Before we get into the dreaded to-do list, keep in mind there a some things you can actually slack-off on for the better.
Generally, most pruning on trees and shrubs should be done during the dormant months from late October through February. You want to avoid making making cuts during the time of year when pests and diseases are active, this is especially true for oaks and birches. If you want to prune your spring flowering shrubs in order to ensure they will put on blooms next year, it is best to prune right after blooming. It is a bit passed the the window of opportunity for those so wait until next year.
Research shows that the best times to fertilize trees and shrubs is in the fall after the first killing frost or in the spring once the leaves have flushed out and are just fully grown. It is not advised to fertilize a drought stressed plant, so during these hot and dry months, it is better to back off. Do not apply slow release fertilizer this time of year. Remember that you want to avoid flushing out new growth in late summer or early fall because those tissues will not be able to properly harden off before the cold temperatures arrive. That being stated we DO recommend applying a root-stimulating fertilizer with a new planting. These fertilizers are low in nitrogen and will not stimulate too much top growth before the roots catch up.
Yes, you may still plant trees and shrubs this time of year, just remember you must be diligent with your watering schedule.
It's hot, sunny and rain showers are few and far between so pour it on. Newly planted trees and shrubs will need water 2 to 3 times a week. Make sure you are soaking not only the root ball but the surrounding soil to encourage roots to grow down and out. Avoid putting small amounts of water on every day. Try to space out your waterings a little, but water deeply when you do. Any trees or shrubs planted within the past few years will also benefit from occasional watering as well, during these dry months.
3) Pest Control
Now is the time to be scouting for things like Japanese beetles, spider mites and scale. We recommend looking for systemic insecticides that you can water-in, instead of a foliar spray that needs heavy reapplication. Also, take stock of how your foliage looks. Seeing spots? It may be a symptom of a fungal or bacterial disease. Depending on the disease, it may be ineffective to apply fungicides or pesticides at this time. Usually you need to apply those in the spring during budbreak and in the following weeks after budbreak. What you can do now is make a note of the symptoms so that in the spring you can be prepared for whatever control method is necessary. What you can do now to prevent further spread of the disease, is remove any dead leaf litter promptly.
Keep up with pulling weeds and add mulch if you haven't already done so. You'll be amazed at how much it will spruce up your yard. Add bedlines or install edging. Make an evaluation of what you like, what you don't like in your yard and what you would like to see for the future.
Finally, stop out to our farm. Our talented staff would love to help you out with your summer planting selections.