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June Gardening Tips

*Heavy rains encourage slug problems. Check for slugs during rainy periods and hand pick the pests.

*For hanging baskets in cool, shady locations, use tuberous begonias, ferns, impatiens or fibrous rooted begonias in combination with trailing plants, such as English ivy.

*Remove old flower heads from annual bedding plants to keep them blooming.

*Disbud chrysanthemum flowers to secure large, beautiful blooms on straight, strong stems. To disbud, remove the small side buds along the stems which form in the angles of the leaves. This will allow all of the food reserves to be used for one large flower rather than many smaller ones.

*Plant annual flowers in tubs or large containers for the porch or terrace. Make sure there are holes in the container's bottom to provide good drainage.

*Remove foliage from spring bulbs after it turns yellow and begins to dry. Set out bedding plants to cover the bare spots using care not to damage the bulbs.

*Watch for and control blackspot and powdery mildew on rose foliage.

*Use bark mulch around young trees to protect them from lawn mower damage.

*Spring flowering shrubs such as spirea, viburnum, lilac and forsythia should be pruned as soon as they are done blooming.

*Mid to late June is an excellent time to take softwood cuttings of shrubs to start new plants. Some shrubs which can be propagated in this way are spirea, lilac and viburnum.

*When you buy nursery stock that is container grown, check the root ball and make sure it is not bound too tightly. A mass of circling roots will stay that way even after it is planted in the ground.

*If you do not have much room to landscape, consider using some of the many dwarf varieties available. These are plants that have slow growth and stay small, so there is little pruning maintenance. There are numerous dwarf evergreens, flowering trees and shrubs from which to choose.

*After your vegetable garden is well established, it is best to water it thoroughly once a week rather than giving it a light watering everyday. That way, a deeper root system is encouraged to develop, which will later help the plants tolerate dry weather.

*Keep a close eye on the quality of your spring crops. Hot weather causes lettuce to bolt and become bitter. Plant a warm season crop as soon as the spring vegetables are harvested.

*In most cases, blossom-end rot on tomatoes, peppers, squash and watermelons can be prevented. Do this by maintaining uniform soil moisture by mulching and watering correctly, planting in well drained soil and not cultivating deeper than one inch within one foot of the plant. Also avoid the use of high nitrogen fertilizers.

*Continue planting warm season vegetable crops such as beans, squash and cucumbers.

* The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering, when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils.

*Before pouring gasoline into the fuel tank of your lawn mower, garden tiller or other garden equipment, be sure to turn off the engine and allow it to cool for at least five minutes.

*Identify garden pests before you attempt to control them. If you decide to use chemical control, read the label carefully.

*Bats can be an effective way to control insects. One big brown bat can eat 3,000 to 7,000 insects each night. Attract bats by building and placing bat houses in your yard.

*Leftover vegetable and flower seeds may be stored in a cool dry location to be saved for planting next year.

*Start a gardening notebook. Pay special attention to those plants which withstand drought conditions.

*During the hot summer months, mulch can be especially useful for conserving water. For vegetable gardens, shredded leaves or grass clippings are good mulch material. For ornamentals, pine needles or wood bark do the best job.

*Weed removal is important for a number of reasons. It conserves moisture, conserves nutrients in the soil and helps prevent the spread of disease and insects.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office