July Yard and Garden Tips
Watch out for:
- Japanese beetles - these pests will defoliate plants in
short order. Keep a sharp lookout for them. If you find an
infestation use carbaryl (Sevin, etc.), which is very
effective. Observe all label precautions on mixing and use. Do not use
dusts due to the problem with application - a spray made using the
liquid form of the product will work fine. See
Japanese Beetle for more information.
- Fireblight - inspect fruit trees for fireblight. If you had problems with
fireblight last year, you will need to spray your blooms this year to
prevent the spread. The best defense is a fireblight-resistant
Fireblight for more information.
- Lawn diseases - continue watching for problems
with brown patch and dollar spot in warm season grasses, especially if
you had problems with one of them last year. See Brown Patch Disease of Lawns and Leaf Diseases of Lawns for more information.
- Chinch bugs - watch for chinch bugs in your warm season lawn. See Chinch Bugs for more information.
- White grubs - the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis does a
nice job on them, but it does take a little time to build up in the
White Grub Management in Turfgrass for more information.
- Mole crickets - inspect warm season lawns for mole crickets
this month. Eliminating these critters requires diligent work in June,
July, and early August. See Mole Cricket Management for the Home Lawn for more information.
Trees and Shrubs
- Bag worms - bag worms can kill a tree if it is heavily
infested. Inspect your trees periodically - bagworms seem to like
juniper, arborvitae, and pines, but they are will attack many broadleaf
shrubs and trees such as rose, sycamore, maple, elm, and black
locust.. Hand-picking light infestations works well; applying the
bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis will also take care of the problem.
Bagworms for more information.
- Garden insects - keep an eye out for corn earworm, cucumber beetle, and squash vine borer in the garden. See
Insect Pests of Sweet Corn and
Cucumber, Squash, Melon & Other Cucurbit Insect Pests for more information.
- Blossom end rot - check your tomatoes for blossom end rot
on the fruit as it begins to form. This is usually an indication of a
calcium deficiency. Place a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the
soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to prevent this. Foliar
sprays such as blossom end rot spray will also help alleviate the
problem. Nothing will "heal" the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them. See Tomato for more information.
Things to do:
- Spray fruit trees - continue spraying your fruit
trees with a fungicide (Captan, etc.) every 7 to 10 days to provide the
beautiful fruit you look forward to. Do not use any insecticides on
the trees until less than 10% of the blooms remain - you certainly do
not want to hurt your bee pollinators. The fungicide will have no
effect on them. After the blooms have fallen you may begin to also spray malathion insecticide.
- Lawn Fertilizer - you should apply nitrogen to Bermuda and zoysia lawns
this month. You can also apply iron to centipede lawns to encourage green color without excessive growth. See Fertilizing Lawns for more information.
- Fire ants - if you have not yet broadcast fire ant baits apply your first
treatment any time this month. Be sure to apply fresh
bait, and do it at the correct time of day (fire ants only forage
actively when the ground temperature is between 70 and 95 degrees F). See the Fire Ant Management in the Home Lawn and the State Fire Ant website for more information.
- Lawn Aeration - any time your warm season lawn is actively
growing is a good time to aerate. David Parker relates that you should
"aerate as long as you can stand it, then go over the yard once more." See Aerating Lawns for more information.
- Lawn Establishment - if you plan to plant a warm-season
(centipede, zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine) lawn, the best time to
plant is in the spring and summer. It's too late to plant Bermuda by
seed (unless you seed with
unhulled seed in the fall). Wait until next fall for cool-season
grasses (fescue). See Lawn Establishment for more information.
- Irrigation - your irrigation cycle should be in full swing by this time. See
the Home and Garden Center's irrigation publications for more information, especially the publication on Irrigation Time of Day. One inch per
week is the appropriate amount for most lawns and vegetables (except
sweet corn and yellow squash, which may require up to two inches
depending on growth stage). Include rainfall in this amount, and see How Much Water
to determine how much water you are actually applying. And make sure
that you adjust your water applications with plant growth stage and
time of year - one size definitely does not fit all for the entire
year. Also see Determining When to Irrigate to help determine when your plants need water. Do not irrigate every day! There are a few exceptions to this rule (such as potted plants), but only a few.
Trees and Shrubs
- Pruning - now is another good time to prune most trees and shrubs. July and August are the months to prune azalea,
dogwood, forsythia, redbud and rhododendron. They should be pruned
after they bloom, but before bloom set in the fall. Oakleaf
hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars might also be considered now.
Avoid any pruning in the spring and fall if at all possible.
See Pruning Trees and Pruning Shrubs
for more information.
- Vegetables - Some planting times for more common vegetables (See Planning a Garden for a full list and planting depths and spacings):
- Pole beans - Jul. 15 - 25
- Lima beans - Jul. 1 - 15
- Cabbage - Jul. 1 - 30
- Carrots - Jul. 1 - 30
- Collards - Jul. 1 - Aug. 30
- Cucumbers - Jul. 1 - 15
- Peppers - Jul. 20 - 25
- Irish potatoes - Jul. 1 - 15
- Squash - Jul. 1 - 20
- Tomatoes - Jul. 10 - 20
For more information for July, see
This Month in Your Garden's