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Calendar: June 1, 2011

Damage on Chocolate Mint Mentha x piperita f. citrata 'Chocolate'Karl Foord.

  • Four-lined plant bug nymphs love mint, as shown on the photo to the right. Their feeding causes small, necrotic spots. The damage can look a little different on different plants, but is similar enough to recognize. Thanks to Jeff Hahn for identification of the nymph.
  • Check flowering perennials closely for signs of four-lined plant bug feeding-- small brown circular depressions on the leaves. This usually doesn't injure the plants seriously, but it does make them less attractive and sometimes the bugs can truly overrun the plant. It's best to tolerate four-lined plant bugs whenever possible, but if you decide to control them, you must spray soon after you first notice feeding damage. Check out the UMN Extension Garden page for more information.
  • Assess the performance of your spring-flowering bulbs. Lift and discard any that failed to bloom well; they won't improve. Fertilize the others, and allow their foliage to mature naturally. Braiding or tying up the leaves deprives them of the light needed to store energy for next year's blooms. Planting annuals around them, though possible, may keep bulbs too moist during their summer dormancy, resulting in poor growth the following spring.

Nymph on Chocolate Mint Mentha x piperita f. citrata 'Chocolate'. Karl Foord.

  • If you need to prune spring-flowering shrubs such as lilac, forsythia, azalea, rhododendron or rose tree of China, in order to shape them and control their size, do it right after they're through blooming. Pruning mid-season or late summer inadvertently eliminates much of the following year's blooms because those buds actually begin to develop shortly after this year's flowers fade!

  • Yard and Garden News Editor: Karl Foord
    Technical Editor: Bridget Barton

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