July gardening to-do list – Orlando Sentinel


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Average temperatures: High 92; low 73 Last quarter: July 1 New moon: July 9 First quarter: July 17 Full moon: July 23 Last quarter: July 31 2. Moon sign planting dates Above-ground crops: 9, 10, 13, 14, 18, 19 Below-ground crops: 3, 4, 5, 22, 23, 26, 27 31 Control weeds: 6, 7, 24, 25 Prune trees and shrubs: 1, 2, 11, 12, 20, 21, 28, 29, 30 3. Vegetables: Boniato, calabaza, cherry tomato, okra, Southern pea, Seminole pumpkin, sweet cassava, roselle, sweet potato and yard-long bean; start transplants of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes from seed in mid-July 4. Flowers: Angelonia, ageratum, begonia, blue daze, bush daisy, butterfly plant, bulbine, cat’s whiskers, coleus, crossandra, false heather, fire spike, gaillardia, ginger, goldenrod, impatiens, Joseph’s coat, lantana, marigold, melampodium, Mexican petunia, Mexican sunflower, moon flower, ornamental sweet potato, pentas, periwinkle, porter weed, portulaca, purslane, salvia, sunflower, torenia and classic zinnia 5. Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chive, dill, ginger, lemon balm, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme 6. Bulb-type plants: Achimenes, African iris, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, crocosmia, day lily, eucharis lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, peacock ginger, society garlic, spiderwort, rain lily and walking iris 7. July is a good time to fill in bare or now weedy spots left by drought or pests. 8. Summer fertilizer applications are prohibited in many areas; find out what is allowed. 9. Application of an iron-only product can help lawns keep their green color where permitted. 10. Mow once or twice a week to keep lawns at their proper height after normal growth. 11. Determine the proper height for your lawn type; grasses are mowed at different heights. 12. Adjust mower height over a flat sidewalk or driveway. 13. Mow in a different direction at each cutting to prevent ruts. 14. Avoid mowing when the lawn is hot and dry to prevent damage from mower wheels. 15. Summer weed control may cause turf decline; try spot treating weeds to avoid injury. 16. Learn to identify lawn weeds and use appropriate controls. 17. Seasonal rains often provide adequate moisture; water only during dry times. 18. Trim overgrown shrubs and turf grass hiding sprinklers to ensure proper watering. 19. Lawn moths can arrive anytime now; control sod webworms when chewing damage is noted. 20. Chinch bugs have been active in St. Augustine lawns; control at first sign of turf decline. 21. Learn about thatch in zoysia lawns; it can cause the turf to decline. 22. Check for mealybugs, billbugs and nematodes in zoysia lawns and treat as needed. 23. New lawns can be established from seed, sod or plugs. 24. Avoid sodding shady spots during the rainy season to prevent decline due to rot problems. 25. Grass is often hard to establish under trees due to shade and roots; select another ground cover. 26. Very few popular vegetables like the heat and rains; many planters rest their gardens. 27. Control weeds in and near the gardens that flourish with the rains. 28. Consider soil solarization during summer as a way to bake pests out of gardens. 29. Start tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds for mid-August transplants. 30. Make sure all gardens have daylong full sun exposure and a nearby water source. 31. Add organic matter to sandy soils and old garden sites to have them ready for planting. 32. Local compost, manures or commercial garden soils are good sources of organic matter. 33. Use only composted manures or till manures into the garden 90 days before planting. 34. Test the soil acidity of planting sites and adjust the pH as needed. 35. Remove declining crops to help eliminate pests before the next plantings. 36. Seldom is it worth continuing lingering tomato, peppers and eggplants into fall. 37. Feed summer vegetable plantings monthly or use a slow-release fertilizer as instructed. 38. Many herbs struggle during hot, wet summers; groom, feed lightly and keep a bit dry. 39. Locate or order seeds for late summer planting; place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. 40. Give fruiting trees and shrubs a mid-summer fertilizer application. 41. Select fruits you like to grow and add them to the landscape; make sure they stay moist. 42. Apply an insecticide and minor nutrient spray to citrus trees at each flush of new growth. 43. Keep figs moist, feed lightly and maintain a mulch to avoid summer fruit drop. 44. Prune blueberries when the harvest is over; also check and adjust the soil acidity. 45. Remove declining stems from black blackberries to allow new growths to restart the bushes. 46. Give fruit trees light trimmings as needed to direct growth. 47. Summer rains have stimulated lots of new growth; perform timely pruning as needed. 48. Don’t wear out your plants; allow them to grow a little or cut them back to grow new shoots. 49. Use of hand pruners to selectively remove stems or stem portions is the best way to trim plants. 50. Cold-damaged plants like hibiscus may need additional time to begin forming blooms. 51. Lower limbs can be removed from trees that interfere with traffic or work. 52. Groom roses to remove faded blooms, tall stems and declining portions. 53. New trees, shrubs and ground covers can be planted; keep the root balls moist. 54. Pruning time for azaleas and camellias is over; continue to prune gardenias and bougainvillea. 55. Hibiscus, crape myrtles and similar summer bloomers can be pruned, but you lose the color. 56. Remove 4-6 inches of new growth from poinsettias to encourage compact growth. 57. Prune hydrangeas to remove old flower clusters and reshape plants when the blossoms fade. 58. Hang orchids from trees and feed every other week for best growth and flowering. 59. Use easy-to-maintain container gardens as accents for entrances, porches and patios. 60. Feed outdoor container plantings every two weeks or use a slow-release fertilizer as labeled. 61. Daily rains may not completely moisten container gardens; check frequently for water needs. 62. Weeds grow as well as desired plants; pull, hoe or chemically control as needed. 63. Maintain mulch layers at 2-3 inches with trees and shrubs. 64. Delay transplanting established, in-ground trees and shrubs until late fall or winter. 65. Mushrooms are common during the rainy season; remove them if children or pets are present. 66. Divide and replant perennials, including shasta daises, gerbera, bromeliads and many bulbs. 67. Trim seed heads from spring-flowering annuals and perennials; save seeds for replanting. 68. Root 4-6-inch tip cuttings from shrubs and perennials. 69. Feed water gardens monthly and remove declining foliage and blooms. 70. Feed new and established palms every other month or use a slow-release fertilizer as labeled. 71. Many palms are declining due to diseases; sterilize pruners between palms to prevent the spread. 72. Leave as many green fronds on your palms as possible to keep them vigorous and healthy. 73. Prune hedges when the new growth reaches 6-12 inches, or allow them to grow naturally. 74. Mosquitoes are a concern when working in the landscape; apply repellents and coverup. 75. Empty water from pots, old tires and similar containers to help reduce mosquitos. 76. Consider low-light container gardens for long lasting indoor foliage displays. 77. Use foliage plants in shady areas of patios, at entrances and along walkways. 78. Groom and divide indoor plants to keep them attractive. 79. Trim overgrown house plants; use trimmings for cuttings. 80. Transplant root-bound foliage plants into larger containers. Bargain Hunter Newsletter Weekly Free stuff and good deals for frugal Floridians. 81. Make sure new containers and established plants have adequate drainage. 82. Adding pebbles or pieces of pots to the bottom of containers is still a good idea. 83. Feed home and outdoor foliage plants with a slow-release fertilizer as instructed. 84. Check for summer pests of mealybugs and scale insects; control with natural sprays. 85. Ask a friend to care for your plants during vacation or move them outside to a shady spot. Tom MacCubbin is an urban horticulturist emeritus with the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Write him: Orlando Sentinel, P.O. Box 2833, Orlando FL 32802. Email: [email protected] Blog with Tom at OrlandoSentinel.com/tomdigs.
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