HERE IS A SHORTLIST OF GARDENING CHORES THAT NEED TO BE DONE IN JULY
Before I get started I like to do a re-cap for June. Early in June, we remained warm and dry. Then in mid-June, some of us got A LOT of rain that we needed badly. This heavy rainfall put us over normal rainfall amounts for June. Then later we had some beautiful, low humidity, days that made gardening so pleasant.
June proved to hold true with beautiful perennials in bloom to celebrate June as Perennial Gardening Month. In addition, June 21 – 27 was National Pollinator Week, which helps bring awareness of the need to support our pollinators by planting more native plants.
With the first days of summer, we thought that maybe Tropical Storm Claudette would give us some rainfall but she decided to stay south of Richmond. But, we did have a good soaking from a cold front that came down just after Claudette went out to sea. This cold front delivered both a good soaking that we needed as well as some unusually cool days—especially for late June. That was all for rainfall for the rest of June. The last week of June turned to more normal weather—temperatures in the 90s and dry.
As we head into July, be water-wise. The best thing you can do is to hand water early in the morning and try watering the soil only. Use a soaker hose if possible.
NOW TO THE LISTING OF JULY GARDENING CHORES
ALERT!!! – Japanese Beetles are here. They will be here for 30 to 45 days. My blog last week was on Japanese Beetles and the steps we can take to reduce or eliminate the damage done to our beloved plants. So, go back and look at this blog.
Check all your plants for APHIDS! I have had so many leaf samples from customers with insect issues—especially aphids—more now than I can recall from last year. You can try control with just a soapy water spray bath. If you decide to purchase an insecticide just make sure that aphids are listed on the package.
SAWFLY – if you have any hardy hibiscus plants, be aware of sawfly damage to the leaves. Sawfly leaves the leaves skeletonized. And, when sawfly starts they can do the damage very quickly. I have had a few samples of the damage brought to me by customers. Having Sawfly is not that uncommon. On the bright side, sawfly damage will not kill the hibiscus. It just makes it look unsightly for the remainder of the growing season. INSECTICIDAL SOAP seems to be one of the best choices as a product for sawfly larvae control.
- Look for any areas with standing water in your landscape for mosquito control. Also, any pots or saucers should be emptied and removed. MOSQUITO DUNKS are great to use in birdbaths and ponds to kill the mosquito larva.
- July, traditionally, can be hot and dry so be sure to use sensible and conservative watering habits to care for all your plants. Soaker hoses are an excellent way to water plants in the landscape. And, the best time to water is early in the morning in order to reduce evaporation.
- For the organic vegetable gardener, focus on keeping your garden weed-free. Handpick the weeds. If allowed to grow, weeds will start robbing your garden of water and nutrients.
- DO NOT fertilize tall fescue lawns this time of year. Our cool-season grass is going dormant for the summer. September will be the month to start revitalizing our lawns.
- July is a month that is important to inspect all your needled evergreens such as junipers and spruce for red spider mites. You can test for mites by taking a white sheet of paper out to the plants and shake some of the foliage over the paper. Inspect the debris on the paper. You are looking for small specks moving around. If you detect spider mites then you need to apply an insecticide that lists mite control.
Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Take notes of what went so absolutely right in your gardens this year, as well as what went so disappointingly wrong!!
HAPPY SUMMER TO EVERYONE!!!!