Tree and Shrub Care in Mid Summer
Jobs to do
Pruning – See Pruning Shrubs and Trees in Mid Summer
The fast-growing formalwill probably need a second clip early in mid-summer, depending on when they had their first one; informal flowering hedges will need cutting if they have finished blooming.
Remove the dead blooms of rock roses (cistus) as they form seed easily and then flower less. If you prefer the foliage of rue to its-yellow flowers, these will need cutting off and Senecio greyi, if allowed to flower, should at least have the dead flower clusters clipped off. Large-flowered, cluster-flowered, climbing and rambling roses should all be deadheaded, unless their hips are wanted for decoration or seed. Large-flowered should be cut back by about half their length; cluster-flowered, climbers and ramblers should have the complete flower cluster cut off. All cuts should be made just above a leaf with an outward-pointing bud in its axil.
should be thinned round about mid-summer; they are fertile trees and in warm countries ripen heavy crops, in successive stages. However, in temperate climates the small, hard which are present in autumn will never ripen and only hinder the production of more fruit. As soon as these can be seen to be developing in mid-summer, they should be removed. The result is that more embryo fruit forms but remains dormant until the following growing season, when it starts to swell in late spring and is large enough to ripen by late summer.
Grapes will need thinning early in this season, if not already done, starting when the fruit is about the size of a sweetpea seed. Remove the smallest berries and the innermost ones first; then, starting at the bottom of the bunch, remove at least half the remainder, until the shoulders are reached, where very few should be removed. Thinning should be done in two stages, before and after stoning, as with, and sufficient space should be left to accommodate the berries comfortably when they are fully grown — about 2.5cm (1in) diameter, depending on variety. Use sharp, pointed scissors to cut out the unwanted berries.
This is a good season to feed one or two spring-flowering shrubs which begin to form their flower-buds for next spring now, on this year’s new shoots. They include camellia and tree peony, which is a notoriously greedy plant.
A general compoundwith a high proportion of potash can be used, potash alone as sulphate of potash at the rate of 15-30g per sq m (1/2 – 1oz per sq yd) or ash formed as a result of burning wood — about 150g per sq m (5oz per sq yd). Roses can have a second feed after their first flowering, and if your soil is light, all will be grateful for a feed with a balanced compound. Watering-in of any fertilizer application at this time is advisable.
Be very careful to make sure plants do not go short of moisture now. Drought in summer followed by winteris death to many woody plants but if kept in good health in summer, they can withstand winter weather better. Container-grown specimens, newly planted, are very much at risk, as are all wall-grown plants, especially the fruits. Shortage of water now results in their dropping the whole crop on the ground.
Mid-summer is a good time to get ahead in the queue for plant delivery; ordering what you need now from the nurseries will ensure that your plants arrive when you want them to, weather permitting. You will not be so far down the list that you have to wait till mid-winter.
If you want to increase the number of your rose varieties, do it by budding in mid-summer. Basically the method consists of making a T-shaped cut in the bark of the rose stem to be budded, and then slipping into this a bud, backed by a sliver of woody tissue, of the new variety. You can take the buds from new shoots of the selected variety, about half-way up the stem, and use as stock either a variety you no longer want or one of the special rootstocks used for roses: Rosa canina (the wild dog-rose), or R. x laxa, which you have to buy. These are themselves grown from hardwoodtaken in mid-autumn.
In mid-summer, some shoots of shrubs and climbers will be sufficiently mature to supply semi-ripe cuttings. You can also take tip cuttings of the plants listed in Early Summer and themethod of increase is still possible for many plants.
Treating pests and diseases
Another spray for codling moth caterpillars will be necessary, as well as one for redmaggot, which can decimate in mid and late summer. Silver leaf on plums and other fruit can be cut out now. Woolly aphis (American blight) may be a considerable problem and tortrix caterpillars on apples and can do a lot of damage without being noticed until picking time. Red spider mite and are still other potential menaces on fruit. Black spot, rose rust and mildew on roses will need treatment, and earwigs on clematis and other plants will be in evidence. The remaining pests mentioned in early summer should be much less troublesome.