* Tall fall bloomers such as chrysanthemums, swamp sunflowers, and phlox can be cut back by about one half now to reduce their fall height and make them fuller.
* Use pliers to pull up tree seedlings after a rain when soil is moist. Grip the stem at the soil line; twist and pull straight up. Watering deeply the day before pulling weeds will make the job easier.
* Climbing roses don’t really climb — they have long canes that require support. You will need to loosely tie the canes to trellises with broad strips of material or foam covered twine. Do not use wire as it can damage the cane.
* Take stem cuttings of woodies and perennials now.
* Miniature roses can be propagated from stem cuttings. Take cuttings with 4 leaves and insert them into pots filled with moist potting soil. Rooting hormone is optional. Place whole pot in a perforated plastic bag and place in a shady spot; water as needed. By autumn, cuttings should be rooted.
* Control black spot and powdery mildew on rose foliage.
* Fertilize your roses at monthly intervals with either granular or liquid fertilizer. Inspect plants frequently for pests such as spider mites, aphids and Japanese beetles.
* Leaf miner larvae tunnel inside leaves, leaving whitish trails as they move about. Holly, boxwood and locust are particularly susceptible to damage.
* Disinfect pruners between cuts when removing diseased tissue from plants. UGA recommends a one in ten solution of bleach and water, but it can be cumbersome to carry a bucket of this mix about in the garden, and the solution is corrosive and must be rinsed from tools after use. Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle also works. When spraying tools, spray over a trash can so you don’t kill or injure grass or plants.
* Now is the time to prune azaleas and rhododendrons before they set next year’s flower buds.
* Divide and transplant iris now so they will have a long growing season and a better chance of blooming next year. Cut off and discard the older part of the rhizome that does not have white fleshy roots. Cut the leaves back to 6 inches so they don’t blow over.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
* Strawberries picked early in the day keep best. Do not wash or stem berries until ready to use. Store berries in covered containers in the refrigerator.
* Set young melons and cantaloupes atop tin cans — they’ll ripen faster, be sweeter and have less insect damage than those left on the ground.
* Yellow crook-neck squash tastes best when 4 to 7 inches long. Pick when pale yellow (rather than golden) and before skin hardens. Scalloped (patty pan) squash is best when grayish or greenish white (before it turns ivory white) and is still small, even silver-dollar size.
* Remove cucumbers by turning fruits parallel to the vine and giving a quick snap. This prevents vine damage and results in a clean break. If you have trouble mastering this, take a sharp knife to the garden. Cut or pull cucumbers, leaving a short stem on each.
* Stop cutting asparagus in mid to late June when spears become thin. After the last cutting is made, fertilize by broadcasting a 10-10-10 formula at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet. Allow the tops to grow during the summer to store food in the roots for the crop next spring.
* Avoid side dressing tomatoes, eggplants and peppers with fertilizer until they have set their first fruit.
* Corn needs water at two crucial times: when the tassels at the top are beginning to show and when the silk is beginning to show on the ear. If weather is dry at these times, you will need to water the corn.
* If weed plants are mature, weed early in the morning when moisture is present to prevent the seed heads from shattering and dropping weed seeds in the garden.
Hold as much of the seed heads in your hand and do not shake off extra soil as it may scatter weed seeds.
* To protect bees that pollinate many of our crop plants, spray pesticides in the evening after bees have returned to their homes.
* The best time to harvest most herbs is just before flowering when the leaves contain the maximum essential oils. Cut herbs early on a sunny day. Herbs are best if watered the day before to wash off the foliage.
* Using milky spore disease (Bacillus popilliae) to control Japanese beetles is most effective in neighborhoods where most residents use it. Otherwise, Japanese beetle larvae hatching in other yards will re-infest yours.
* June is a great time to clean out the greenhouse. Discard dead or diseased plants and old potting soil. Good sanitation is necessary to control greenhouse pests.
* If you keep your houseplants indoors all summer, keep them out of the draft of the air conditioner. Plants react to air conditioners cool air in various ways. Some drop their leaves, others don’t bloom well and some fail to bloom at all.
Information about Extension Solutions for Homes and Gardens can be found on the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension website at www.caes.uga.edu/extension/cherokee or by contacting the Cherokee County Extension Office at 100 North St., Suite G21 in Canton at (770) 479-0418. The Georgia Extension Master Gardener Program is a volunteer training program offered through county offices of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.