University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Summer News Article


Charlie Nardozzi, Senior Horticulturist
National Gardening Association, and
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont

Proper cutting of roses, pruning strawberry runners, and washing produce are some of the gardening tips for this month.

Any fertilizer you've applied to annuals in containers has probably washed out of the soil in rain, so give them another dose. Clip off spent blooms and cut some stems way back to encourage lots of new growth. Do this every couple of weeks.

If you come home to a dried-out container planting, don't despair. Some plants will wilt dramatically, but come back once moistened. If the water you add from the top pours right through, place the entire container in a saucer or tray of water and let the water soak into the soil from below. If it's still hot and sunny out, place the plant in a shady, cool spot for a few days. Remove damaged foliage and see if it develops new growth.

Just like spring-flowering bulbs, lilies need their foliage to make food for next year's flowers. Unlike spring bulbs, the flowers bloom on the same stems as the leaves. So when you cut lily flowers, don't cut long stems and remove too many leaves.

Cut the shortest stems possible when cutting rose flowers because the more foliage you leave on the plant, the better for photosynthesis, and the faster it will rebloom. Experts now recommend cutting above a 3-leaflet leaf instead of lower down the stem at a 5-leaflet leaf.

Avoid pruning other woody plants after early July, as this will just stimulate new growth that may not harden properly before winter. Spring is the best time to prune most fruit trees and woody ornamental trees and shrubs. Likewise, avoid fertilizing these plants after early July.

Strawberry plants are in very active growth these days, and new runners will proliferate. Remove runners to keep plants spaced according to the method you're using so plants will put their energy into producing future fruit instead of new runners. Left alone, a bed will turn into a mass of foliage and few berries.

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, and other fresh, very perishable fruit should be kept refrigerated and not washed until serving time. Green vegetables, however, such as broccoli, peas, and beans, as well as beets and carrots, should be washed before storing in the refrigerator.

If you haven't thinned beets and carrots yet, it's time. Even if you've thinned once, take another look because these crops need space for their roots to fill out. If you have the space, sow seed for later crops, covering at least the carrot seed with fine-textured soil. Don't let the soil dry out.

To help your tomato plants direct all their energy into growing the fruit that's already set, prune off some of the vines that contain flowers but no young fruit. Pinch off suckers growing from where the branches connect to the main stem (the leaf axils). Keep moisture levels even to prevent blossom end rot. Renew mulch if necessary.

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