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

Midseason Yard and Garden Review

July 3, 1997

Independence Day marks the midpoint of summer for many. It seems hard to believe that's tomorrow, but here we are. Some yard and garden plantings are in good midseason form, others are not.

Cool and wet spring weather has again been favorable for many leaf diseases on trees, such as anthracnose and apple scab. These diseases are not considered fatal to the trees but may weaken them if lots of leaves drop. Once these diseases develop and appear on the leaves, little can be done except to avoid additional stresses on the tree. If conditions get dry, help the tree by watering the soil over the root zone.

Freeze, wind and frost injury to shade tree foliage has been a big problem this season. Damage may appear as holes or ragged foliage, looking just like insects had been feeding but none can be found. The hard freezes back in early April have caused poor growth and dieback on trees and shrubs. Wood that is obviously dead should be pruned out.

Overall, the season so far as been a quiet one for lawn problems. Cool weather all the way into June has been ideal for grass growth. The abrupt change into the heat and humidity of last week could chance things, however, as diseases could be favored. It's still too early to predict grub problems that may or may not appear later this summer. Due to the lack of heat until recently, crabgrass has not yet been a problem in lawns.

Backyard vegetable gardens have been suffering from the weather. Plants that like the heat, such as melons, tomatoes, and peppers may look stunted, off-color, and overall "sick." These plants need sun and warmth to pick up their development. As mentioned last week, there is still time to replant many crops. Keep weeds in check.

Finally, earwigs are starting to make their annual appearance. Earwigs like moisture and organic matter. Caulk around windows and doors, rake mulch away from foundations, improve drainage, and eliminate excess debris to help reduce numbers.

Let's hope the second half of the season is a good one for yards and gardens!


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