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For additional flowering, deadheading some of your favorite flowers now may force them to bloom again in the fall. Light pruning may be performed for most landscape plants except those you expect to have blooms from next spring such as azaleas. Storm damaged tissue may make it necessary to make heavier pruning cuts than normal to repair broken, leaning or dangerous limbs.
If you have Red Tip Photinia, now would be a good time to cut them back to have beautiful red foliage throughout the winter months. Warning! Red Tip Photinia can cause a major ornamental plant fungal disease problem in the landscape because they are highly susceptible to Entomosporium Leaf Spot, which is very difficult to control. I would not encourage anyone to go out and buy one just because I have referenced it as a plant to prune back now. If you like the red, new growth, try Cleyera instead.
Late July and August is often the hottest and most humid months for growing plants. Extra care must be provided for young establishing plants due to the abundant and constant pressure of insect, disease and weed competition. Air quality may be poor and plants may show signs of ozone injury. Treat fungal diseases with fungicides as needed and continue to monitor plant growth to prevent devastating losses.
Insect populations may build up to threshold levels and wise use of pesticides may be necessary to control aphids, spider mites, scales and whiteflies found in the landscape. Sycamores will start an early fall color change from damage they suffer from lacebug attack. Spray controls for this pest are not practical and the leaves will be falling next month anyway.
For most trees, spray control of pests must be judged with how many more weeks of beauty you expect out of the tree versus the eventual loss of leaves in the fall. Practice sanitation to remove infected plant material so the problem will not be as bad next year. Azalea caterpillars and fall webworms make their appearance now–treat with orthene, sevin or malathion.
Crape Myrtle Aphid Alert
Yes, they are out there in abundance. As we were deadheading the crape myrtles this week to force a second bloom, we found many bees working not the flowers, but the leaves. The leaves are starting to turn black from the sticky honeydew secreted by the aphids, which in turn provides a good host for the black sooty mold. Control the aphids and you will control the bees, sooty mold, etc. Treat with orthene, sevin or malathion.
Fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs in the landscape. Look around now and analyze your site to see if you can enhance your landscape with a few more plants or you may want to consider renovating your landscape this fall. Now is the time to put your ideas on paper and start lining up the plants you will need later. Have you thought about a fall garden?
Regular weeding and watering of lawns, flowers, and vegetable gardens will keep them producing all summer. Mulch beds to maintain even moisture and keep weeds down. Leaf spot on tomatoes can be treated with an insecticidal spray; follow label directions. Good cleanup of all infected leaves, branches and plant stubble from gardens can prevent the spread of diseases in your gardens.