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Health benefits a good reason to garden this month

Whether you are an adult who has been gardening for years or a child having their first gardening experience, there is something fun and satisfying about digging in the dirt and putting in plants and seeds.

Gardening, which is considered moderate activity, has health benefits as well as enjoyment including the possibility of a reduced chance of high blood pressure, depression and painful arthritis. So, let’s get going on some June gardening activities.

Woody plant care

Boxwood and yews can be lightly pruned after the new growth fills in to maintain a pleasing shape.

Spring flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering.

Rose care

If rugosa and shrub roses have been fertilized in the spring, they do not need to be fertilized again. Many of the shrub roses are considered to be self-cleaning and probably will not require deadheading.

Tea and other roses can have a second application of a balanced fertilizer mid-June after the first bloom period.

Leaf diseases such as black spot and other fungal diseases need to be monitored. Remove infected leaves immediately and begin a preventive spray program if needed.

Annual and perennial care

In June, many of your favorite perennials will be blooming. This is the month to enjoy columbines, peonies, clematis, salvias and early Asiatic lilies.

It is not too early to begin pinching back mums, asters and tall sedums for fuller late summer to fall bloom.

Biennial seed like hollyhock and foxglove can be sown directly into the garden this month for next year’s bloom. Mark the space so seeds will not be disturbed.

Plants that grow from bulbs will need some attention in June. Yellowing leaves should be removed from spring and summer-flowering bulb plants. If bulbs were not fertilized in the spring, they will need to be fertilized with a slow release 9-9-6 fertilizer. Mark the spots where bulbs are located in preparation for another fertilizer application in the fall.

Both annual and perennial care should include removing spent blooms.

Lawn care

Established turf requires about 1 inch of water a week to keep grass green and growing.

Cool-season turf grass should be mowed to a height of 2 to 3 inches.

Fruit, vegetable and herb care

Raspberries should be ready for harvest in June.

Cool-season lettuces and vegetables can be harvested this month.

It is time to plant pumpkins.

Who might be visiting your garden in June? Every couple of days, walk through your vegetable garden to check for insects. Cucumber beetles, aphids, squash-vine borers, tomato hornworms and cabbage loopers could be visiting your vegetable garden and causing problems.

Whether you grow vegetables, herbs or flowers, take time to go outdoors and play in the dirt. You will enjoy the sunshine and benefit from exercise while doing something you love.

June tip

On June 9, the DeKalb County Master Gardeners will host the annual Plant Sale at the Farm Bureau Center for Agriculture. Donations from local nurseries, garden clubs and the Master Gardeners’ own gardens will be available. Attractive garden accessories also will be for sale.

Please note that hours for the sale are shorter this year. The Plant Sale will be open from 8:30 a.m. to noon. We look forward to seeing you there.

• The Master Gardeners are available to answer questions from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at the University of Illinois Extension DeKalb County office at the Farm Bureau Center for Agriculture, 1350 E. Prairie Drive in Sycamore. Call 815-758-8194 or email

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