Summer is a traditional time to prune flowering trees and shrubs to help maintain size and shape of plants. Major pruning performed before flower buds set in late summer will enhance next year’s bloom. Light pruning also should be done on broadleaf evergreens, conifers and plants used as hedges to maintain size and appearance.

As weather turns hot and dry, pay close attention to water requirements of plants. Woody plants benefit from infrequent but deep watering once plants are established. New transplants and plants grown in confined spaces will require more frequent irrigation when regular rainfall does not occur.

Pests that are traditionally active in summer include spider mites, Japanese beetles, insect scale crawlers, lacebugs and webworms. Powdery mildew begins to become severe as weather turns warm and humid. Deer browse becomes a major concern especially on annuals and perennials. Repellents that are used to deter browse must be applied more frequently to protect new growth as it develops.

Summer Tree Planting Checklist:

1. Have plants inspected for early symptoms of poor health. Trees affected by early stages of stress could display premature fall color in late summer, partial defoliation and symptoms of moisture stress.

2. Provide supplemental irrigation each week or more often on newly planted trees, shrubs and older plants stressed with insect or disease problems when rainfall is lacking in summer.

3. Prune flowering trees and shrubs such as dogwood, azaleas, rhododendron and forsythia. Once flower buds begin to form in late summer, judicious pruning reduces the bloom somewhat but should not impact the display significantly.

4. Inspect for pests that commonly arrive during hot, dry weather and apply treatments as needed.

5. Assess canopies for dead branches and structural weaknesses that can be pruned later in winter.

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