Your Monthly Garden Chores for May and June
From annuals to citrus trees, here's everything to keep an eye on
Divide and replant daylilies. To extend your season of blooms, buy (or swap with friends) to get a mix of early, mid-season and late-blooming varieties.
Fertilize citrus trees.
Replace cool-season annuals (pansies, snapdragons, etc.) with salvia, marigolds, torenia and other annuals that can take the heat.
Plant sweet potatoes, melons and lima beans. Sow seeds for okra, Swiss chard and roselle, also known as Jamaican sorrel and Florida cranberry.
Check the trees on your property to prepare for hurricane season. Consult a trained arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, who can tell you whether your trees pose any danger to you or your home, and what steps need to be taken, such as pruning, limb removal or tree removal.
Prune azaleas, if you haven’t already done so, through early July. After that, you risk removing flower buds for next spring’s bloom.
Critter: Slugs and snails
Snails and slugs are gastropod mollusks, with snails having a visible shell. Some slugs have shells, but they tend to be quite small or even internal.
The vast majority of both slugs and snails live in the water. Our terrestrial garden snails prefer hot, humid and shady environments.
Both are nocturnal and will munch on your plants, leaving irregular holes in foliage and flowers. The damage resembles that done by other garden pests, such as beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars, so it’s important to be sure what’s causing the problem before deciding on a solution. Look for the telltale “slime” trails left by slugs or snail shells to confirm their presence.
Commercial concoctions are available, but they are quite toxic and pose a threat to pets and wildlife.
Use plant debris and boards to “bait” the invaders, collecting them by hand the next morning and disposing of them in a sealed plastic bag.
Deterrents with cinnamon oil as the active ingredient have proven effective.
Also, copper hydroxide used to control fungi and bacteria have been effective in reducing snail and slug activity, even though it is not labeled for that specific use.
Personally, I put a small bowl in the garden soil so the lip is at the soil level and fill it halfway with cheap beer. The snails and slugs fall in but can’t get out, so they drown.