Before I get into the list of garden chores for July, here we are in the first few days of July and I want to talk about being too wet.  Go figure.  In the past, I would be writing and talking to customers about being water-wise and conserving water.  Not this year.  May and June have set records for rainfall.  We are approximately 14 inches above average.  I love the fact that our rivers, streams, reservoirs, and underground aquifers are full this time of year.  But, there is a downside to all this rain.

One concern with all this rainfall is all the mushrooms growing in our lawns and mulch beds.  Some of these mushrooms can be poisonous to animals.  Southside SPCA has reported the death of two dogs due to ingesting these mushrooms.  Hopefully, with some drying days ahead we will see less of these mushrooms growing in our lawns and gardens.

Another downside to all this rainfall is fungus on our desirable plants.  I have been talking to customers about powdery mildew and gall.  Just be on the lookout and spray with a fungicide if detected.

Yet another downside to all this rainfall is what it is doing to our vegetable gardens.  Tomatoes and squash and cucumbers are rotting on the vines.  I advise picking off any affected fruit so the plant does not put any more energy into growing these inedible fruits.

ALERT!!!!  JAPANESE BEETLES ARE HERE!!  Some customers are at a loss as to what to do.  They have never experienced this number of Japanese Beetles as they are this year.  Beetle traps are a good defense to use now.  Keep in mind that Japanese Beetles will be with us for another 2 to 3 weeks.  During this time period, they can eat up some of our plants – especially crape myrtles and roses.

Now to the listing of July garden chores:

1.        For the organic gardener – focus on keeping your vegetable garden weed free.  Handpick the weeds.  If allowed to grow weeds will rob your garden of water and nutrients.

2.       If July turns out to be a hot, dry month be sure to water your vegetable and flowering gardens.  Water early in the morning in order to reduce evaporation.  Always deep water plants when watering.  It is not a good practice to water more frequently with shallow watering.

3.       Don’t pinch back your mums after mid-July.  Let your mums begin forming flower heads for fall blooming.

4.       July is a good month to dig up and divide bearded iris.  Be sure to discard the old center portion or any suspicious rhizomes.

5.       July is an excellent time to give your flowering annuals a trim (if needed).  Trimming blooming annuals will encourage new growth and more blooms.  Also, once pruned, it is a good practice to feed your flowering annuals.

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