With the start of June, we now welcome summer, and our gardens are now in full swing. With summer we have to keep our gardens watered regularly and keep an eye out for insect and disease problems.

Below are gardening tips to help your garden grow through the month of June.

Lawn

• Mowing at the correct height and frequency is one of the most important things you can do keep your lawn thick and weed free. Different turf types have different ideal mowing heights. Centipede, Bermuda and zoysia lawns are best kept at 1 inch to 11/2 inches. St. Augustine lawns need to mowed at 3 to 4 inches high.

• Be sure to check mower blades and sharpen if dull. Dull mowing blades will shred grass rather than cut it. Grass that has been shredded can leave a brown or grayish cast over the lawn. Shredding or ripping of grass blades instead of clean cuts can leave the lawn more susceptible to diseases. Blades should be sharpened every month or two.

• Seeds of centipede, Bermuda and certain varieties of zoysia can be sown in June but need frequent watering to germinate. Do not allow grass seed to dry out after being sown. St. Augustine grass cannot be established by seed.

Trees, shrubs and flowers

• Mid- to late June is an excellent time to take softwood cuttings of shrubs to start new plants. Some shrubs propagated in this manner are spirea, boxwood and azalea.

• Flower containers should be watered daily during summer. Allow water to drain all the way through the pot. Make sure drainage holes are open in the bottom of the pot to avoid waterlogging that can lead to root rot.

• Remove dead flowers from bedding plants to get more flowering. Removing the dead flowers or “deadheading” prevents the plants from not flowering and going to seed and before summer is over.

Fruit, vegetables and herbs

• Plant sweet potato slips in June for fall harvest.

• Most vegetables require 1 inch of water per week. Avoid wetting the foliage of plants when watering as this increases disease problems. Use soaker hoses or drip tape to apply water at ground level.

• Remember to fertilize your tomatoes as they are growing. Fertilize with 2-3 tablespoons per plant after plant has started to set fruit and four to six weeks thereafter throughout the growing season. Use 8-8-8 and 10-10-10. Keep fertilizer 4 to 6 inches from the plant’s stem to avoid fertilizer burn.

• Scarecrow not scaring away birds or squirrels from your garden? Instead, try tying pieces of colored cloth or tin pans to loose strings so the wind can blow them and clash them together. Random motion is the key to alarming the birds and squirrels away from the garden.

Got gardening questions? We can help! Contact the Wayne County Extension Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. One can reach the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic by phone at 919-731-1433, email at Master.Gardener@waynegov.com, or stopping by the Wayne County Extension Office at the Maxwell Regional Agricultural and Convention Center, 3114B Wayne Memorial Drive.

Learn more

• Subscribe to Wayne County Gardening e-newsletter and receive timely gardening information and announcements of upcoming extension gardening events. To subscribe, visit: http://go.ncsu.edu/subscribewcg. Scroll down to enter your email address in the “address” box and click on the subscribe button. You will then receive an email which will direct you to a website to accept the subscription.

• “Like” us on Facebook to receive timely garden tips, ask questions, and learn of upcoming gardening events. www.facebook.com/waynecountygardening

Upcoming Wayne County Extension gardening programs

• Visit the Farm Credit Farmers Market, located behind the Maxwell Center at 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive. The market is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Growing Flowers: Perennials and Annuals Workshop will be Wednesday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wayne County Extension Office, the Maxwell Center, 3114B Wayne Memorial Drive. The workshop will cover how you can incorporate more flowers in your landscape. Learn about perennial and annual flowers that are suited for our climate to give you ideas for ones to add to your own garden. Registration fee is $5. Pre-registration is not required. Arrive a few minutes early to register.

• Blueberry Day at the Farmers Market will be Friday, June 14. Purchase fresh, local blueberries. The Blueberry Dessert Contest starts at 1 p.m. The contest is open to all ages. Entries will be received from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.; judging begins at 1:30 p.m. A recipe must include 1 cup of blueberries. Contestant must be present during the contest. More than one recipe may be entered. Dessert must be prepared at home and be presented at market ready for judging. Dessert must serve three to four judges. Desserts must be homemade. Food demonstration will be from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Master Gardeners will be available to answer gardening questions.

Jessica Strickland is an agriculture extension agent specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.