GARDEN TIME with DOUG – July Gardening Tips


Before I get into the list of gardening chores for July, I want to do a little re-cap of June. For the month of June, we had close to average temperatures. The official rainfall was 5-inches, which is an inch below average. I know some of you had much more rainfall this month, with heavy, isolated downpours. Most of this official rainfall occurs in the first half of June. After the 13th, the rain has shut down. The second half of June has been hot and dry.


Every day I am talking to customers about the plant damage being done by active Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles love to eat on our beloved roses, crape myrtles, grapes, and other plants. The life cycle of the Japanese beetle consists of four stages of development: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Female Japanese beetles will leave the plant that they are feeding on to find ideal conditions and soil to lay eggs in. The females will lay anywhere between one to five eggs throughout the area they choose. When done with this egg laying process the females return to a food source (i.e. roses, crape myrtles, etc.) to continue feeding until another mating cycle occurs, where this process is repeated all over again. This process will repeat itself until the female lays over 40 eggs throughout her life cycle (2 months).


Beetle Traps: Traps are a great means to control beetle populations. Place these traps at least 25 feet away from the plants that are being damaged. The lure inside these traps will draw bettles to the trap and away from plants.

Chemical Controls: Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is excellent. Its main content is Spinosad. Spinosad is regarded as a natural product and approved for use in organic gardening. Spinosad is safe for birds and mammals. It can be toxic to bees, but once dry it is considered negligible. So, timing is very important. Because bees do not fly late in the day or after dark, Spinosad should be applied late in the day.


  1. July is a good month to give your flowering annuals a trim. Trimming blooming annuals will encourage new growth and more blooms. Also, once pruned, it is a good practice to feed your flowering annuals monthly.
  2. During hot July weather, be sure to mow your lawn to the appropriate height, about 3 to 4 inches. This reduces water loss and helps lower soil temperatures. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to decompose, as this adds nitrogen back to the soil.
  3. Check your needled evergreens, such as junipers and spruce for red spider mites, a problem on conifers during hot, dry weather. Test for mite presence by shaking some of the foliage over a white piece of paper. Then, inspect the paper carefully for small, moving red specks. If red spider mites are present, apply an appropriate insecticide that lists mite control.
  4. Don’t be alarmed with trees dropping leaves. Trees may lose up to 10% of their leaves during very hot, dry conditions. It’s natural! Dropping leaves will help reduce water loss from the tree by transpiration, and does not harm the tree.
  5. Keep up with the weeding! Don’t let summer weeds go to seed. Personally, I love spending time outside and hand-pulling weeds. I use no herbicides this way. Plus it gives me something to do outside. Bending over and moving around is good exercise.


For more tips from Doug, visit our blog

32 thoughts on “GARDEN TIME with DOUG – July Gardening Tips”

  1. How do you deal with spider mites on juniper that’s 15′ tall? The needles are turning brown from the inner part and moving down the limbs.

    • Ani,
      Did you do a mite test. If not, then take a white sheet of paper out to the juniper. Shake some limbs and let the fallen needles fall onto the white paper. Then inspect the debris on the paper very closely. If you see small little dots moving around on the paper then that will be mites. You will need a mitacide spray. Some sprays and sprayers should be able to reach 15 ft. If not, then you may want to look into having a professional horticulturist company do the work for you. Good luck, Doug

  2. Doug,
    I like to do some gardening in the evening however mosquitoes make it difficult even with the right clothing. I do have a Dynatrap, but that’s set up on the patio, a little distance from the plant bed. Any suggestions.

    • Leslie,
      I understand. I don’t know if I have an answer. One thing is to be sure that you do not have anything holding any water in your gardens such as old buckets, etc. Mosquitoes will lay eggs and they will hatch out very quickly. Maybe using something like Deet spray on your self before going out. I wish I had a good answer to solve this issue. take care, Doug

  3. Are you suggesting pruning roses? I thought I should only prune in March. What is the best way to prune climbing roses? Please advise. Thank you.

