Happy in the Heat of July
Posted in Monthly Landscape Tips on June 30, 2014
Garden & Landscape Tips for July
Now is the time to really kick back and enjoy! The beaches are busy, the kids are out of school, and it’s fun in the sun! While the bulk of the work in your gardens and landscapes is done, there are still some maintenance items. We’ve created a handy checklist to keep you on track for July, so please enjoy these helpful landscape tips.
Care & Feeding
Staying on top of these tasks keeps your garden and landscapes healthy and gorgeous.
- Harvesting veggies: Make sure you get out and pick your vegetables. This keeps the plants producing and healthy. Diseased or rotten veggies increase the chance that healthy plants will be infected. Some veggies, like tiny filet green beans, should be harvested every day.
- Mow, mow, mow your lawn: A regular mowing schedule is the best way to prevent weeds. It also keeps your yard looking great!
- Deadhead daily. Make deadheading part of your daily morning routine. It keeps your garden looking clean and causes flowers to produce more buds.
- Cutbacks: Annuals & perennials sometimes get scraggly or leggy. Cut them back at least one-third; this makes them look better and often encourages more growth and blooms.
- Hydration: Make sure to keep your plants well-watered. Nature takes care of this most of the time, but you need to lend a hand occasionally. New plants need extra water until they’re established. Trees, shrubs, and perennials like to be hosed down from top to bottom to get rid of pests and dust.
- AM/PM: During the heat of summer, it’s best to schedule gardening work in the early morning or late afternoon. The air is cooler and the sun isn’t quite as intense; this is easier on your plants and you.
- Proper nutrition: Keep acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, gardenias, blueberries and camellias fertilized to prevent iron deficiency. If young leaves are yellowish-green with darker green veins, the plant is iron deficient. Now is a good time to fertilize eggplants, peppers and tomatoes, too; this increases growth. Container gardens need fertilizer too, as watering (natural or by you) washes nutrients from the soil.
- Ponds: If you have an algae problem in your pond, there are products such as Biocuda algaecides and cleaners from Atlantic Water Gardens, to kill it. Available at your local Hydro-Scape and it’s safe for aquatic and domestic animals.
- Fruit thieves: Birds and wasps LOVE to pilfer fruit from your vines and trees. Keep them away by covering grape clusters with paper bags and netting your fruit trees.
- Good grapes: Prune grape leaves from your vines when the grapes are pea-sized. Getting rid of the leaves within six inches of the bunches provides air circulation, lessens the chance of rot and fungal & bacterial mildews. However, leave some leaves on the south side of the clusters to provide shade.
- Fire safety: It’s brush fire season. Get rid of dead limbs and leaves from shrubs and trees & cut tall grasses and weeds as low as possible. Clean debris from your gutters. These measures reduce the chance of fire outbreaks. More information is available at the Red Cross.
- Journal it: Keep up-to-date with your garden journal. It’s easy to let it go the further along the season goes; however, it’s a handy tool year-round.
Pests and Plagues
If you have certain areas of soil infested with bacteria, fungus, or nematodes, harness the power of the sun to heal it. Remove all plants from the infected area and water it thoroughly. Put a thick, clear plastic tarp over the area and weigh it down around the edges. In four to six weeks, this process (called solarization) will cleanse your soil. Of course, the hotter it is, the better it works.
Irrigation Upgrades – July is Smart Irrigation Month!
It’s a great time to bring your system up to date. If you have old sprinkler heads, consider replacing them with water-conserving rotating nozzles or a low-flow/high-efficiency system. You can cut your water use by about twenty percent! Hydro-Scape has a wide variety of water-saving (and money-saving!) systems available and we’re always happy to help!
Even though we’re in the middle of the season, there’s still time to do some more planting, if you’re so inclined.
- Tomatoes: If you’re in climate zones 18-21 or 22-24 (inland and coastal areas) you can still get more tomatoes planted. If you’re a patio gardener, check out the “Tiny Tim” variety. This plant produces huge amounts of tasty one-half inch tomatoes. It grows about a foot tall and thrives in a four-inch pot for the whole season. You need to get them planted by mid-July, though.
- Beans: Plant beans you can dry, such as “Pawnee Shell”, “Tiger’s Eye”, and “Jacob’s Cattle”. These beans are perfect for use later in the year and look amazing in glass jars on the shelf.
- Citrus & subtropical: Get kumquats, lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus planted in July. If you’re in climate zones 21-23 (the mildest coastal areas), plant avocado, cherimoya and mango. This is the perfect zone for mangoes as they love the heat and hate fog.
- Succulent accents: Plants such as “Kiwi Jades”, “Crosby’s Dwarf”, lipstick echeveria, and Sempervivum arachnoideum make perfect patio table accents. They’re low-maintenance and do well in shallow containers.
- Flowering annuals & perennials: July is the time to plant late-summer versions of these favorites.