Our weekly list of good things to do in the garden this week, from Susan Henry.
Stake peonies and delphinium while stems are still short. Fill in with new perennials.
Divide chrysanthemums. Pinch back growing tips when plants are 6 inches high and again when side branches are 6 inches long.
Continue pinching through July 15.
Scented geraniums can take a light frost. Marigolds, salvias, petunias and dusty millers can also get a head start if they are planted now. Look for volunteers surviving the winter and replant where you want them.
Vegetables and fruits
Begin a spray program for fruit trees with information from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Spray for â€œpetal fallâ€ when 75 percent to 90 perecent of petals have fallen. Espaliered or cordoned fruit trees are beautiful and useful in a small space. When purchasing fruit trees, be aware of their pollination needs. This information is available with the purchase of the tree.
Trees and shrubs
Deer-damaged plants will respond to extra care, including fertilizing, mulching and watering. Deer munching causes the visible shredding of the branches, which must be cut back to live wood. Prune rhododendrons, mountain laurel and other damaged plants 2 to 3 inches below chewed areas.
Twice a week mowing may be necessary while growth is lush.
To combat aphids, spider mites, scale and mealy bugs without chemicals, mix 1 to 3 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in 1 gallon of water. Fill a spray bottle and test a small portion of the affected plant. If no damage shows in a few days, spray the tops and undersides of the leaves.
Mosquitoes in the Lower Hudson Valley are more than a nuisance now; they may be a health hazard. Encourage bats to occupy your neighborhood with bat houses. They may be dwelling in your chimney or barn already and can eat about 600 mosquitoes in an hour. Fish and amphibians in garden pools will consume the larvae.