Plant the following vegetables no later than July 20 to allow time to mature before frost: tomatoes, peppers, okra, corn, cucumbers, squash, snap beans, pole beans and lima beans.
Divide and reset oriental poppies after flowering as the foliage dies.
If you want to try your hand at fall potatoes, plant by the 15th.
Plant zinnia seed by July 4 for late blooms in annual border.
Many perennials and biennials can be started now from seed, then set out in the fall in nursery beds.
Plant a cover crop in bare spots in the vegetable garden
Apply no fertilizers to trees and shrubs after July 4. Fertilizing late may cause lush growth susceptible to winter kill.
Fertilize container plants every 2 weeks with a water soluble solution.
Apply fish emulsion according to label directions when pepper plants begin to bloom.
Spread a couple of inches of compost over asparagus beds. Remember to keep the soil moist.
Time to put down your second and last fertilizer application on centipede. Fertilize zoysia lawns now with a 26-4-12 lawn fertilizer.
Check azaleas and camellias for iron chlorosis (pale green leaves, darker green veins). If necessary, use copper or iron chelate to correct iron deficiency.
Clip the flower stalks off garlic. Once the leaves have turned brown, garlic can be harvested.
Cut back about three quarters of the new growth on thyme plants regularly throughout the summer.
Perennials that have finished blooming should be deadheaded. Cut back the foliage some to encourage tidier appearance.
Keep deadheading spent annual flowers for continued blooms.
Don’t pinch mums and asters after mid-July or you may delay flowering.
Prune climbing roses and rambler roses after bloom.
Semi-hardwood cuttings of spring-flowering shrubs can be made now.
Summer pruning of shade trees can be done now.
Prune summer-flowering shrubs as soon as the blossoms fade.
Do not prune azaleas and rhododendrons after the second week of July for they soon will begin setting their buds for next year’s blooms.
Pinch basil periodically if you don’t harvest it weekly. Pinching keeps it from flowering and ensures a full, bushy-looking plant.
Keep cukes well watered. Drought conditions will cause bitter fruit.
Newly planted trees and shrubs should continue to be watered thoroughly, once a week. Water frequently enough to prevent wilting.
Early morning irrigation allows turf to dry before nightfall and will reduce the chance of disease.
During long dry periods, soak the garden thoroughly once a week; don’t just sprinkle daily. Light, frequent irrigation helps only during the period of seed germination.
To keep hanging baskets looking attractive, soak the baskets in a tub of water every few days in addition to the regular daily watering.
Be sure to make arrangements for neighbors to harvest and water your garden while you are on vacation.
Check water hoses while they’re under full water pressure. Look for leaky connections. Repair as needed.
Trade out the sprinkler. Where possible, install soaker hoses or a drip-tube system; both deliver water directly to soil.
At least monthly, observe automatic irrigation systems in action. Make sure you’re not watering hard surfaces such as sidewalks or driveways.
Add a rain barrel to catch runoff from rooftops. Install the largest barrel you can afford. Choose one with a cover to prevent wildlife or children from falling in. Make sure the water-release spout is situated high enough to allow rain water to flow into the watering container of choice.
Install a timer on sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems. If you purchase a timer, look for one that includes a rainfall shut-off device. New wireless timers gather weather data from the local weather observation stations and adjust watering frequency accordingly.
Use all chemicals – for insects, weeds or nematodes – according to label directions.
If you see white butterflies flitting among your vegetables, you’ll soon spot green worms feasting on cabbage family crops (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts). Treat plants with Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural bacterium. Caterpillars consume Bt when they munch on treated leaves and the bacteria kill them.
If you’re dealing with flea beetles or Mexican bean beetles on vegetables, dust crops with a pesticide such as carbaryl or spray an organic control like pyrethrum. Be sure to coat leaf undersides.
Apply final treatment for borers on hardwood trees.
Apply second spray to trunks of peach trees for peach borers.
Continue attracting insect-eating birds to the garden area by providing them with a fresh water source. Keep feeders and baths clean.
Fall webworms begin nest building near the ends of branches of infested trees. Prune off webs. Spray with Bt if defoliation becomes severe.
Hot, dry weather is ideal for spider mite development. With spider mite damage, leaves may be speckled above and yellowed below. Evergreen needles appear dull gray-green to yellow or brown. Damage may be present even before webs are noticed.
Keep weeds from making seeds now. This will mean less weeding next year.
