University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Yard & Garden Care and Vacations

July 12, 2001

Vacations are often highlight of the summer for many. But what about caring for the yard & garden while you are away? There are some ideas to help avoid plant problems out in the yard while out of town.

Unkept lawns are one of the first signs a home is vacant, so if you will be gone for any length of time, have a plan for mowing. Drier weather over most areas has slowed lawn growth, so mowing right before you leave will probably be sufficient until you get back.

Vegetable gardens are producing crops and need attention. Mulched gardens can survive longer without water and will have fewer weed problems. Insect pests are difficult to control for an extended period of time, however, unless a neighbor or friend is able to check on the garden. Also have someone check to assure crops are harvested as they mature while you are away.

Window boxes, patio planters, and hanging baskets also need regular attention. These planting sites are very prone to drying out in the summer heat. Make arrangements to have these watered on a regular basis while you are gone. The same holds true for houseplants.

All plantings of annual flowers, whether in landscape beds or some type of planters, can welcome you home from a vacation with some quick care now. Before leaving town pinch off flowers and well-developed flower buds, so when you return the plants are likely to be loaded with flower buds just starting to open. Mulching flowerbeds provides the same benefits as for vegetables.

Finally, apple trees are prone to insect pests such as apple maggot and codling moth over the next several weeks. Plan insecticide or multipurpose fruit sprays accordingly. Usually making an application right before leaving town should carry through until you get back. Apple maggot may also be controlled to some extent using red spheres covered with sticky material and hung in the trees.


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