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Landscaping - July Gardening Tips from Pikes
Date Posted: Jul 01, 2005
 
In the southeast, gardening is not an activity often associated with the summer season because of our heat and humidity. Although it is not the most comfortable season of the year to work in your yard, it is the time of year when your plants, trees and turf grasses are actively growing and developing above the ground. For this reason, they will require some attention if they are to continue to thrive, but be sure to use common sense when working outdoors in this heat. The best time to work in the yard is in the early morning or evening. Wear loose, light colored clothing, drink plenty of fluids and take a break indoors when needed.
  • Providing plants with enough water is the #1 gardening concern during the summer months. If rainfall is scarce, give your plants a deep, thorough watering about once a week. Shrubs, bedding plants and turf grasses need one to two inches of water per week. To gauge the amount of water your plants receive, place an empty standard size tuna can in the yard. One inch of water will fill the can halfway. Two inches of water will fill the can to the top.
  • Mow your lawn at least once a week to keep your turf grass at the proper height. Never remove more than one-third of the grass blades at any one time or browning can occur. Also, allow your grass to grow slightly taller during the summer season. Taller grass forms deeper roots and deeper roots require less water. Maintain Fescue at a height of 2 to 2 ½ inches in the summer. Maintain Bermuda at 1 to 1 1/2 inches tall. Centipede and Zoysia grasses should be maintained at 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall.
  • It is not a good idea to fertilize shrubs, Fescue grass or Centipede grass at this time of year. If your plants or these turf grasses are yellow, apply a product such as Ironite according to package directions. Ironite's micro-nutrients promote a healthy green color without encouraging a lot of new growth. The more growth the plant has, the more water it needs.
  • Our hot, humid weather provides the perfect environment for certain fungi. Brown Patch and Dollar Spot in lawns and Powdery Mildew on shrubs like Crape Myrtle are common fungal diseases at this time of year. To control these diseases, treat your lawn and plants with an appropriate fungicide as directed on the label.
  • Remove dead Crape Myrtle blooms as they occur and you may be rewarded with a second flush of blooms.
  • Revitalize your summer annuals. Deadhead or pinch off old blooms to prevent seed production and pauses in blooming. You can also cut back leggy or overgrown annuals by one-third to one-half to encourage fuller, more compact plants. When watered and fertilized on a regular basis, the annual plants should rebound and begin to bloom again in seven to ten days.
  • Prune fall-blooming perennials back by about one-third. This will result in fuller plants. If not pruned back, many fall perennials will become leggy and require support. Asters, Chrysanthemums and others produce their flower buds when daylight hours begin to shorten in the fall.
  • Create a back yard oasis. Pike Stone and Aquatics Centers have all the materials you need to build a flagstone walkway, stone wall, rock garden or garden pond.
  • Control mosquitoes and other insects by emptying all standing water. Empty your bird baths at least once a week and refill with fresh water. Also…did you know that a single bat can consume 600 to 1000 insects per hour? Don't be deterred by old Dracula movies. Bats are really very useful creatures to have around during the summer months. Consider putting up a bat house to lure these nocturnal mosquito munchers to your yard.
  • Got weeds? Unfortunately, mid-summer is not the ideal time to apply weed killers. They work best when temperatures are 85 degrees or less. If weeds are a problem at this time of year, pull them up by hand, dig them up with a spade or spot treat them with a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup, according to package directions. One of the best defenses against lawn weeds is to keep your turfgrass healthy. Mow it often and keep your grass well-fed and adequately watered. Properly maintained lawns thrive and will eventually choke out most weeds.
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