Fruit: June-bearing strawberries will be bearing starting around the middle of the month. When they are done bearing, you can fertilize them — fertilizing before bearing can cause them to produce leaves at the expense of fruits. Side-dress with ½ pound (1 ½ cups) of urea or 1 pound (2 cups) of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row. If you have less than 100 feet, adjust the amount accordingly (e.g., 50 feet would only need ¼ pound of urea). Fertilizer should be spread on both sides of plants in rows at least 3 inches away from the crowns. Everbearing and day-neutral strawberries have different fertilizer needs as they are expending more energy producing fruit over the whole season. They should be fertilized with 1-2 pounds (2-4 cups) of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row each month they are flowering or fruiting, so potentially once a month in June, July and August. Make sure the fertilizer is not applied directly to foliage. It should be applied in a thin band or ring around the plant about three inches from the leaves. For more information, check out the publication “Growing Strawberries in Wisconsin” at http://learningstore.uwex.edu/. Type “strawberries” in the search box. Scroll down to the box marked “view the pdf” when the publication comes up to view and/or print it.
Perennials: You can cut back tall, late summer to fall-blooming perennials such as asters by about half around the 15th of the month. Plants like balloon flowers, boltonia, chrysanthemums, asters and Russian sage will benefit, as the pruning stimulates additional branching and a more compact form. You’ll increase the number of blooms, create sturdier stems and decrease height at the same time. With the balloon flowers, wear gloves, because cut stems exude a latex-like sap that some people react to. You can use rubbing alcohol to clean pruner blades afterwards. Generally if this is done in early to mid-June, it will not set back the date of flowering too much. If done later than July 1, it is likely to set back flowering more significantly.