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PRUNING & DEAD-HEADING

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June/July are the times to get your pruning and dead-heading done as pruning in the fall is generally looked down upon.

Most evergreens such as junipers, euonymus and aborvitae are cutback during the month of June but now is still better than later. Dead-heading is simply the act of cleaning up all of the dead debris such as the spent flowers on annuals and the long stalks and flowers of your spring and summer perennials. The faster these dead flowers are removed from your annuals, the quicker you will get more flowers. With your perennials, the removal of these over-the-hill blossoms and stems will help to create stronger and healthier plants for next year.

The middle of the growing season is a great time to sprinkle slow release, granule fertilizers around all of your outdoor garden plants. Look for the words "Garden Fertilizer" on the label. Bone meal is a safe, organic substitute fertilizer as well as any composted materials such as manure or mushroom compost. Michigan peat (that's the black peat) is also good for rejuvenating your garden soil which helps on the soil texture, but not so much for nutrients. Using a fast release fertilizer (the type that's powder mixed with water) gives your plants a quicker boost of food. Once every 6-8 weeks with the granules and every other week with the fast release fertilizers should do the job.

At the end of the season, cut up everything and compost it right in your vegetable garden. Spread it around, turn it under and add lime and granulated fertilizers-anything that you have left over. Even lawn fertilizers (as long as they do not contain weed control) and any of your raked leaves from the trees (DO NOT USE leaves from walnut trees). Try to turn the soil more than once during the fall and again in the spring. Be sure to cut up thick stems into small pieces. Of course, a roto-tiller would make life easier.

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Doug Hackbarth
About This Author
Doug's is the owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio.
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