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June 2017 Gardening Tips

Dahlias -

JUNE 2017

    Dahlias - These prolific bloomers can be the darling of your summer garden! Although the huge sized flowering dahlia are spectacular, they need staking and lots of attention to keep them upright. Choose the lower growing, smaller flowering type of Dahlia for lots and lots of blooms for many weeks. They come in shades of red, pink, yellow, white and orange! Dahlias like yummy soil with good drainage and regular water. There is more to know about Dahlias-contact Mary for an appointment when you're ready to learn more.


    This article is intended to help build your confidence when working with irrigation professionals or when installing drip irrigation yourself.

    When you hire a professional it is not automatic that they will install your drip irrigation emitters in a way that is best for your plants or for you. There are industry standards to guide installers but these standards are not law. I have noticed that each installer has their own style when it comes to drip irrigation installations; unfortunately some styles do not follow industry standards and actually create future problems. You can prepare beforehand by learning from The Gardening Tutor about how to install drip irrigation to industry standards. Then you'll know if you want to do it yourself or hire out and you'll know the questions to ask and that it's ok to ask for examples and explanations of how they intend to install your drip system. Also, be home when they install (at least during the beginning so you can be assured of best practices).

    Three of the most unfortunate things that I see with drip irrigation installations are: the emitters are installed directly in the mainline instead of using 1/4" driplines, the emitters are installed on the top of the mainline making them easy targets to step on and break off, and emitters are placed too close to the stems and trunks of plants. Here are some things to keep in mind, whether you install irrigation lines yourself or you hire someone to install a system for you:

    Pros and Cons of installing emitters directly on top of the mainline:

    • Costs less because fewer parts are used and less time is taken to install the project.


    • You will step on the emitters and break them off (creating something that you then will need to repair).
    • When you mulch on top of the irrigation system the emitter hole is more open to getting particles inside the system.
    • With emitters directly on top of the mainline there is no way to direct the water for a larger rootzone as the plant matures in size.
    • In some cases, emitters take a lot of water pressure and do have a chance of blowing off the mainline.
    Pros and Cons of installing emitters using 1/4" dripline:

    • Able to direct the water to correct part of rootzone when installing the plant and as it matures.
    • Hard to break the emitter if you step on it while gardening.
    • Can easily add to emitters or lengthen the emitter line without dealing with the mainline.
    • Easy to plug the end of the 1/4" line when you no longer need that emitter instead of pulling out the emitter that was directly in the mainline in order to plug it (this method usually causes a leak in the mainline).


    • Initially costs more because more parts are used and more time to install.

    When deciding what to use to keep the emitters in place, remember that there are small metal hooks available that are much easier to push into any type of soil then the plastic type. Plus, the plastic 1/4" line holders easily break when stepped on after they have been in the soil a while.

    There is so much more to know but here I have kept the topic to 1/4" lines with emitters on the ends; inline emitters have another set of things to know.

    June 2017
    Gardening Checklist
    What to SHOP for . . .
    Checkbox Seeds - Sunflowers, Morning Glories, Nasturtium.
    Checkbox Perennials - Salvia, Campanula, Centaurea montana, Dahlia.
    Checkbox Warm Season Annuals - Cleome, Lobelia, Zinnia, Cosmos.
    Checkbox Veggies - Summer Squash, Tomato, Snap Beans, Lettuce.
    Tasks to do . . .
    Checkbox Prune - Remove spent flowers from Rhododendrons, be careful not to snap off the new buds at the base of the spent flower. Shear Erigerons. Cut back salvias after first flowers finish blooming to create a bushier form. Prune and train Wisteria. Remove spent flowers from Lilacs (leaving the buds just below the spent bloom intact). When you're ready to learn how to prune and train the plants in your garden, contact Mary for an appointment.
    Checkbox Mulch - Apply three inch layer of compost to garden beds. Make sure to water in the compost as you go along. Also water the soil before applying the compost layer.
    Checkbox Pest Management - Spray neem oil where needed to control thrips and other insect infestations that are too large for using insecticidal soap. Watch for shiny, sticky leaves as this is a sign that the plant is infected with insects that excrete honeydew. Leaving the sticky honeydew on leaves will encourage sooty mold to start growing.
    Checkbox Fertilize - Continue to fertilize plants that are repeat bloomers, such as Fuchsia, Begonia, Roses and summer annuals.
    Checkbox Container Plants- Remember to fertilize plants in containers. Slowly applying the liquid fertilizer (Mary uses MaxSea) will assure that the fertilizer reaches the rootzone and doesn't just run to the sides and out the bottom of the container.
    Checkbox Weeding - If you only have time for one gardening task, make it weeding.
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