Our first full month of Summer calls for reminders of tasks to complete, which is the basis of the Earth Works July Tips for Lawn and Garden.
-Closely Monitor Plant Watering Needs.
July Tips for Lawn and Garden could not be complete without a focus on watering. Manually adjust automatic irrigation watering schedules during frequent rainfall or install a rain sensor to prevent overwatering. The likelihood of rain increases in July, the second month of hurricane season. Too much water harms many of the landscape plants, the same as too little water. Monitor soil moisture in your gardening containers by pressing a finger into the soil as potted plants will dry out at a different rate than the surrounding soil. Excessive water will encourage fungus growth that can damage lawn and garden plants.
-Keep Weeds and Pests Under Control.
Winter weed pressure on the lawn and garden has been replaced with a seasonal crop of Summer weeds species possibly arriving from birds, insects, and the wind from adjacent properties. Post-emergent herbicides are commercially available for ridding your lawn of Summer weeds that have already gotten a foothold in the lawn. Hand-pulling weeds requires much more effort and is less likely to rid your lawn of every last weed for the season. However, organic gardeners typically prefer hand pulling or letting nature take its course in many instances. Earth Works Lawn Fertilization and Lawn Pest Control provides weed and pest control, including some hand-pulling of weeds.
-Maintain Plant Fertilization Schedules, Including Reduction in Nitrogen Lawn Fertilization.
July is a peak growing period for various plants with different fertilization needs. Many houseplants benefit from weekly balanced fertilization. Various heavy feeding plants in the landscape require monthly fertilization to grow and bloom to their full potential. However, we should likewise be mindful of reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus applied to lawn turf in the rainy season. This reduces the likelihood of your fertilizer contributing to stormwater runoff pollution that Florida county Fertilizer Blackout periods aim to prevent.
-Stake Growing Plants That Need Extra Support.
Wide varieties of plants benefit from staking up as Summers warmth and the ample water supply that July brings results in the rapid greening up and growing of plants that began in Spring. Periwinkles, Salvia, Pencil cactus, tomato plants, and hibiscus are examples of the wide variety of flowering plants, houseplants, vegetables, and shrubs that benefit from the support staking provides. Cages are also available and commonly used for vegetable staking but are available to support other plants in the landscape. Staking new trees to protect against their falling during high winds and hurricanes is also an important consideration.
Removing dead blooms, so-called deadheading, makes for prettier plants while strengthening them by eliminating the effort and energy consumption put out to convert flowers to seed. Taking flower cuttings indoors is another method that removes the need for some of the deadheading.
July is a great time to prune a wide variety of trees flush with new growth, some of which would be harmed by pruning at other times of the year. Remember the 3D rule of pruning: remove any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. Avoid over-pruning trees, such as so-called crape murder which results in weak new stem growth that has difficulty supporting their cascading flower clusters. Likewise, for palm frond pruning leave no less than a 9 and 3 configurations of the clock after pruning. Always be careful not to overdo it when pruning, as new growth benefits the tree’s health.
-Plant Summer Crops
Due to the scorching heat that’s caused tomato plants to wither, most of the vegetables recommended for growing in July are root crops. These include beets, broccoli, cabbage, collards, lettuce, radishes, and turnips. Herbs and other specialty crops can be grown in containers placed in areas protected from the worst elements of Summer. Meanwhile, we hope you’ve enjoyed a bountiful harvest from your late Winter and Spring plantings. Also, review the recommendations for July plantings from the University of Florida.
-Replace cold-season annuals with warm-season varieties for Summer and Fall color.
While some of us still have Dusty Millers standing tall from last Winter, most cold-season annuals, including violets and petunias, have long since withered. Warm-season annuals include Begonias, Caladiums, Gazanias, Marigolds, Pentas, Salvia, and Sunflowers. Plant these directly in the ground or containers for festive colors that brighten moods through the holiday season. For planting ideas see our July Container Gardening Recipe.
-Mulch flower beds
The value of mulching wraps up our July Tips for Lawn and Garden. Mulch is helpful for more than curb appeal and protecting plants’ roots from the cold. During the summer, mulch in garden beds reduces solar radiation on the soil, helps maintain moisture, and reduces soil erosion. Pine straw used as mulch has the added benefit of quickly degrading and adding organic matter to the earth that’s typically in short supply and vital for healthy soil ecology.
-Keep detailed records of what did well in the garden.
Before memories get fuzzy, keep detailed records of what did well this Spring & Summer to better plan for a future growing season. Some areas of the yard may receive too much or too little sun for your new plantings. With this knowledge, you can do better next year. What types of fertilizers and frequency of use worked best for your desired results? What kinds of pests did you encounter, and did your pest management methods work well or need tweaking given the same situation next year? Documenting the questions and answers that are important to your gardening effort will help you grow a more successful garden and landscape in the future.
For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden, and landscaping needs, contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online or at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.
Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.