July is the Month to…
Home lawn and garden tips for the month of July, 2016 include practical and timely advice. Read this monthly resource to know how to keep annuals looking their best, how to create a cut flower arrangement, how to make watering more efficient, how to protect blueberries from birds, and more.
- Keep your annuals looking their best by deadheading spent blooms and trimming back any plants that have become leggy. To avoid missing out on blooms, trim back a couple of branches per week instead of trimming all branches at once. Plants can also be trimmed back by a third. It is also a good time to fertilizer container plantings to encourage new growth. If plants have become too overgrown, consider replacing them with a new plant or adding a pop of color.
- Trim tall-growing late season perennials such as aster by the first week of July for more compact plants. Tall-growing flowers, such as delphinium, should be staked to prevent wind damage. Early blooming perennials can be cut back by 1/3 to 1/2 for a tidier appearance, to encourage new growth, and to encourage the possibility of more blooms.
- Create a cut flower arrangement from your garden or landscape. Cutting flowers can encourage additional bloom with some plants. Don’t forget that foliage can be a great addition to an arrangement; consider plants such as hosta for an interesting foliage addition. Coneflower, black-eyed susans, dahlias, sunflowers, cosmos, bee balm, phlox, and yarrow are all great cut flowers.
- Keep up with weeding in your landscape beds and garden. Any weeds that go to seed can result in an even bigger weed problem next year!
- Divide daylilies and iris after they have finished blooming. Mature iris should be divided every 3-4 years or if flowering has decreased from crowding. Rhizomes can be cut apart with a sharp knife. When dividing the clump, new rhizomes should have some roots, 3-4” of rhizome and a fan of leaves. Soft rhizomes can be a sign of problems such as borers or root rot, and should be discarded.
- Consider your water applications. Could they be more efficient? Watering early in the day can help reduce water lost to evaporation. More directed water applications are also more efficient; use drip irrigation or a soaker hose. Keep in mind that mid-day overhead irrigation can cause leaf burn as the water droplets evaporate from leaf surfaces. Remember that containers dry out faster than plants in the ground. Plants that have been installed within the last 3 years should be monitored for signs of stress and given extra water during dry periods.
- Protect blueberries from birds, which find the fruit as tasty as we do. When constructing a protective net frame, remember to account for plant growth (blueberries can grow 6’ or taller). If not constructing a frame, use poles or stakes so that netting does not lie directly on the plant.
- Start canning or freezing your garden harvest! The following UMass Extension Fact Sheet on Harvesting Vegetables has great information on the optimum time for harvesting vegetables.
- Herbs can be used fresh, or preserve by freezing or drying for later use.
- Start planning for your fall vegetable garden. Seeds can be sown in July for a fall harvest of carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, and other greens.
- Provide a fresh water source for birds and butterflies. Butterflies prefer a shallow puddle or pool. Change this water frequently to avoid stagnant water and mosquito problems.
Amanda Bayer, Sustainable Landscape Horticulture, University of Massachusetts
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