University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Summer News Article

MOVING SPRING BULBS AND OTHER JUNE GARDENING TIPS

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

Moving spring-flowering bulbs, dividing ornamental grasses, and supporting tall plants are some of the gardening tips for this month.

If you want to move some spring-blooming bulbs to another spot, wait until the foliage has turned yellow, then carefully dig them up and let them dry in a shady spot for a few days. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place for the summer until it's time to plant them in fall.

Spring bulbs need their foliage to produce food for the bulbs for next year, so let it die back naturally.  If you want to speed this process up, you can bend the leaves of daffodils over and hold with rubber bands.  Keep in mind that tulips, unless planted quite deep or noted as “perennial”, are generally grown as annuals.  You can remove them to make room for annual bedding plants, and then more tulips next fall.

Support plants that tend to flop over now, while they're still small. Use wire rings and supports, cages, or make your own by placing sturdy branches in the ground in a ring around the plant. Then loop twine from stake to stake to encircle the plant. Or you can wrap the twine around each stake and the one across from it, to make a criss-cross pattern
for the plant stems to grow through.

If you've had trouble with lily leaf beetles in years past, be on the lookout. Unfortunately for them, their bright red color makes them easy to spot, and they can be treated with a non-toxic, neem-based insecticide. Don't let them get the upper hand or they'll be difficult to eradicate.

Use clay or metal "plant feet" underneath large containers to help with drainage and to keep pots from staining wood decks and steps. For heavy indoor plants that you summer outdoors, use plant trivets with four casters to make transporting them less backbreaking. When placing indoor plants outside, don’t put directly into full sun or the foliage will likely get sunburn.

If large clumps of ornamental grasses such as maiden grass have hollow centers, this is a sign they need dividing for best growth.  Large clumps can have massive roots and be quite heavy, so we find it easier to just divide pieces off the sides rather than to lift the whole clump.  A square-tipped spade works best for this.  You may even need to get such divisions started with a hatchet!

Other gardening tips for this month include keeping new plantings well-watered, fertilizing lawns, and mowing lawns regularly but not too low and not when wet.  Visit the National Gardening Association’s web site (www.garden.org) for more information on gardening and regional reports.


Return to Perry's Perennial Pages, Articles