    • Patricia,
      Glad that you sent me your questions on pruning roses. You prune climbing roses differently that you do with shrub roses. The best time to prune climbing roses is right after they finish blooming. What I have learned is to only prune the branches that are considered “wild” and needing a cut in order to keep the rose firmly trained onto its trellis. Let me know if you have any further questions. Doug

    • Randee,
      The most effective method toward reducing / eliminating Japanese Beetles is to kill the white grub worm in the soil. Milky Spore is the product to apply to the soil. you want to apply Milky Spore in the fall the kill the white grub worms while they are still at the surface of the soil before going down deep for the winter months. The next time to apply Milky Spore is in late February to kill the white grub worm as the grubs begin to surface in the soil. Education is the key to being successful. I would do some studying on the Japanese Beetle as well as learn more about the Milky Spore product. Let me know if you have any further questions. Take care, Doug

  4. My MFarms regular impatiens (potted on a 1/2 day morning sun glassed-in balcony) were bought with many small blooms 1 1/2 months ago, but now seem to have very few new buds. The Sunpatiens are also becoming mostly greenery. Do I trim imps to encourage new blooms? Deadheading has been done by the imps themselves-the blooms fall when done. I use MiracloGro fertilizer sparingly (once in past two months) on flowering potted plants. Any other tips for getting potted flowers to rebloom?

    • Diane,
      You seem to be doing most everything right to keep impatiens healthy and happy for the remaining growing season. The location is fine with the 1/2 day morning sun. You can give them a trimming in order to encourage new growth and eventually new blooms. Not much more I can advice as to getting the impatiens to rebloom. Good luck, Doug

    • Tasneem,
      Your Japanese Maple is doing what so many others are doing this time of year – including mine. Basically, Japanese maple trees do not like our summers with the high heat index and high humidity. Leaf scorching is common this time of year. Not much any of us can do. It is cosmetic damage only. Your Japanese Maple tree will survive. Doug

  5. Hi Doug,
    You mentioned pruning climbing roses what about shrub roses? should I dead head the buds after the pedals fall off. And when should I trim it down?

    • Sheryl,
      You can give shrub roses a slight trimming this time of year by cutting off the old buds. Pruning encourages new growth. It’s this new growth that will form flower buds and flower later this season. Take care, Doug

  6. Hi Doug?
    I have had 3 random episodes of a yellow substance (looks like spilled paint) in my garden area and in different spots. Ugh!! I have seen this once or twice in the past. Wish I’d thought of taking pics of this mystery substance, then I could have sent you a picture as I have done in the past.
    Any ideas as to what it could be?

    • Dianne,
      This is a common occurrence. It is a fungus, but usually a harmless fungus, that is growing now with all the heat and high humidity and with you watering the ground. The combination of wet soil, high heat, and high humidity leads to this fungus growth. I don’t think it is doing any harm to any plants. It’s just unsightly to see in the garden. Doug

    • Kerry,
      The best time to trim back azalea bushes is right after they finish blooming in the spring – even the Encore Azaleas. And, this is only if they need to be trimmed. I would not recommend trimming now. Azaleas have or soon will be forming their flower wood for next springs’ blooms. Pruning now will interfere with azaleas blooming. Personally, I like not to trim azaleas and let then grow in a more natural shape. Let me know if you have further questions. Doug

    • Ralph,
      Please don’t do anything to your hydrangeas until we determine the family type. Some hydrangeas bloom off of new growth and some varieties bloom off of old wood. You could be cutting off the blooms for next year. Two questions … – do you know the name or variety of hydrangea that you have? If not, what color is the bloom? Let me know and I will get back in touch with you as soon as possible. Thanks, Doug

  7. We had beautiful landscaping installed by Meadows Farms on 5/2/19. Unfortunately, other than mixed instructions to water, I did not get any further instructions on how to take care of my Japanese maple, 3 roses, 7 cryptomeria, 1 boxwood, 2 pieris. I am not a plant maven. HELP! I bought Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew, as recommended on your blog to spray the rose leaves against Japanese beetles. Wish I had known earlier before the leaves were pockmarked. You say to spray at night to spare the bees. I’m guessing, though, not when expecting rain. Yes? How often? Any advice regarding ensuring that these plants thrive and grow would be greatly appreciated.

