Seven gardening activities for June

1. Water. Early morning is the best time… otherwise most of the irrigation water evaporates. Deep soaking is best because it gives the plant a greater reservoir to draw from.

2. Native tree care. This month generally turns out to be pretty hot and dry. Remember your trees are going to be thirsty too. A small amount of rain does little to carry moisture deep into the soil.

3. Mulch. This will cool the roots and slow the water loss from evaporation. Mixing your mulch 50:50 (bag-for-bag) with compost, will add nutrition and relieve stress.

4. Slow release fertilizers. When feeding flowerbeds and turf, be sure to use an organic-based, slow-release fertilizer. You will avoid burning plant roots in the summer heat and will have little impact on our watershed. Foliar sprays with seaweed will also help reduce heat stress.

5. Care for your roses.  The first flush of your spring roses has finished. The flowering ends of the rose stems have probably formed hips (seed pods). Cut them off and there will be a new round of flowering. Also, give them some rose food. Examine them for any sign of insects, especially spidermites, and treat with horticultural oil (Sunspray or All Seasons) or Spinosad.

6. Mow high. Cut your grass as high as you can stand. Longer grass blades will help shade the turf and conserve water. Leave clippings on the lawn.

7. Add summer color. This is the right time to plant heat-loving summer color in those empty spaces. Planting in the morning and evening is best. For summer color, zinnias, purslane, moss rose, and vinca seem to be the hardiest. Make sure they get enough water when they are establishing themselves.  Happy gardening everyone! `

If you have a question for Chris, send it via email to  Or mail a postcard to It’s About Thyme: 11726 Manchaca Road, Austin, TX 78748

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