Mark Anderson, owner, Anderson’s Seed and Garden

I always know that summer has finally arrived when the cool, wet weather of spring transitions into the long, hot, dry days of summer — I think we are there. That transition heralds a host of jobs that need attention around the yard. You can ignore them, but they still need to get done at some point. You might as well get working on that “Summer Checklist:” 

  • Prevent weeds before they take over. This is always number one on my list. Shortly after planting my flowers and garden for the summer, I pull out the trusty pre-emergent to stop weeds as they germinate. Treflan Weed and Grass Stopper will do most of your weeding work for most of the summer. Apply it now to save hours (and hours!) of work later.

  • Spray fruit trees. Watch for Utah State University Extension’s notice that it is time to spray apples and pears for coddling moth— it’s usually right around June 1. No one likes worms in their apples (except the neighbor’s cow). Spray when the time is right for best results.

  • Repel insects before they eat the whole yard. Last year, we saw the biggest outbreak of grasshoppers I can ever remember. Fortunately, our yard escaped the invasion because we used Cedar Oil granules to drive them to our neighbor’s house. I still had to spray once or twice, but most homeowners sprayed weekly for multiple months. It really works.
  • Check the coverage and efficiency of your sprinklers. Most sprinklers run when you are either not awake or not at home. A wet sidewalk is not a good indicator that your sprinklers are doing their job. At least once a month, run your sprinklers through a cycle so you can see the coverage and adjust as needed. Apply 1-1 1/2 inches of water weekly in two or three applications for best results. To really decrease the amount of water you use to keep your lawn green, try a product like Hydretain — it can decrease your water usage by 30-50% with no visible side effects. It’s amazing.
  • Add some summer color. June and July are perfect months to add some perennial flowers that bloom during the summer. Perennials are low maintenance, easy to clean up and dead-head in the fall, and come back year after year. Some excellent summer bloomers include Chocoholic Snake Root, Salvia, Coneflower, and Indian Summer Rudbekia.
  • Recycle space in your garden. Cold crops usually produce in June and early July, and then they are done for the year. Yank them out as soon as they start to show signs of slowing down or heat stress and replace them with plants that are quick and love the heat of summer. We’ve planted beans and corn as late as July 25 to harvest a productive fall crop in September.
  • Give Iron-deficient plants the right kind of Iron. June is when Iron Chlorosis starts to show up in common plants we grow in Cache Valley: maples, spirea, roses, raspberries, burning bush, and others. EDDHA chelated iron works in our high soil pH and when nothing else works. It greens up the yellow leaves on some of our favorite plants quickly and effectively, and if you use it early enough on perennially deficient plants, you can keep them healthy before it happens.
  • Stop Blossom End Rot in tomatoes before it shows. Everyone loves to grow tomatoes — myself included, but every tomato grower despises seeing sunken brown spots on the bottom of their tomatoes. Blossom End Rot happens when calcium doesn’t move properly through the circulatory system of the plant and never reaches the furthest point it needs to go: the blossom end of the fruit. This problem is very common and easily corrected. Calcium Nitrate, applied twice to the plants shortly after planting and again a few weeks later, will completely prevent this pesky problem. Start early and prevent damage since damaged fruits cannot be corrected.

There is so much to do, but if you start on these important tasks early, they can make time for you later to enjoy all the things you want to do this summer — things like enjoying the lush lawn, eating a ripe tomato or a delicious apple from your orchard, or admiring the beautiful color in your flower garden.