Yes... summer has arrived. But hopefully the bright light shining through the heat is the wonderful tomatoes and peppers you are now harvesting out of your garden!
You can continue to plant the warm season grasses throughout the summer. The earlier you get them in the longer they will have to grow and become established with good roots before the winter arrives.
Remember if you fertilized your grass (all except centipede) in April, its time to do it again this month. Your pre-emergent should have also been applied in May to keep on preventing sticker burs from emerging during the summer months. Insects to be on the look out for this month are those pesky chinch bugs (they love St. Augustine lawns) and crickets. To tell if you have a chinch bug problem, look for areas of dead, straw like grass in sunny areas of your lawn. Chinch bugs suck the sap out of grass, especially during very hot periods. Fire ants will also start showing up and can be dealt with easily with Acephate.
Usually its a great idea to sharpen your mower blades during mid-summer. Think of your blades like a pair of scissors, you wouldn't want to try and cut a piece of paper with dull scissors as it will rip and tear the paper. Well, dull lawn mower blades will do the same thing to your lawn. Use the following recommendations for cutting your lawn:
Bermuda : 2-2.5 inches high
Centipede: 1-1 1/2 inch high
St. Augustine: 3-4 inches
Zoysia: 1-1 1/2 inches high
Buffalo Grass: 6 inches
It's a good idea to let your lawn get a little long, so it can better tolerate the heat thats coming!
Most of us started our gardens back at the end of April. But if you are just now getting started, there's still much more you can plant during the month of June. Southern peas, pumpkins, watermelons, okra, peppers, collards, eggplant, cantaloupe, and swiss chard. Although you can still plant squash and cucmbers through July, your production might be limited due to the heat.
If you want to get a jump start on your fall garden, you can go ahead and plant your seeds to use a transplants when the weather starts to cool.
Mulching is especially important in your garden during our long hot summers. By having a good mulched area around your plants you will help them retain moisture by shading the soil as well as keep weeds from growing.
It does little good to fertilize your garden at this point as by this time we are past the heavily producing time for tomatoes and peppers.You can side dress if you like your heavier producers to keep them going.
Your flower beds should be shifting into maintenance mode now. If you are thinking of planting any new flowers, try to do it during a cool spell so the plants will have a better chance of surviving.
The next few months are going to be the most stressful on your flowers. If care is not taken, you might find your flowers are all droopy and poor looking. So keep an eye on them and you might need to adjust your sprinklers to water them a bit more. Make sure to water deeply and thoroughly when you do. A good, long soaking once a week is much better on your lawn and flower beds than a light sprinkle every day. Also make sure to try and water in the morning hours, so your plants can enjoy the moisture and the sun. If you water in the evenings and the sun goes down, you run the risk of the moisture staying on your petals and leaves and developing a fungus.
If the last time you fertilized your flower beds was when you planted back in March, now is a good time to add another application. 15-5-10 is a good all purpose fertilizer for flower beds and other perennials.
If you haven't applied a good layer of mulch in and around your flower beds, now is a good time to consider doing this easy garden task. The mulch keeps the soil cool and moist so plants can continue to thrive and helps as a weed deterrent.
Make sure during our warmer months that you keep plenty of fresh clean water available to your pets as well as horses and other livestock. Although they are use to being outside, they still appreciate a fresh water source.
The same principle applies to our feathered friends as well. make sure to keep bird baths clean and filled with fresh water. Remember not all birds eat sunflowers, so to keep them happy, choose an assortment of bird seeds. During the hot months, many of their food sources, such as worms, will be trying to stay cool as well and won't be so abundant. So its a good idea to keep some seed handy.
Keep your binoculars handy during June. Bird activities usually peak during this month as the parent birds are getting away from their nests and little ones are learning to fly.