Phil’s Garden Tips & Tricks for July

Summer came more softly this year, it seemed. The days in the 70s and 80s with low humidity and the warmer nights have seemed just perfect for enjoying one’s yard and garden. 

Here are some things to do around your garden this month…

  • Prune shrubs only after they have bloomed unless you are on a rejuvenation project.
  • If the weed is not seeding, you may just leave the up rooted plant right there, most days, and it will dry up and turn into mulch!
  • This is the month that we fertilize lawns with an organic/natural fertilizer.
  • Check for root weevil adult damage on the leaves of rhododendrons and azaleas and decide whether you should use nematodes for their larvae or sticky traps for the adults.
  • Mulch, if you have not already, to conserve soil moisture. This is best done with one of the bark products, or compost.
  • Watch for signs of spider mites on arborvitae hedges (dusty looking foliage, loss of color, presence of tiny mites). These pests can kill a whole hedge. Here is a simple non-chemical method – pick a block of time when you can spray water on the foliage of the plants once a day for three days in a row. Repeat this same practice each month during the dry season. In other words, act like a heavy summer rain and wash them off the foliage!
  • You may cut off the foliage of the Spring bulbs when the tops have browned. If overcrowded, dig, divide and store to replant this fall.
  • Lawns probably need one inch of water per week this month. Beds need ½ inch per week.
  • Stake tall growing annuals or perennials if needed. Dahlias need it!
  • Check for scale insects on camellias, holly, and maple trees.
  • Encourage beneficial insects by planting members of the sunflower family – including zinnias, marigolds, Jerusalem artichokes and others.
  • Stake tomatoes, watch for blight, prune for air circulation, pick off affected leaves.
  • Cover blueberry bushes with netting to keep the robins off.
  • Check leafy vegetables for caterpillar attack.
  • This is the time to begin mid-summer plantings of beets, bush beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, kale.
  • End of month: prune the spent fruiting stems of raspberries, boysenberries and other cane berries after harvest.

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