Enjoy Mild June Days While Planting & Pruning in the Garden

Longer daylight hours and typically cool June weather means this month is the ideal time to plant, prune and make changes in the yard.

Plant Perennials for Summer Flowers: Pick up several of these easy-care perennials are at your local nursery and plant them in June: Spanish lavender, Echinacea, salvia, yarrow and California native iris. All love summer heat and full sun and once planted, they'll continue to bloom through most of fall.

Annuals Add Summer Color Too: Some flowers only bloom in summer and then they're gone for the year. For great splashes of summer color, add these plants to your garden: wax begonias, zinnias, nasturtiums, petunias, marigolds and snapdragons. Because they are temporary, all require little or no maintenance.

Add Succulents To Your Landscape: Succulents provide an interesting contrast to typical garden plants and shrubs. True to their desert origin, they require little watering. Easy-to-care-for succulents include jade plants, blue senecio and agave and aloe varieties. Don't forget colorful and interestingly shaped cactus.

Start A Container Garden: For those without a lot of space for an in-ground flower garden, container gardens provide a beautiful alternative. Start with a well-draining large pot and the right soil. The larger the pot, the less chance your plants will dry out. Place a coffee filter under the drain hole so only water, not soil, runs out. Use an organic potting soil mix especially designed for containers. Just about any flower will work well in a container. Choose flowers based on how much sunlight the container location will receive.

Revamp Your Landscape: While the weather is still mild, now is the time to remove poor performing plants or shrubs. Consider reducing or removing your lawn. Replace your current landscape with native, drought-tolerant plants and ornamental rocks. There are plenty of do-it-your-self plans and design ideas available online.

Check Your Irrigation System: Since you will be watering more in the coming months, check your irrigation system for any line breaks. A drip irrigation system makes the best use of water since water is applied slowly allowing it to reach deep into even the most densely packed soil. A drip system is also more efficient than an overhead spray system because there is no evaporation or runoff.

Protect Fruit From Birds: If birds feast on the fruit in your trees, place bird netting on the top of trees or add brightly colored streamers in the branches to keep the birds away.

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Typical June Gloom Provides Ideal Conditions For Garden Growth

June in southern California usually means overcast mornings that transforms into mild sunny afternoons making it an ideal month to spend time in the garden before summer heat takes hold.

Thin Out Fruit Trees: By June, trees should be bursting with small fruit such as apricots, plums and peaches. The weaker fruit will start to drop this month. Don't be alarmed. In fact, after the initial shedding, remove the smallest of the remaining. This will allow the hardiest of fruit to reach their full potential.

Deadhead Flowering Plants And Bushes: Your rose and other flowering plants should be in full bloom by now. Remove older flowers to make way for new ones. Trim wayward branches and stems to encourage better density within the center of the plant.

Control Aphids: Everything springs to life in June-including bad bugs such as the tiny aphid. These bugs latch onto plants and suck the sap from new growth. When the infestation is significant, they can curl leaves and stunt plant growth. Tips: Remove stems with the largest aphid concentration and then shoot a strong stream of water at the aphids to knock off the remaining.

Plant Avocado Trees: Plant your avocado trees in well-draining, loose soil, level or a little above level to the ground. Place 5 inches of wood chips around the tree. Don't over water even with a young tree. Let the soil around the tree become somewhat dry before watering. Never let it pool around the trunk. Flowers will bloom next spring, but don't expect fruit until two to three years after planting.

Be Water Smart: With dry, hot weather on the horizon, replace water-loving trees and shrubs with those that require little water once established. A water-efficient landscape can include such drought-tolerant trees and shrubs as bougainvillea, California sycamore, California wax myrtle, acacia, manzanita, Catalina cherry or western redbud (with its magenta flowers).

Lawn Care: Spring and fall are ideal times for patching or replacing lawns. Grass types that are best suited for southern California include Fescue (absorbs water well), Bermuda (drought resistant) and St. Augustine (durable). Proper soil preparation with the correct compost mix (based on soil type) is crucial to lawn success. Once established, add a layer of top dressing especially designed for lawns.

Work Fast. Still Time to Plant Vegetables: For a summer harvest, plant tomatoes, squash, cantaloupe, celery, corn, cucumbers, lima beans, okra, peppers, spinach and squash in early June.

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