Check plants for insects and diseases.
Destroy badly infested plants. Spider mites can be especially troublesome at this time.
Select a chemical or organic control or use insecticidal soap.
■ Supplemental irrigation is essential for many ornamental plants such as coleus, caladium, geranium, dahlia, azalea and camellia during the hot, dry summer days ahead. Water lawn and garden thoroughly, but not too frequently.
■ During the summer, soil moisture becomes extremely important and essential for good plant production. A good mulch will retain valuable moisture needed for plant growth and improve overall gardening success. Mulches are usually applied 2 to 6 inches deep, depending on the material used.
■ There is still time to plant some of the colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. Be sure to water transplants as needed until roots become established.
■ Removing faded flowers from plants before they set seed will keep them growing and producing flowers. A light application of fertilizer every four to six weeks also will be helpful.
■ House plants can be moved out of doors in June. Sink the pots in a cool, shaded garden bed to prevent them from drying out so quickly. Water pots, container plants and hanging baskets often.
■ Now is the time to plan for next spring. Consider digging and dividing any crowded spring bulbs. Once the bulbs have matured and the foliage has turned brown, it is time to spade them up and thin out the stand. Crowded bulbs produce fewer and smaller blooms. They need thinning every three to four years.
■ June is the time to select daylily varieties as they reach their peak of bloom.
Fertilize roses every four to six weeks. Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer immediately after a flush of bloom.
Continue to spray susceptible roses with a black-spot control such a Funginex every seven to 10 days.
Reblooming salvias, such as Salvia greggii and Salvia Farinacea, should be pruned back periodically during the summer. To make the job easier, use hedging shears, and remove only the spent flowers and a few inches of stem below.
Information from Dr. Mike Merchant, entomologist with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service:
When spring arrives, it’s easy to forget simple precautions like sunscreen. It’s also easy to forget the need for mosquito repellent. But make no mistake, like the Texas sun, mosquitoes are back, and with them the potential for West Nile virus. Dallas County Health and Human Services recently announced the first catch of a mosquito positive for West Nile.
West Nile virus remains the king of mosquito-borne diseases in Texas. This may be easy to forget in the wake of news stories about scary-sounding diseases such as Zika and chikungunya. These viruses caused surprisingly strong outbreaks in the Caribbean in 2014 and 2016 (remember the Zika scare during the Brazilian Olympics?); but for the most part, Texas has escaped similar epidemics, likely because of cooler weather and the way we retreat into air-conditioned homes in the evening.
While most people who catch West Nile show no symptoms, 20 percent of victims get a disease known as West Nile fever. Think of a severe, month-long case of the summer flu. Less than 1 percent of infected persons get a debilitating form of the disease known as the neuroinvasive form of West Nile virus. Nearly all who contract neuroinvasive West Nile end up hospitalized and face a long and uncertain recovery. Neuroinvasive West Nile mostly affects people older than 50, but young, healthy men and women and occasionally children have contracted the disease.
Late April or early May is when the first cases of West Nile show up in Texas, though the season doesn’t get into full swing until mid-late June. Your highest risk of contracting the disease is July and August, with significant risks continuing into September until November.
Now is the time to survey your yard for potential mosquito breeding sites. Any object that holds water is a potential mosquito maternity ward. Look for old buckets, children’s toys, leaf-choked gutters, potted plant drainage ditches, bird baths and even metal fence posts with the tops missing. All these items can catch and hold water for the few weeks it takes mosquitoes to breed. Get in the habit of putting on repellent when you spend time outdoors. I keep a squirt bottle of repellent on my patio to help remind me when I step outside.