Gardening | 30 May 2016Summer Care for Shrubs and Trees Share article facebook twitter google pinterest The colorful blooms, blossoms, sprouts, and sprigs of summer are often the belles of the garden ball, and we sometimes overlook the tried-and-true shrubs and trees that have hung around all winter, waiting for their moment in the sun. If you were temporarily star-struck by your flowers and veggies (and you forgot about year-round care of your shrubs and trees), don’t worry: Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener, authors of Georgia Month-by-Month Gardening, have quick tips for making sure all the flora of your garden are well cared for this summer. Georgia Month-by-Month Gardening Shrubs Summer can arrive quickly. Keep new plantings well watered. Don’t wait until plants look wilted before you water; check them once a week. If the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry to the touch, it is time to water. When you water, do so thoroughly once or twice a week rather than a little every day. This will help your shrubs develop strong, deep roots. If you use a hose, place it near the center of the shrub and let a small stream of water soak in for at least a half hour. If you use a sprinkler, place some shallow tuna fish or cat food cans around the plants, and water until the cans are ¾-inch full. Boxwood Established shrubs benefit from supplemental water during periods of drought. Place the hose at soil level near the center of the plant, and saturate the root area. Mulch new plantings with a 2- to 3-inch layer. Keep mulch away from the main stems; when it is piled up around stems it can create an environment that is attractive to insects and pests. Butterfly bush Good cultural practices will help reduce pest and disease problems for shrubs: Clean up any leaf litter that accumulates under or around shrubs. Destroy infected leaves to prevent the spread of diseases. Keep shrubs watered and mulched. Keep weeds out of shrub beds. You can add groundcovers under your shrubs and trees to help keep roots cool as well as add interest to the garden. Examine your shrubs for signs of damage by insects or disease. If you have Japanese beetles in small numbers, try handpicking them and drowning them in soapy water. This is best done in the early morning when they are less active. If infestations are severe, you may want to consider using an insecticide. Check shrubs for signs of aphids or spider mites. Use insecticidal soaps to control these pest problems before resorting to chemical controls. Spray early in the day before temperatures are too hot. When you spray, be sure to cover both the tops and undersides of the leaves and the stems; spray to the point where it drips off the plant. Japanese maple tree Trees The summer months can be stressful for plants and people. If you don’t have an irrigation system, soaker hoses are one way to water your plants thoroughly. Sprinklers are also an option, but make sure you get uniform coverage. Water newly planted trees once a week unless you get 1 or more inches of rain. Japanese maples with finely divided leaves are quite susceptible to moisture stress during the heat of the summer. The first sign of stress is browning and scorching of the leaves. When planting, consider that Japanese maples prefer a location where they will receive light shade during the hottest part of the day. Spread a 2-inch layer of pine bark mulch under Japanese maple trees to help conserve moisture. Water trees weekly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Crabapple tree. Georgia Month-by-Month Gardening Trees are also weakened by a low soil pH. Raise the pH quickly by dissolving 1 pound of hydrated lime in 5 gallons of water. Sprinkle on the soil under the tree branches. Maintain the pH by scattering 1 pound of garden lime per inch of trunk diameter evenly under the branches of the tree. Wait one year, then have the soil tested to determine if additional lime is needed. Hand-pull weeds that are right next to tree trunks. A nonselective weedkiller can be used under and around trees if you make sure not to spray it on foliage, bark, or exposed roots. Most diseases are detected with your eyes. Oak trees, however, sometimes contract a disease that is perceived with your nose. Sap dripping down the trunk of an oak, a few feet from the ground, may indicate a slime flux infection. Also called “wet wood,” slime flux is caused by fermentation of the sap under the tree’s bark. The oozing sap may smell like vinegar or beer. Wasps, bees, and butterflies are drawn to the smell. Wash the ooze and slime off the trunk to prevent bark damage. Water the tree regularly during the summer to help it fight off the infection internally. Georgia Month-by-Month Gardening A silvery sheen on dogwood leaves usually signifies the presence of a fungus called powdery mildew. The fungus sucks moisture from the leaves and causes them to yellow and fall prematurely. It can be prevented by spraying leaves with a fungicide in early May and continuing through mid-June. Fungicide applied now will not cure the infected leaves. Once you see the fungus on the leaves, all that can be done is to protect new leaves. If the infection is severe, the dogwood may lose up to half its leaves in July. Water infected trees regularly to help them withstand moisture stress. Crapemyrtle leaves may be covered with grayish white powder, which indicates they are affected by powdery mildew. Spray leaves with a synthetic fungicide before plants bloom. Neem oil may be helpful in minimizing symptoms. The National Arboretum developed mildew-resistant hybrid crapemyrtles by crossing Lagerstroemia indica with L. fauriei (native to Japan, L. fauriei has beautiful bark, is cold hardy, and exhibits a high resistance to powdery mildew). Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Georgia Month-by-Month Gardening: The when-to and how-to schedule for growing, caring for, and maintaining your Peach State garden! Never garden alone! The Month-By-Month Gardening series is the perfect companion to take the guesswork out of gardening. With this book, you’ll know what to do each month to have gardening success all year, from January to December. It’s full of the when-to and how-tos of gardening along with richly illustrated step-by-step instructions, so you can garden with confidence. Reap the benefits of the gardening “mistakes” and successes of co-authors Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener, who have over thirty-five years of gardening experience between them! With a fresh look and updated information, Georgia Month-by-Month Gardening includes all the when-to and how-to information that has made these books so popular over the years, presented in a new, easier-to-use format with more full-color photography and the most current information available. Complete with specific advice on growing flowers (both annuals and perennials), bulbs, grasses (both lawn and ornamental), roses, groundcovers, shrubs, trees, and vines, this book is one no garden lover will want to miss! In the winter, certain tasks are needed to plan for and improve the next growing season. And once things really start growing in the spring and summer, you’ll find advice on the best way to get the most beautiful flowers, the lushest lawns, and the sturdiest trees. From planting to watering and fertilizing, and maintenance to problem solving, Georgia Month-by-Month Gardening shows all levels of gardeners the best practices to grow satisfying and rewarding results. Walter Reeves is known as “The Georgia Gardener.” He is the award-winning host of the very popular Georgia radio program “The Lawn and Garden Show with Walter Reeves.” He is an easygoing, instantly likeable, funny guy who has an immense knowledge of plants and gardening. As a Georgia Extension agent (now retired after twenty-five years of service), Walter gained an enormous in-depth knowledge of plants, plant culture, and plant problems as he helped educate the public about plants. Walter is the original co-author of the Georgia Getting Started Garden Guide (Cool Springs Press) as well as the co-author of Month-by-Month Gardening in Georgia (also for Cool Springs Press). Erica Glasener is a horticulturist, author, lecturer, and award-winning host of HGTV’s A Gardener’s Diary for fourteen years. As host of this popular TV show, Erica introduced her audience to gardeners, horticulture professionals, specialty plant growers, landscape architects, and more from across the country. In 2011, she received a Garden Media Award from the Perennial Plant Association for her promotion of perennials through writing and lectures. Currently Erica provides online content for the Southern Living Plant Collection and for Fiskars, where she is a garden expert. She also writes a bimonthly blog for Gibbs Gardens, located in Ball Ground, Georgia. Erica is the original co-author of the Georgia Getting Started Garden Guide (Cool Springs Press). Visit Erica’s website: http://www.ericaglasener.com Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.