Landscaping Newsletter and Garden Tips 
June, 2014     Volume 120

 During this past spring, I was starting to get worried.  I didn't know if summer would ever arrive.

Cooler weather and lots of rain made this spring a fairly unpleasant season.  It sure was pretty, though.

Here's a flowering cherry tree that bloomed in early May.  Weren't the colors beautiful this year?

Then, it finally got warmer.  Now, summer is here and I couldn't be happier.
Melissa and I have a busy summer planned.  Well, of course we'll need to work...

But, otherwise, we hope to spend some time in Ocean City at our beloved little camper trailer. 

We actually own two trailers, side by side in OC.  The second trailer is small, but completely refurbished as of last year.  It's available as a rental  at very reasonable rates.

Here I am last summer, doing an inspection at our rental property .  This trailer is right next door to my own residence. 
I keep a careful eye on everything.

Here's a view of our galley kitchen.  It's small,
but clean and fully equipped.

This unit sleeps two comfortably, but also has a futon for a third person.  We make sure to keep things really quiet since we live next door.

This is the favorite spot of most of our guests.  It's a big screened-in porch with lots of sitting space. 

If you're interested in a short term rental (a week or less) give me a call.  We have a few openings left this season.

Thanks for looking!  Back to landscaping news...

June Garden Tips

*  If you're taking the leap and adding roses to your landscaping this year, be sure to select the right location.  Roses like full sun and good air circulation.  Roses do best in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.  Add plenty of organic matter such as  compost to the soil.  It's generally suggested that you allow about three feet between rosebushes.

Late spring roses grow next to beautiful bearded iris plants.

Garden Tip of the Month
*  Stake your tall perennials!  Tomato plants too.  Be sure to do so now, before it's too late and their growth gets out of hand. 
For stalks like delphiniums, place bamboo stakes next to stalks and tie gently with twine.  Or you may enclose the whole plant with twine strung between stakes. 
Another (maybe better) way is to use six-foot stakes--pipes, metal, or solid iron, driven two feet into the ground.  Metal stakes like rebar are heavy duty, last for years, and won't rot as wood does. 
Large clumps of perennials can be enclosed in a wire cage held in place with stakes.  It's not as pretty, but those cages work well, especially for larger plants.  And, I wouldn't use anything else for my tomatoes.

We went to Utube for information about staking plants.  You can even watch a brief video about how to tie up the plant without cutting it.  

*  Prune spring flowering shrubs such as lilacs and bridal wreath spirea right after they finish blooming to avoid removing next year's flower buds. Older stems can be removed all the way to the ground.  Then, plants can be lightly shaped by cutting the longest branches part way back with a pruning shears.  This results in shrubs with a more natural look that will stay dense in the middle and bloom well again next year. 

*  And the same type of advice goes for blooming flowers and even herbs.  Pinch back selected summer and fall blooming flowers for lots of good reasons.  It makes them more compact and it reduces the need for staking.  Pinching off buds generally also extends the blooming season.
Simply prune each stem by about 1/3 to its total length sometime in early June.  Make sure to cut the stems just above where a leaf enters the stem. 
As a result the plant will not grow as tall and it will have more flowers.  Pinching usually delays bloom by 1 to 2 weeks, BUT you will still get the same length of bloom, only later into the season.

I love this picture of how to pinch back basil, my favorite herb.  The same principal works for flowers also.

This technique helps extend summer just a little longer.  And, after this past winter, we all need more summer.
The Latest News about Ticks...

We've been treating many, many properties for ticks already this year.  I've heard about a lot of tick related problems lately. 

As I was writing this issue, a woman from Chestertown called me.  She has three children who have had Lyme's Disease.  I think that's a record for any family.

Reports from fellow outdoor contractors tell me the same thing.  Their staff and mine report heavy tick activity this year. 

And quite frankly, we're all a little surprised.  The extreme cold temperatures of this past winter should have caused the tick population to die back more than we're seeing locally.

As far as I'm concerned, the premier source of information about ticks comes from the University of Rhode Island.  They maintain a national data base of tick bites and types of ticks that are seasonally active.

"The changing face as the deer tick engorges." 
We found this picture online.  Look at the difference. 

And, look at this phenomenal shot. 
"Clockwise from top: female, male, larval, nymph"
Wonder who placed those ticks on that dime?

This website encourages you to report all bites so that they can monitor frequency.  They encourage you to send a picture, if at all possible.  That way, they can identify the type of tick and add it to their records.

The website is tickencounter.org.  Today's tip is "Don't forget to treat your shoes."  They recommend spraying a product containing a high concentration of Deet in your shoes to prevent bites on your feet. 

I have personal size spray bottles, containing 97% Deet, available for $8.00 each.  It's extremely effective and I use it myself almost every day.  I've been hospitalized twice in recent years for tick related illness.  I don't want to go through that again.

Our tick repellent service is one of the most successful in the area.  We offer a tailored approach of protection for each property.  Our arsenal includes a barrier spray, Damminix tubes, deer repellent spraying and brush removal. 

This is one of our technicians, spraying a wide swath across the lawn.  We generally spray the lawn and landscape beds.  We also allow the spray to drift back into any wooded area near the manicured lawns.

For more information about my tick repellent program, please contact me at 410.770.5882.  I offer no-obligation estimates and certain program guarantees.