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July Gardening Tips

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Lawn

  • A 1/3rd of the growth should be removed when mowing warm season grasses.
  • Try to change direction when mowing your lawn.  This will help strengthen the roots system and expose different sides of the plant to sunlight.
  • Fertilize bermudagrass and St. Augustine lawns at a rate of 1 lb. nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft., equal to 6 lbs. of 16-4-8 per 1,000 sq. ft
  • Install a rain sensor to your irrigation system to avoid watering during or immediately after rain. Adjust irrigation applications according to rainfall, so that a total of 1″ of water is applied each week.

Trees, Shrubs and Flowers

  • Pinch off garden mums till mid-July to encourage branches and delay flowering until fall.
  • Many people have container gardens on their patios and porches. Container-grown plants can dry out quickly during these hot, summer days.  Daily watering may be necessary, however the soil shouldn’t be soggy or have standing water.  Apply water until it runs out the drainage holes.  Feel the soil in containers at least once a day and twice on hot, dry days to be certain that plants are getting enough water.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as azaleas, forsythia and hydrangeas as their blooms fade. Be sure to prune them by mid-July to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds.
  • Reduce the mosquito population by emptying standing water.   Mosquito larvae need only a small amount of water to grow. Empty  any open container of water, including saucers under plants and birdbaths, every two or three days to prevent larvae from reaching maturity.
  • A second application of slow release fertilizer is needed in mid summer for containers and flower beds

Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs

  • If you are growing herbs, remember to harvest before they flower for peak flavor or aroma. Pick herbs in the morning when the dew has dried off, when the aroma will be the most intense.
  • When watering vegetables from over head or with a sprinkler, the best time of day to water plants is early in the morning. Watering during mid-day allows excess water evaporation.  Avoid watering in late evening when the foliage can not dry before the sun sets.  Wet foliage on hot summer nights is a perfect environment for diseases to start.
  • Keep tomato plants mulched and evenly moist to reduce blossom end rot and cracking.
  • Certain pesticides have a waiting period of several days between the time of the last spray and harvest called “Harvest Interval Date.” Read and follow directions on all labels before applying to your vegetable crops. Wash all produce thoroughly before use.
  • Pick beans, squash and tomatoes regularly to increase production.
  • Remove lower suckers on tomatoes and lightly fertilize to keep production going.

Got gardening questions? Contact the Wayne County Extension Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. One can reach the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic by phone at 919-731-1433, e-mail at Master.Gardener@waynegov.com, or stopping by the Wayne County Extension Office at The Maxwell Regional Agricultural & Convention Center (3114B Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro).

Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.

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