Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

New England

June, 2004
Regional Report

Prune Shrubby Perennials

Cut back shrubby perennials, such as catmint and dianthus, when they finish with their first flush of bloom. This will tidy them up and encourage them to produce a second flush of flowers.

Prune Tomato Suckers

Indeterminate tomato plants, such as 'Better Boy', will produce many suckers. A sucker is a new shoot that starts where a branch connects with the main trunk. Removing suckers will decrease the number of fruits produced, but the remaining tomatoes will be larger and will ripen sooner.

Control Japanese Beetles

Japanese beetles are out in full force, feeding on roses, grapes, beans, and many other plants. Control them by handpicking early in the morning or in the evening when they are sluggish, spray beneficial nematodes on lawns to control the young grub stage of the beetle, and spray plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Control Apple Maggots

Apple maggot adults are laying eggs on developing apple fruits. Place red, sticky spheres (available from nurseries) in trees to fool the adults into landing on these "fake apples" and dying. Place four spheres per dwarf tree, and check them every few days to clean off the moths.

Prevent Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot shows up as dark, sunken spots on the blossom, or non-stem, end of tomatoes, peppers, and squash. It's caused by a calcium imbalance in the plant -- the soil may have adequate calcium, but the plant isn't able to take up enough to supply the rapidly developing fruit. To minimize the problem, keep soil evenly moist, apply a layer of mulch to conserve moisture, don't over-fertilize (especially avoid high-nitrogen fertilizer), and avoid damaging plant roots while cultivating.


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