Banish black spot

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Hot and humid weather and black spot go hand-in-hand. You can fight the disease with fungicides, or choose rose varieties that shrug it off. Knockout (left) and heirloom picks such as my favorite Zephirine Drouhin (below) will provide blooms all summer without the worry of black spot spoiling all the beauty. knockout redZephrinie Drouhin

Lookout, here comes summer

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Rainy season started early this year with Mother Nature dumping inches and inches of rain. It may be time to add more nutrients to fruiting trees, flowering shrubs and perennials if the heavy rains have washed away or simply washed out any nutrients there.

High temperatures and lots of sunshine mean that soils will dry out quickly. A thick layer (three inches or more) of mulch will help conserve water, while moderating soil temperatures. Mulch will also help keep weeds down, one chore we’d all prefer to avoid as the mercury climbs. Add more mulch as summer heat will quickly oxidize organic matter.