July Gardening Chores and Thoughts


Here we are in July, the “DOG DAYS OF SUMMER!” You may be asking yourself, why summer is called the dog days of summer? Good question! This year, July 3rd through August 11th are the official dog days of summer. This period of time is in reference to the star SIRIUS. The Romans referred to this star as the “dog star.” But the dog days of summer are the hot and humid period of summer, which is right now.

Before we get into the chores for July, let’s first re-cap June. The bottom line is that June was not a great month for gardeners. June was hot and dry—not a good combination for our plants. For most garden centers, July and August are two of the slowest months for retail. It only stands to reason because most homeowners do not want to garden in this heat and humidity. I understand this reasoning. However, you can still plant in July. It just takes a little more diligence to keep these new plantings watered.


  • July can continue to be hot and dry. Be sure to use sensible and conservative watering habits to care for your plants and lawn. We need to respect water, this precious resource, and not abuse it. MY BLOG NEXT WEEK WILL BE ON TIPS FOR THE HOME GARDENER FOR A WATER-WISE GARDEN!
  • If your Bearded Iris is like mine, it has finished blooming. Now is an excellent time to dig up and divide. Give away these extra iris rhizomes to family, friends, or neighbors.
  • Check on your needled evergreens, such as spruce and junipers. Check for spider mites. Evidence will be pale green coloration, brown needles, and tiny white webbing. If you suspect mites, take a white sheet of paper out to the plant and shake foliage onto the white paper. Then, inspect the debris on the paper closely. Look for any small dots moving around on the paper. If so, these are spider mites. If this is the case, you can regularly hose down the plants with water. You can make a soap and water solution and give your plants a soapy water bath. Or, you can buy a recommended miticide.
  • When it is hot and dry, our shade trees shed some leaves. Don’t panic. It is a natural process for the trees to adjust to dryness.
  • Those doing organic vegetable gardening should stay on top of weeding. Hand-pulling is the best. A layer of mulch in the garden and around the plants can help with weeds. This mulch can help reduce water evaporation, keep the roots moist longer between waterings, and keep the roots cooler.
  • July is an excellent month to give your flowering annuals a trim (if needed). This trimming will encourage new growth and more blooms. Remember to keep feeding your annuals. Use a fertilizer that has a higher middle number. This middle number represents phosphate. Phosphate helps develop a robust root system and helps with flower production.


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