This list of tasks for the month of July can help you grow and maintain your gardens, indoors and out.
Following the tips that apply to your particular landscape will help increase your success while making gardening easier, less stressful and fun. Click on the links for more detailed information through audio, video, and written tips written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers.
- Bare crab apples are a common sight in summers following a cool, wet spring. The cause is probably apple scab. Rake and destroy leaves as they fall. This will reduce the source of disease next season. Consider replacing disease-susceptible crabapples with newer scab-resistant cultivars.
- Check the upper and lower leaf surfaces and stems of plants for aphids and mites. These pests suck out plant juices, causing leaves to yellow and brown. Control large populations with a strong blast of water from the garden hose. Treat plants with insecticidal soap, horticulture oil or Neem if the populations grow and damage is severe.
- Monitor lilacs and other shrubs for powdery mildew. Look for a white powdery substance on the leaves. Infected plants will survive, but their appearance declines as the season progresses. Reduce problems by increasing the light and air circulation. Thin overgrown plants during the dormant season to increase light and air flow and to decrease disease.
- Ground ivy, quackgrass and bindweed are perennial weeds that can quickly take over your garden. Hand pulling does not usually work on these deeply rooted plants. Cultivation just breaks the plants in to smaller pieces that can start lots of new plants. Use a total vegetation killer to control these pesky weeds. These products kill the tops and roots of the weeds and any growing plant they touch. Several applications may be needed to control these tough weeds once established. Be sure to protect nearby desirable plants.
- Stop pinching fall-blooming perennials at the beginning of the month.
- Improperly watered lawns suffer more problems than those that depend on rainfall as the sole source of water. Make the most of your efforts by watering properly.
- Do not be discouraged if the bottoms of your first few tomatoes are black. Blossom end rot commonly affects the first few fruit. The blackened ends are caused by a calcium deficiency. Do not add calcium; our soils have plenty. Instead, avoid root damage caused by late staking and cultivating. Mulch the soil to keep it consistently moist. Affected tomatoes are safe to eat. Cut off the black portion and enjoy the rest of the tomato.
- Pick herbs as needed. Cut short pieces off the ends of the stem. Make the cut just above a set of leaves. It looks neater, and the plant recovers faster. Wait until the plants start blooming for the most intense flavor.
- Consider using a watering wand or drip irrigation system to water the soil without wetting the foliage. This puts the water where it is needed and helps reduce the risk of disease.
- Deadhead flowers for continual bloom and beauty. Pinch back leggy annuals to encourage branching and more flowers. Cut back heat-stressed lobelia and alyssum. Cut plants halfway, continue to water and wait for the weather to cool.