Tips for creating and maintaining a beautiful garden for July 2011
Lemonade, barbecue and fireworks! That’s what July brings to our neighborhoods and homes. Celebrate the summer by harvesting tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and herbs that you grow in your own backyard. Cool off from the heat under a shade tree, and consider where you’ll plant trees later this fall for additional shade.
➤ Hot and dry is usually the forecast for July: Be a Water Smart Georgia gardener. Go to www.urbanagcouncil.com for current water restrictions.
➤ Water your trees and ornamental shrubs if you notice leaves starting to droop and fold; this is a good indicator that the plant is under stress, and it is time to irrigate. Deep-watering early in the morning encourages roots to grow deep and strong. Use a soaker hose to reduce water waste, and prevent disease problems by keeping the foliage dry.
➤ If the heat has gotten to your summer annuals, revive them by cutting them back to half of the height. Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer, and add a fresh layer of mulch.
➤ Stake your tall flowers (hollyhocks, gladiolus, Mexican sunflower) so that they will be protected against damage during those pop-up evening thunderstorms. Plastic twist ties work great to secure them to garden stakes.
➤ Dollar-spot is a common lawn disease in July. To combat, adjust your lawn maintenance practices before reaching for a fungicide. Aerate and de-thatch your lawn; make sure that you are mowing often and at the correct height; water early in the day, once a week for a longer period of time. These steps alone will probably solve your problems.
➤ Sod Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia lawns this month (common Bermuda can be seeded, also); Bermuda and St. Augustine can be fertilized in July. Water regularly and consistently for root development.
➤ If your fescue lawn is yellowing, apply a product such as Ironite, following label directions carefully. Do not fertilize fescue during hot summer months.
➤ Fleas bugging you and your pets? Treat both the animals and your yard for best results. Check with your veterinarian for oral and liquid medications for your cats and dogs—Treat your yard and other outdoor areas with Triazicide or Sevin.
➤ Spider mites are one of the pests that thrive in hot, dry weather! Inspect your plants often for signs of these and other bugs. Many can be controlled by a blast of water from your hose—Check with your local extension service or area nursery for proper identification before spraying with insecticides.
➤ Hot, humid conditions can encourage powdery mildew on crepe myrtle, dogwood and other ornamentals. Spray with Daconil or other fungicide, and be sure to clean up and destroy infected leaves that fall off of the plants.
➤ English ivy that is climbing trees should be removed, as it encourage wetness at the crown and steals moisture that should go to the tree’s roots. Cut the vine at the base, and remove as much as you can from the tree—The remainder will eventually fall off when it dies.
What to Plant
➤ Zinnia seeds, gladiolus bulbs and pumpkin seeds are a few of the things that can be planted in July. Don’t add perennials or shrubs to your garden until cooler weather in the fall.
Mary Kay Woodworth is executive director of the Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association (MALTA). She previously ran Practically Gardening, a landscape consulting firm, and was Master Gardener Coordinator for the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Service. Mary Kay is a frequent speaker at area schools, garden clubs, civic organizations and trade shows. [email protected]