Gardening Tips

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
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Flowers in Union County Teaching Gardens

Summer is here and the gardening is easy! Here are a few tips to help keep your garden in shape:

  • No need for a special tool, just use pliers to pull up woody seedlings and weeds. Grip the stem at the soil line, twist it around the pliers, and pull straight up. Watering deeply the day before pulling weeds makes the job easier.
  • Soil with a high pH can cause leaf yellowing (chlorosis) of some shade trees. If you suspect alkaline soil to be the cause of leaf yellowing on one of your trees, have a soil test done to determine soil pH. High soil pH limits the availability of micronutrients. You can pick up soil test kits at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Union County office or at any Union County Library.
  • Lace bugs feed on azaleas, rhododendron, pyracantha and other woody plants, causing a gray, blanched or stippled appearance on the upper surface of the leaves. Take steps to control them as soon as you notice the damage.
  • Plants wilt from a lack of oxygen as well as a lack of water. When the soil is compacted, the plant’s tender feeder roots and root hairs suffocate. The problem is compounded when the well-meaning gardener assumes that the wilting is a sign of water stress and immediately irrigates. Well-aerated soil, enriched with organic matter, allows both air and water to circulate freely about the root system for a vigorous plant.
  • Make sure that newly planted trees and shrubs receive a thorough soaking each week if rainfall is insufficient. Soak the ground, do not sprinkle it lightly. Apply organic mulch to conserve moisture.
  • When dead or damaged branches are found on shrubs or trees, prune them out immediately.

Join the Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Union County at their Teaching Garden at the Union County Agriculture Center for Ask a Master Gardener and a mini plant sale in celebration of Pollinator Week earlier this month. 9 a.m. is the start time.