July Gardening Tip

Summer roses:

july1_lgRoutinely check your roses for insect damage; mites can infest roses stressed by heat and drought. Fine webbing on twigs and leaf stems is evidence of the presence of mites. They require an application of Neem oil or insecticidal soap as directed on product label. Make sure you are keeping up with your fungicidal sprays every two weeks for black spot. Keep up with your routine pruning check for damaged or broken canes, dead twigs, and faded flowers removing them and any debris that falls to the ground to prevent more disease. Continuous bloomers such as Meidiland, Carefree and Knockout do not require deadheading to maintain flower production but it does improve appearance and helps keep shrubs compact. Prune early blooming climbers and ramblers after flower drop. This will give the roses time to set buds on new wood for next year.

Summer annuals maintenance:

As your annuals get established and start to bloom, it is a good time to add a light layer of mulch. Start by pulling any weeds that are present in the bed, then apply about an inch layer of peat moss or coco shells; these products are light and will let water and air through to the root systems. This will help with evaporation and hold more moisture at the root systems; it will also keep ground temperatures cooler. This is also a good time to give this plant a good shot of fertilizer by spraying the foliage with a diluted kelp-based fertilizer; follow instruction on the label. Some annuals are self cleaning and the flower petals just drop off, but some varieties need to be deadheaded. Decaying flowers promote fungus and disease so deadheading some of the larger ones (Geraniums, Petunias, Salvias, Ageratum, Snapdragons, Sunflower, and Marigolds) is very important. Pinching back Petunias, Begonias, Impatiens, Lantana, and Coleus will produce shorter, stockier plants that will produce more flowers. Staking of larger annuals will keep them from getting knocked down by wind and rain. Start with stakes about a foot taller than the plant, pushing them into the ground right next to the plant, and tie the plant loosely to the stake with soft twine.

Japanese beetles:

Some years, these beetles are more abundant than others. This insect can be very destructive. As these adult beetles emerge from the turf, they start to feed on a wide range of plants from trees and shrubs to perennials to annuals. Pheromone traps really do work by attracting more beetles; however, do you really want to attract more beetles to your property? We recommend just picking them off and putting them in a plastic bag and disposing of them. If their numbers overwhelm you, try spraying with Neem or a pyrethrum-based insecticide labeled for Japanese beetles. By August, they will lay their eggs in the lawn. These eggs hatch and become white grubs that will feed on turf roots until it gets cold, and then they head deeper into the soil to overwinter. By spring, they are back up feeding on turf roots until they emerge again in July. Grubs can be very destructive. The best way to check for grubs is to grab a hand full of turf; if it easily pulls out, there is a good chance you have a large population of grubs. There are a number of lawn applications to control this problem; check with your local garden center for these products. Keeping your lawn height taller, at about three inches, will discourage the beetles from laying eggs in your turf. Also, aerating and overseeding your lawn will take some of these grubs out..