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updated: 6/20/2014 5:49 AM

Shear your hedges and train your vines this month

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  • Train the vines of climbing plants regularly this month to direct the vines where you want them to go. Left unattended for a few weeks, the vines would be difficult to retrain.

      Train the vines of climbing plants regularly this month to direct the vines where you want them to go. Left unattended for a few weeks, the vines would be difficult to retrain.

  • Train the vines of climbing plants, like this clematis viticella Polish Spirit, regularly this month to direct the vines where you want them to go. Left unattended for a few weeks, the vines would be difficult to retrain.

      Train the vines of climbing plants, like this clematis viticella Polish Spirit, regularly this month to direct the vines where you want them to go. Left unattended for a few weeks, the vines would be difficult to retrain.

 
By Tim Johnson
Chicago Botanic Garden

June is a good month to shear your formal hedges. Pruning hedges in June will help create a denser hedge. Plan on shearing again in July.

Shear a formal hedge so it is wider at the base than at the top, allowing the sides to get as much sun as the top. This will help keep the hedge growing full from top to bottom. Many hedges in the home landscape are pruned improperly, so they are wider at the top than the base and the bases are thin.

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Mowing is one way to control weeds in a large, natural prairie area while it is being established. Native plants typically spend their first few years developing their roots, not their foliage or flowers, which gives weeds the opportunity to gain a foothold.

Mow weedy areas now with the lawnmower set high to cut back the weeds and keep them from choking out the native plants. In small areas, weed by hand. You can also carefully spot treat weeds with an herbicide.

Monitor and train vines such as clematis on their supports. It is best to do this on a regular basis to direct the vines where you want them to go. Once they have been allowed to grow out for a few weeks without support, it will be difficult to retrain them.

You can keep planting through the summer if you are careful about watering. Try to keep plants moist until you can plant them to minimize stress, and water them right before and after planting. The soil in plant pots can sometimes be difficult to remoisten if the plants are planted dry.

Plants that are grown in containers have a lighter growing medium that will generally dry more quickly than your garden soil, so new plants will need more frequent watering until their roots grow out into the surrounding soil.

Large trees and shrubs are usually sold with a root ball wrapped in burlap. Newly installed balled-and-burlapped plants need about 1 inch of water a week through the growing season to get them established.

The amount and frequency of watering that is needed will vary, depending on the soil conditions in your garden and weather conditions. Sandy, very well-drained soils will dry out more quickly than heavier clay loam soils.

• Tim Johnson is director of horticulture at Chicago Botanic Garden, chicagobotanic.org.

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