SeasonTips & Tricks

July Gardening Tips

Sunny Gardens | July Gardening Tips

Planting

To have colour from late summer to fall, plant begonias, impatiens, salvia, marigolds, verbena, and zinnias. For permanent plantings, try perennials such as bearded iris, lavender, coreopsis, statice, gazanias, and gloriosa daisy. For a late harvest of beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, and summer squash, sow seeds or plant seedlings. Plant full sun annuals like sweet alyssum, cosmos, ageratum, celosia, petunias, marigolds, portulaca, salvia, verbena, vinca, and zinnias. Plant shade annuals like begonias, coleus, and impatiens. Plant trees at least 6 feet (2 m) away from sidewalks and concrete pools, so growing roots do not crack the concrete.

Sunny Gardens | July Gardening Tips
Sunny Gardens | July Gardening Tips

Maintenance

Check sprinklers and drip systems to make sure that all outlets are working correctly. Dig and divide crowded spring-flowering bulbs and tubers, including bearded iris when the foliage dies off. Divide and transplant bearded iris using the vigorous ends of the rhizomes. Discard the old centre portion. Cut the leaves back to about 8 inches (20 cm). Feed roses after each bloom cycle, water regularly, and remove spent flowers. Fertilize cymbidiums to encourage flower formation for next winter’s bloom; feed them with quarter strength liquid fertilizer every time you water them. Feed blooming annuals at least monthly to keep them producing flowers. After harvesting June-bearing cane berries, cut spent canes back to the ground. Leave new green canes; tie them up when they are tall enough. On everbearing raspberries, cut out only the upper half of each cane that bore fruit this year. To encourage more flowers, cut off developing seed heads of coreopsis cosmos, dahlias, marigolds, rudbeckia, and zinnias. Feed potted plants twice a month with half-strength liquid fertilizer like 20-20-20 or less often with a controlled-release pelleted fertilizer. Fertilize Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia lawns monthly through October. Cut the first flowers of lavender to encourage a second crop. In summer, indoor plants should be protected from strong sunlight that can cause foliage burn. Closing sheer curtains or partially shutting blinds will shield tender leaves. Don’t chill tropical house plants by watering them with cold tap water. Let the water stand until it reaches room temperature so delicate root hairs aren’t harmed, or even killed, by low temperatures. Be sure houseplants are kept away from cold drafts caused by air conditioning vents. During hot, July weather, be sure to mow your lawn to the appropriate height. This reduces water loss and helps lower soil temperatures. Mushrooms or toadstools usually grow in a decomposing organic matter, such as a buried root, stump, or board. These fungi are beneficial because they help to break down woody debris and add humus to the soil. But mushrooms in the lawn can be a nuisance, and the decayed organic material can result in depressions in the yard. There are no chemical controls for toadstools since the fungus often grows so deep that chemicals do not penetrate entirely. Organic mulch materials decompose rapidly in hot, moist weather. Add additional mulch where needed. Pull and compost spent crops. Turn the compost pile and wet it down to hasten decomposition. Leave the pile with a depression in the centre to catch rainwater. Train and trim plants on arbours. Take care to ensure ties do not girdle branches. July is a good time to begin looking for native and cultivated plants from which you can collect seed pods to use for decorating this fall and winter. Be on the lookout for such material as thistles, cattails, dried
corn tassels, and seed pods from locust, redbud, and chaste tree. Check the soil moisture of container-grown vegetables and flowers daily. As the temperature rises, some plants may need to be watered twice daily. If you have been pinching back your mums this summer, mid-July is the time to stop so they will be able
to develop flower buds for the fall.

Sunny Gardens | July Gardening Tips
Sunny Gardens | July Gardening Tips

To produce the largest flowers, the main stems of dahlias should be kept free of side shoots, allowing only the terminal bud to develop. In larger varieties, a single stalk is the best. Adequate support must be provided to prevent wind damage. Water well. Cut back and fertilize delphinium and phlox to encourage the second show of bloom. Many plants are easily increased by layering. Verbenas, euonymus, pachysandra, ivy, Daphne, and climbing roses are some of the plants that will root if stems are fastened down on soft earth with a wire and covered with some soil.

Weed and Pest Control

Control tomato hornworms: look for chewed leaves and black droppings; look for them among the foliage. Handpick the worms off or spray the Bacillus thuringiensis. If budworms are eating the flower buds of petunias or geraniums (look for holes in buds and little black droppings), spray plants every 7 – 10 days with Bacillus thuringiensis. Red or yellow lights attract fewer night-flying insects than white or blue bulbs. Use them on your deck or patio. Hot, dry weather brings out red spiders mites. Inspect roses, evergreens, and marigolds in particular for pale-green colouration. Hold a white sheet of paper underneath a leaf and briskly tap it. Tiny, crawling mites will drop onto the paper if they are present on the leaf. If an infestation is light, discourage mites with a forceful, direct spray of water from the hose. Severely infested annual plants should be removed and destroyed. Mild infestations can be controlled with organic pesticides. Water your plants several hours before applying pesticides, especially during dry weather. Drought-stressed plants have less water in their plant tissues; the chemicals that enter the leaves will consequently be more concentrated and may burn the leaves. A piece of corrugated cardboard, such as the side from a box, forms an effective and portable barrier to use when spraying a non-selective herbicide next to desired plants. By changing the angle of the cardboard, it’s easy to spray weeds growing right up to the base of a desirable plant while shielding the stems, branches, and leaves. Since some herbicide will get on the shield, the same side should always face the sprayer when moved from one location to another.

All those jobs can be done by Sunny Gardens, just contact us for details of garden maintenance, landscaping and design.

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