Remember, lawns and established plantings need at least one inch of rain every week.
If it does not rain, then one slow watering is best.
Watering in the morning (5 a.m. to 10 a.m.) is best to prevent fungus and scorching.
If you live in an area with sandy soils, such as parts of Caroline and Dorchester counties, you will need to do this twice weekly.
Remember, don’t forget to check your container plantings — not only for water — but also to see if you need to add more potting soil or Leafgro.
Sometimes when planters are allowed to dry out too much, the soil will shrink away from the sides of the containers.
Here is a checklist to keep in mind for July:
Week 1
• Japanese Beetles are now present and mating. Place Beetle Traps at the corners of the property, away from desirable plants (roses, grapevines, flowering plums and cherries). We suggest using Bonide’s Yard and Garden Eight, Beetle Killer or liquid Sevin. These are contact killers and will last between ten and fourteen days;
• Pinch back chrysanthemums one last time to enjoy bushier plants and more flowers in the fall. New flower buds will start forming in late July or early August;
• This is a good time to cosmetically prune arborvitae, mugo pines and yews; and
• If your flowering annuals are faltering, it could be because of Auxin, a growth-regulating hormone. Prune back these plants to within 3 to 4 inches of the soil. Fertilize with Jack’s Classic Blossom-Booster, twice monthly. On alternating weeks, add one tablespoon of Epsom Salt per gallon of water. Epsom salt is loaded with micronutrients and beneficial minerals, making plants more lush and healthy.
Week 2
• Rake up all fallen fruit from around your trees to prevent disease and bee problems;
• Prune the spent blooms of your Rose of Sharon to promote re-blooming through autumn;
• If mosquitos are a problem, consider installing a bat house. They eat more than 500-600 mosquitoes an hour, as well as other nighttime insects. Also, remember to have no standing water sources for mosquitos to breed; and
• Prune the lateral shoots (side branches) of the wisteria to about 6 inches from the main vertical trunk. Do this every two to three weeks until Labor Day, to promote better flowering for next year.
Week 3
• Prune grape vines to allow for more air circulation around the fruit and to minimize the risk for a powdery mildew attack;
• Prepare your vegetable garden now for fall cool season vegetables. Work in composted manure and Leafgro to add organic matter and remember to check the soil pH which should be between 6.0 and 7.0;
• Check azalea plants for the next generation of lacebugs, which will syphon all the sugars from under the leaves of these plants. Use Bonide’s Systemic Insecticide once every week until October; and
• Inspect all of your plantings for disease and insect problems. These problems are at their peak this month with the hot and humid weather.
Week 4
• Harvest Dill and Fennel flower seeds when they turn brown. Allow them to dry, then store in an airtight container;
• Replenish the mulch in your flower beds where necessary to help keep the roots cool and help maintain the appropriate moisture levels. This is the hottest and driest time of the year and summer winds compound the problem;
• Everblooming roses like the “Knock-out” generally do not need deadheading. However, if they are not producing as expected, prune and deadhead and apply Espoma’s Rose-tone, per label instructions. You can also apply a water soluble fertilizer at half the label rate, once weekly until fall; and
• Keep your garden and flower beds well weeded. This helps conserve water and nutrients for your garden plants and flowers, and keeps your beds looking beautiful. Allowing them to go unchecked, weeds will quickly take over, producing thousands of new seeds.
If you have any questions or problems, bring us a plant sample and we will suggest the best course of action to take.
Happy Gardening!
(Editor’s Note: Ken Morgan is owner of Robin’s Nest Floral and Garden Center in Easton, Md.)