    • Sigla,
      Yes, you will want to apply Dead Bug Brew once every 10 to 14 days – or until the Japanese Beetles have gone away for the season. Just in general, for the first year all newly planted plants needed to be “babied” with timely watering since their root system is still small and confined to a small area. A good, slow, thorough soaking should be applied no more than twice a week on the type of plants that you listed in your message. We don’t want you to over water the plants. Just send me a message whenever you have any further questions. Doug

  8. This spring we bought a seven foot Japanese Cherry tree from Meadows Farms that was infested with web worms. I got rid of the worms and the webs. Then came the Japanese beetles which I’ve also been dealing with. We’ve also had severe wind storms that took down some trees in the neighborhood. Since it is a new, young tree it’s been a lot of stress for it. Is there anything I can do to help improve the tree’s chances to survive?

    • Robin,
      This cherry tree has been through a lot since spring. But, they are tough plants. Newly planted plants go through a transition year. My advice is to be patient. Let it finish this current growing season. Then go dormant for the winter. And, see how it flowers next spring and grows next year. But, be aware that web worms and Japanese beetles are yearly problems and will need to be addressed. Doug

  9. Doug. I dust my roses with Sven dust to keep the June bugs from eating the leaves. What can I do to kill the eggs before they hatched?

    • Gary, Great timely question. The eggs will become the white grub worm larvae come this fall. Applying Milky Spore in early September will kill some, or many, of these grub worms before the burrow deep into the soil for the winter. Then in mid to late February apply another application of Milky Spore to the soil for control when the white grub worm begins to surface with the warming of the soil. Doug

  10. Hi Doug,
    I would like to try beetle traps to save my poor, battered roses from beetles. But I have a townhouse yard which is smaller than the 25 ft distance you recommend for traps.
    Please advise. What else can I do?

    • Janice,
      I understand your restrictions but I would suggest doing it anyhow. The more you catch the less damage being done to your roses. Doug

  11. Doug,
    With all due respect, doesn’t Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew kill caterpillars, moths, and their larvae?
    If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better if I were to use a product specific to Beatle larve?

    Michigan girl

  12. I would like to plant two tress in the mist of many egg-corn bearing trees(not sure of technical names..
    I prefer some evergreens to add privacy in winter, any suggestion of trees that wont compete with space. In addition the dirt is red and hard. Help

    • PJ,
      First, thank you for reading my blogs and then taking time to send me your question. As for evergreen suggestions to use as an “under – story” planting, I would look into planting large drowing evergreen shrubs that can be limbed up to look like a tree. For instance, Ligustrum lucidum would do well in this environment. Other plant thoughts for evergreens in this area would be planting rhododendrons, camellias, illicium, and bayberry. All these evergreen plants would do well as under-story plantings in reduced light. It is vital for the healthy of the plant and long term happiness that you can dig an adequate hole for these plants.
      You mention the soil. Here is where the old adage, “Dig a $100.00 hole for a $10.00 plant” applies. You want to dig a hole that is 2 to 3 times as WIDE as the plants’ root ball. And, you need to incorporate some good quality compost and blend this into the existing red clay. There’s another old adage “Plant it high, it won’t die. Plant it low, it won’t grow”. Because of the heavy, red clay you want to be sure to plant “high” to help ensure good drainage.
      Lastly, this is a good time to plan your strategy so you can take advantage of the upcoming fall planting season. Let me know if you have any further questions. Doug

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