soil with compost. Mulch to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

▪ November-December: Plant spring blooming bulbs after the weather and soil have cooled.

▪ December-February: Monitor house plants for unwelcome insects. Spray off their leaves with water regularly to thwart pests. Watch nighttime temperatures. Be prepared to cover tender, outside plants with breathable, insulating fabric. Remove covering the next morning when the day starts to warm.

▪ Plan your 2016 spring garden.

Reach DEBBIE MENCHEK, a Clemson Master Gardener, at dmgha3@aol.com.