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How to keep insects and pests out of your lawn and garden

by Steve Mayer

Thwart insect invaders and pesky plant species with extra attention in the lawn and garden

First week

  • Avoid alternate-bearing cycles on fruit trees by thinning a heavy fruit set after the natural June drop.
  • Check plants weekly for newly hatched bagworms. If found, treat with a biological insecticide such as spinosad. (E-27)
  • Apply organic mulch to the vegetable garden, which slows plant growth if applied early in cooler soils. (HO-32)

Second week

  • After blue wild indigo finishes blooming, cut it back by one-third to help eliminate flopping or the need to stake.
  • It's not too late to plant pumpkins, as many varieties take 90 to 120 days to mature. (HO-8)
  • Control yellow nutsedge in the lawn before more tubers form and increase the problem. Use a product with halosulfuron or sulfosulfuron. (AGRY-98-04)

Third week

  • Start checking for Japanese beetles weekly. Pick off and destroy early-arriving beetles to help reduce plant injury. (E-75)
  • Don't raise the mower's blade height for summer. It can cause plant stress. (AY-8)
  • If birds pose a problem, protect ripening cherries with netting. (HO-9)

Fourth week

  • Now through August is the best time to control invasive purple loosestrife because its magenta flowers are easily recognized.
  • Annual flowers may need additional applications of fertilizer every four to six weeks. (HO-99)
  • If rhubarb plants are more than four years old, you can harvest them for eight to 10 weeks. Stop harvesting and fertilize if weak, spindly stalks appear. (HO-97)

Mayer is a horticulture educator with Purdue Extension of Marion County. The numbers in parentheses in the calendar entries refer to related Purdue Extension publications. To obtain the publications, contact the Extension Office at 275-9292, e-mail marionmg@purdue.edu or visit ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/menu.htm.


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