University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
PRUNING SUCKERS AND OTHER JUNE GARDENING
Charlie Nardozzi, Senior
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Pruning suckers from roses and
tomatoes, pruning old flowers from early perennials, and keeping the
bed clean are some of the gardening tips for this month.
On grafted roses, any growth that
originates below the graft union -- called suckers -- will not be what
bought the rose for. The foliage may look different and the flowers
inferior, often a different color, to flowers on shoots growing above
graft. Clip off any sucker growth because it saps energy from the
shoots are usually quite vigorous.
Many early bloomers, such as nepeta,
veronica, delphiniums, and some perennial salvias such as 'May Night'
rebloom if you cut off the faded flowers. For bushy plants like nepeta
veronica and salvia, shearing with hedge trimmers is the easiest
The best time to prune rhododendrons
to improve flowering next year is right after they finish
blooming. The best tool to use is your hand. The dried
flower clusters will snap off when you bend them, just be careful not
off the tiny buds just below the old flowers which are the future
Bright red lily leaf beetles are
easy to spot on lily leaves and, if you only have a few, you can pinch
between your fingers or knock them into a can of soapy water. The
usually feed on the
undersides of the leaves, and they have a slug-like body covered with
black excrement (ugh).
You might want to wear gloves when squishing them. Neem spray is also
against the larvae, and repeated sprays can kill the adults.
If you have a strawberry bed,
harvest frequently and remove any berries that show signs of gray mold
diseases. These berries not only are inedible, they quickly spread the
to other ripening fruits. Pick and remove the rotten berries and mulch
plants with straw to reduce contact with the ground where the disease
Blossom end rot shows up as dark,
sunken spots on the blossom end of tomatoes, peppers, and squash. It's
by a calcium imbalance in the plant -- the soil may have adequate
the plant isn't able to take up enough to supply the rapidly developing
To minimize the problem, keep soil evenly moist, apply a layer of mulch
conserve moisture, don't over fertilize (avoid high-nitrogen
avoid damaging plant roots while cultivating.
"Indeterminate" or vining
tomato plants produce many suckers -- new shoots that start where a
connects with the main trunk. Removing suckers will decrease the number
fruits produced, but the remaining tomatoes will be larger and will
Aspirin water has been found to promote
healthy growth and enable plants to stand up to insects and diseases.
3 aspirins in 4 gallons of water and spray plants. One time is all
Iron phosphate granules, sprinkled
around plants, are an effective, nontoxic pesticide for slugs and
(Brand names include Escar-Go and Sluggo.) Coffee grounds and liquid
also effective -- the higher the caffeine, the better.