Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tips for Your July Gardening

July can be a hot month.  So hot, that gardeners often lose interest in keeping up with a very busy time of the year when it comes to their landscapes and beds.  Necessary chores include pruning flowers, weeding and keeping to top of pests.

Once July and the heat have arrived, it is often time to prune the petunias.  Flowers tend to form at the ends of super leggy stems, giving your petunias a very tired look.
To improve their look, cut back one long stem by two-thirds each week.  This will allow the stem to send out new growths in a few directions.  Another remedy is to cut back the entire plant down to one-third the height and allow the entire plant to come back to its original fullness.  Remember, cutting back all the plant at once will mean you may not have any blooms for a couple of weeks.
This pruning technique will work for most annuals when they reach the leggy stage.

July is also the time to prune certain perennials, as well.
Plants like perennial salvia, summer phlox, asters and other tall perennials.  Once cut,  blooms will occur again later in the season.
Cut back the stems that appear to be bloomed out and cut back to one-third to one-quarter the original height.  Pruning perennials will also take away the need to stake.

During July, you will need to remove the suckers from roses and certain flowering trees, such as crabapple.  Suckers are the shoots that appear at the base of the plant.
Did you know that suckers grow on tomato plants?  I'm sure you've seen them, and yes, those also need to be pruned.  Removing them will help the current tomatoes grow larger and ripen sooner.
Protect your fruit trees from birds.  Birds can't resist cherries when they begin to ripen, so consider placing bird netting over your trees.
Grass should be cut a little taller during the hot weather if you have Fescue, Bluegrass, or Rye Grass.
Make sure you water your plants.  It's easier for healthier plants to fight diseases and pests.
You may need to add a light layer of mulch to your beds.  Mulch that is too dry can repel water and keep it from reaching your plants' roots.

Keep up with your weeding.  Pull weeds from your beds after a summer rain.  It makes the task much easier and much more effective.

On a super hot day, go to the library and find a new gardening book to read.

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