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 variety. See 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 Japanese Beetle grubs, but it does take a little time to build up in the soil. Bacillus thuringiensis does not, however, control other types of grubs. See 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. See 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 Fire Ant Management in the Home Lawn 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