Monitor lawns for newly hatched white grubs. If damage is occurring, apply appropriate controls, following product label directions.
Remove infected leaves from roses. Pick up fallen leaves, but do not place in compost. Continue fungicidal sprays as needed.
Powdery mildew is unsightly on lilacs, but rarely harmful. Shrubs grown in full sun are less prone to this disease.
Spray hardy phlox with fungicide to prevent powdery mildew.
Spray hollies for leaf miner control.
To minimize insect damage to squash and cucumber plants, try covering them with lightweight, floating row covers. Remove covers once plants flower.
Insecticidal soaps will help control aphids and other soft-bodied insects early on. Malathion is a good all-round material for aphids and red spider mites, and gives some worm control. Carbaryl (Sevin) is another effective material, especially for bean beetles, tomato and corn earworms, cucumber beetles and pickleworms. Bt (Dipel, Thuricide) is an excellent biological control for cabbage worm or cabbage looper.
To control weeds, use a mulch. Deep cultivation after plants are older will do more damage than good.
Store pesticides in a safe place in their original containers, away from children and pets. Use them carefully in your garden. Read the labels and follow the directions. The warnings and precautions are for your protection.
Control mosquitoes by eliminating all sources of stagnant water.
Clean off harvested vegetable rows immediately to prevent insect and disease buildup.
Till and mulch soil to conserve moisture for germination of fall crops and to help reduce the nematode population in the soil.
Know your limitations with gardening activities. Most heat-related incidents happen while someone is doing an activity. If you feel weak, stop, get to a shaded area and get hydrated.
Drink lots and lots of water. Hydration is key to keep from having a heat-related illness. An 8-ounce bottle of water an hour when outside will be effective.
Wear SPF 50 sunscreen when expecting to be outside for long periods of time. Sunburn is a stress on your body and enough of it will put you in enough pain to keep you inside for a very long time.
If you have a pre-existing condition that may cause you to have a heat-related illness, you need to wear a med-alert bracelet or necklace.
Check garden centers for markdowns on remaining plants.
Harvest onions and garlic when the tops turn brown.
Replace mulch as needed.
Houseplants, including amaryllis, can spend the summer outdoors in a sheltered location with filtered bright light (not direct sun). Feed regularly.
Don’t bag or rake clippings; let them lie on the lawn to return nitrogen to the soil.
Don’t let the compost heap dry out completely, or it will not "cook." Turning it to aerate will also hasten decomposition, but things will rot eventually even if not turned.
Start planning the fall garden.
Keep lawns at about 3 inches to protect from summer heat.
Clean up fallen fruits under trees.
Maintain a 3- to 4-inch mulch layer around trees and shrubs to protect them from mower and weed whacker damage. Don’t place the mulch too close to the trunk.
Bats help control mosquitoes; attract these friendly mammals with bat houses.
Divide spring and early summer perennial including daffodils, daylilies, iris, etc., and replant the best clumps. Discard the diseased or damaged material, and share any surplus with friends.
Low areas in the lawn may be gradually filled with shallow applications of good top soil where needed. Avoid temptation to apply a layer of sandy loam over the entire lawn area just because your neighbor does.
At this time of year, you might find a beautiful flower on some plant in your garden and you just want to save the seed. Tie a piece of string around the stem so you can identify it later and very carefully remove the other flowers from the plant as they fade. Then, when the seed is ready, you can cut the stem bearing the seed. After leaving it in a warm dry place for a few days, carefully separate out the seeds and put them away for another day. They should be kept perfectly dry. This is one technique towards creating your own special garden. Don’t forget to label them!
Be on the lookout for suckers coming from the roses in your garden. Where roses grow on their own roots, maybe reared from cuttings, there should be no suckers at all. But many roses we buy have been grafted to a stronger root stock and sometimes this root stock will send out suckers. Any suckers from the roots, or from the stem below the graft, should be carefully removed as far below the surface of the soil as possible.
Cutting flowers is best done with sharp shears or a knife which will help avoid injury to the growing plant. A slanting cut will expose a larger absorbing surface to water and will prevent the base of the stem from resting on the bottom of the vase. It is best to carry a bucket of water to the garden for collecting flowers, rather than a cutting basket.
Harvest often to get vegetables at the proper stage of maturity. If left to mature fully, the plant will stop producing. Early morning harvest, before vegetables absorb heat from the sun, is best for most vegetables.