The kousa dogwood in the front yard has been holding on to its flowers for over a month. The first 90-degree day caused the flower petals to drop. There was a bit of a wind one day, and the falling petals looked like a mass of white butterflies fluttering across the front lawn. I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that before.

If you are an early riser, you may have noticed how many mornings the cars parked in the driveway are covered with dew. It may be pretty to look at, but it does foreshadow something that may be happening to your plants.

When dew settles in the evening and nighttime hours, the foliage of your plants gets wet from the dew settling. When you have wet foliage in the nighttime hours, it is easy for fungus diseases to grow on your plants.

Many of your vegetable plants are easy targets for fungus diseases.

Squash and cucumbers can develop powdery mildew on the leaves. As the name suggests, this disease looks like powder on the leaves.

Tomato plants can develop all kinds of different diseases. All of the diseases develop quickly when the foliage is wet during the night.

There isn’t a lot that you can do to stop the dew from settling, but you need to be proactive when it comes to treating your plants with fungicides.

Often, when I mention fungicides and vegetable plants, people are concerned about chemicals being put on their food. Over the last few years, there have been a lot of new organic fungicides that have shown remarkable ability to control many different fungus diseases. Some of the sprays use hydrogen peroxide as the control. Others will use different types of bacterium to control the diseases.

All of the organic sprays work best if they are applied before the diseases become a full-blown problem on the plants. Now would be a good time to head to your locally owned garden store and ask them what they have for organic fungicides. By applying the fungicides now, you should be able to control and/or prevent any fungus diseases from ruining your vegetable plants and many of the diseases that can attack both your perennial and annual flowers.

Now that summer is here, it is time to set the lawn mower to a level that allows the blades of grass to remain a bit longer. Early in the spring when the grass is growing like crazy, we all tend to cut the grass short. We know that the grass will need to cut again real soon, so we think, hey, why not cut the grass short so we don’t have to mow again in three days?

During the summer months, the grass is growing slower. If you cut the grass short in the summer, you will notice that you can often see the soil between the blades of grass. When this happens, the sun and wind stand a better chance of pulling moisture out of the soil. The sun hitting the soil can also help weed seed in the soil to sprout.

If you adjust the mowing height so that the blades of grass are about 2 to 3 inches long, the blades of grass actually shade the soil. This cuts down on moisture loss, and in some cases, the shaded soil will cut back on weed seed germination. By shading the soil, you will also have to water your lawn less often. Your job this week is to set the mower to a cutting height of 2 to 3 inches.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week. 

Tim Lamprey has worked in the lawn and garden industry for 45 years.