Perennials: Deadhead roses; prune climbing roses after bloom. Fertilize hybrid teas. Deadhead yarrows and perennial salvias to lateral buds for repeat flowering. Pinch back culinary herbs frequently to prevent flowering. Continue thinning phlox. They will grow again and flower later.
Flowers: Pinch back leggy petunias to induce flowering. Keep all annuals deadheaded as flowers fade. Cut flowers last longer if they are cut early in the morning. Carry a bucket of warm water and dunk the cut right away. One tablespoon of chlorine bleach for each quart of water in a container will extend the life of the cut flower.
Vegetables and fruits: Mulch vegetables if not done already. Continue replanting row vegetables, first improving the depleted soil with compost and rotate the crops. Keep the soil moist for the germinating seeds. After harvesting the last asparagus, apply a good dose of manure to the bed. Fertilize rhubarb now with well rotted manure.. Do not walk or work among bean plants when they are wet to avoid spreading disease. Thin carrots when they reach finger size and steam the little ones with a bit of butter. Beets also make a delicious pre-season vegetable using the whole plant for a healthy dish.
Trees and shrubs: Finish deadheading rhododendrons by carefully pinching off old flowers. Finish pruning lilacs. Examine the undersides of andromeda and azalea leaves for lacebug presence and treat immediately with a recommended insecticide. Prepare to take softwood cuttings with supplies to have on hand: sharp sterilized knife, potting soil in clean sterilized pots, potting soil, hormone powder and plastic or clay pots.
Lawns: There has been ample moisture for the lawns. Make sure the wet grass clippings are not matting down the grass and causing rot.
Houseplants: Strong sunlight can burn the foliage of houseplants inside or out.
General: The cool spring weather and ample moisture have produced spectacular blooms on the spring flowering shrubs and bulbs — a pleasure to behold all over the Hudson Valley.
Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester