July Gardening Tips

July is a slower planting time compared to spring in Southern California. Most of us have finished our annual planting & veggie gardens in preparation for the summer months of BBQs and lazy evenings in the backyard. If you haven’t done this, don’t worry; there’s still time! Just because the weather is warming doesn’t mean we can’t plant! Use July to finish planting those warm season veggies you love for a late fall harvest. Plan ahead; choose what to plant in August from seed. Watering is our biggest chore this month! Everything except some California Natives needs watering. Remember to use best practices when watering; irrigate thoroughly, long and deep but not frequently. Mulching is a great way to reduce evaporation and help to conserve water.


What to Plant

  1. You can still plant some annuals and perennials in your summer gardens. For annuals, try marigolds, portulaca, and zinnias for that huge splash of color. For perennials, and even more color, plant coreopsis, gaura, rudbeckias (Irish Eyes, etc), salvias, and many more.
  2. You can start biennials from seed this month. It is best to sow biennial seeds in mid-summer so that the plants will develop during the summer and fall. After exposure to the winter cold, they will develop flowers in the spring. Try foxglove, Canterbury bells and hollyhocks.
  3. Tropical plants are popular now and can be brought into any garden in coastal zones from now through August. If you live inland, get them in now as it is getting too hot. Flowering shrubs include hibiscus, brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpet), canna, bougainvillea, and vines such as passion flower or Burmese honeysuckle. Large-leaf evergreens include philodendrons, xanadu, tree ferns, and gingers. You can even include abutilon, which comes in several colors including red, yellow, orange, and pink.
  4. Continue to purchase and plant succulents, cacti, and euphorbias.
  5. If you didn’t plant tuberous begonias in spring, you can now find them in bloom at your local nursery in full bloom.
  6. Plant a warm season lawn for better drought tolerance. AmSod Tifgreen Hybrid Bermuda uses up to 30% less water than fescues. The St. Augustine variety is aggressive, low growing and the most shade tolerant.
  7. Make another planting of warm season vegetables this month for fall harvest.— lima and snap beans, beets, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, oakleaf and other heat-tolerant and bolt-resistant lettuces, melons, okra, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, New Zealand spinach, summer and winter squash, and tomatoes.


Harvest Time

Harvest your summer vegetables as soon as they are ready. Don’t let them rot and drop to the ground. This can bring insect and cause disease. See when to harvest.

Feeding and Maintenance


Lawns

  1. When figuring out your mowing schedule, remember that grasses grow at different rates throughout the year. The key to good mowing practices is to mow higher in warm weather and to mow less often when the roots are growing more slowly.
  2. Cool season lawns such as fescue, bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass are growing slowly now, so they need less frequent mowing. Perennial ryegrass and bluegrass should be cut at about 2 inches. Tall fescue should be cut a little higher, 2 to 3 inches. Remember these grasses grow slowly during the summer so little or no fertilizer is needed.
  3. Warm Season Lawns such as bermuda, zoysia & St. Augustine are growing at their fastest now; they thrive in the warm summer heat. This means they need more frequent mowing. Bermuda and zoysia should be cut short, 0.5 to 0.75 inches. Cut St. Augustine to 2 inches. All warm season grasses should be watered deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Feed warm season grasses every six to eight weeks during the growing season with one of the many BEST® fertilizers available or use an Organic such as Dr. Earth® Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer. Careful about over feeding or you could spend your summer behind your lawnmower. Regular consistent care is the key to a strong, healthy lawn. Water immediately after application. Use Bayer Season Long Weed Control for Lawns to control broadleaf weeds.
  4. Lawn Fungus – watch for lawn fungus as the weather gets hotter. Never water in the evening as this can cause fungus to grow. Use Bayer® Fungus Control for Lawns or Spectracide® Immunox® to prevent and control.


Plants, Trees and Shrubs

  1. BENEFICIAL INSECTS such as the almost decollate snails, praymantis, ladybugs, etc. keep other insect pests away from your vegetable gardens by eating aphids, scale, and other annoying intruders. You can use beautiful flowers to tempt these garden friends into your garden. Try putting some of these flowers near to your rose garden for aphid control!
  2. VEGETABLES – To be successful planting vegetables in mid-summer, pay special attention to watering. In hot weather, newly planted seeds and seedlings may need to be watered more than once a day. Make sure plants are heavily mulched. When planting nursery transplants, push a wooden shingle into the ground on the west side of the plant so it’s shaded during the hottest part of the day.

    Protect from insects – they can devastate young vegetables in mid-summer. Cover planted seeds with floating row covers to protect young plants from insects. Allow artichoke to go dormant until fall by eliminating watering. Continue to harvest your veggies as they mature. Make sure not to let old veggies and fruits stay rotted on the plant or ground for long. It will only bring insect and disease.

  3. HERBS – Deep water plants such as basil, mint, Yerba mansa, Gota kola, horsetail, comfrey and other water-loving herbs. Do not overwater herbs such as rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme and aloe.
  4. FRUIT TREES & VINES – Monitor soil moisture within the root zone and irrigate when soil begins to dry at a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Apply enough water to leach salts below the plant roots periodically. Support limbs that have a heavy fruit load. Harvest fruit as soon as it ripens. Remove all rotting fruit. Keep ants off trees by wrapping with heavy paper around the trunk and apply Tanglefoot®. You can use Ant Pro® Bait with station to wipe out whole colonies of ants. Inspect new leaves for signs of iron and zinc deficiency (yellowing between the veins). Apply a micro-nutrient if needed. Prune out blackberry and raspberry canes that have borne fruit.
  5. ROSES – Water is very important during the hot summer months. Be sure to water at least three times a week, more often if temperatures exceed 84 degrees. In very hot weather, roses can lose water faster from the leaves than they are able to draw it up from the roots. If you see wilting, this is a sign that your roses are not getting adequate water. Deadhead summer blooms and prune. Cut the stem far enough down to support the next rose. Roses also consume food faster in hotter weather. In extremely hot weather growth is slowed considerably and less food is needed. Read the package directions for feeding. Try Dr. Earth® Rose & Flower food.
  6. PLUMERIAS – Fertilize growing plumerias once a month with low nitrogen, high phosphorous plant food, using one tablespoon per gallon pot. Try Gro Power® Flower N’ Bloome 3-12-12. When no moisture is present on the top two inches of a container, water until it runs out the bottom. Don’t use an under dish. Give plumerias full sun.
  7. CAMELLIAS – Now is the time to give your camellias their third feeding of your annual program! March should have been your first feeding. You gave them more food in May and you will do so this month. The rule of thumb is to feed camellias six to eight weeks after the last blooms fall. Feed again six to eight weeks later, then one more feeding six to eight weeks after the last. Try Dr. Earth® or Lilly Miller® Camellia and Azalea Food.

    It is also recommended to add Iron Chelate at this time. Watch for aphids and hose them off with a spray of water. Keep well watered, but not soggy. Inconsistent watering is the reason for bud drop during the bloom season.

  8. FUCHSIAS – Continue regular feeding of fuchsias with a high phosphorus fertilizer for buds and bloom. When the flowers of most fuchsias fade, they fall off the plant but they leave behind their seed pod. Pinch off these pods (often called berries). This will encourage the plant to keep blooming. Misting can help keep the plant cool in the heat. Avoid over-watering; keep roots damp but not soggy.
  9. DAHLIAS – Cut old blossoms back to the first leaves of the main stalk to prolong blooming. Disbud to encourage better blooms. Tie canes to prevent plants from breaking. Spray for insects and mildew. Continue to control snails and slugs. Fertilizer with a 5-10-10 fertilizer or similar.
  10. PELARGONIUMS – Avoid unnecessary pruning but continue to remove dead leaves. Watch for geranium rusts if humidity is in the forecast for several days. Use Spectracide® Immunox® to treat. Deadhead as soon as blooms pass their peak. Do not let plants dry out. Water in the early morning or early evening for best water retention. Some plants will stop blooming if allowed to dry out. Fertilize with an all purpose plant food every 2-3 weeks when they are actively growing. Use a synthetic insecticide if budworms should be a problem. Protect plants from sun.
  11. ORCHIDS – Protect from sun. Protect sensitive cloud forest orchids from heat and dryness by watering more often and providing more shade. Fertilizer steady as plants are in active growth. Add more moss to mounted plants that show signs of dehydration. Wrinkled yellow leaves are a sign of dehydration. Protect from pests such as scale, aphids, cottony mealy bugs, spider mites and other sucking insects by using an insecticidal soap such as Safer® Insecticidal Soap.
  12. ANNUALS & PERENNIALS – When annuals or perennials get leggy or scraggly, consider cutting them back by one-third or more. With some plants, this not only makes them look neater, but it also often encourages a fresh flush of growth and/or bloom.
  13. BROMELIAD – Protect bromeliads from burning during the hot weather by making sure they have enough shade. You can do this with shade cloth. Propagate bromeliads by cutting off pups when they are one-third to one-half the size of the mother plant.
  14. IRIS – Dig over-crowded clumps. Divide and prepare to plant rhizomes. Refresh your prepared beds for planting. Use amenities such as fertilizer, peat moss, compost, gypsum and new topsoil in beds. Mix the soil well and let bed stand for about a week before replanting. Iris can remain out of the ground three weeks or more before replanting. Plant rhizomes with the top quarter showing above the soil line. Trim the roots back to one-half inch. They will send out new roots within a few weeks. New beds need plenty of water. Irises are heavy feeders. Fertilize at least three times a year. Foliar-feed in between if you wish.
  15. FERNS – Most ferns are in full growth now. Water frequently. Remove old fronds. Use a slow release fertilizer or half-strength, high-nitrogen fertilizer. Watch for snails and slugs. Use Monterey® Sluggo® or Sluggo® Plus if needed. Protect from hot sun.
  16. IRON DEFICIENCY? – Many have asked us what is causing yellowing in the leaves of their citrus, camellias, and gardenias. Iron deficiency. Do the leaves near the top of the plant have green veins but yellow in between the veins? Time for either a foliar spray or a soil drench such as Grow More® Iron Chelate or Ironite® Mineral Supplement. This will help return those leaves to green!
  17. CACTUS & SUCCULENTS – Many plants are in their growing season but winter growers like aeoniums will curl up unless watered. Cacti are desert plants, but succulents are not. Succulents tolerate and sometime prefer light shade, especially in inland areas. Use a forceful spray of water to remove aphids and mealy bugs.
  18. HYDRANGEA – After hydrangea flowers have faded, cut back each stalk to two buds. New wood will spring from these to bloom next year. On young plants, do not cut back any green stem that haven’t bloomed yet for these will bloom next year.
  19. NATIVE PLANTS – Allow natives to go into summer dormancy. Many established natives need little or no water during summer months but most are happier being watered once or twice a month. Spray the landscape by hose, it mimics a summer storm and washes the leaves. Mulch around plants with shredded bark or gravel.
  20. TROPICALS – Continue with a fertilizer schedule for your tropical plants. Tropicals do best when feed during the growing season (spring through fall). This will depend on your schedule and type of fertilizer used. We suggest with Gro-Power® Premium Palm & Tropical Plant Food 9-3-9 or Apex® 13-4-12 Palm K.
  21. TREE & SHRUBS – Continue your fertilizer routine. There are many products available in both organic and conventional style feeding. Continue to prune your ornamental shrubs for hedges.
  22. PRUNING – You can do some pruning, even though it’s summertime. Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister,’ gaura, and salvias will look much better if cut back by about 1/3. Oh…and your catmint, too.
  23. HEALTH & SAFETY TIP – As the weather gets warmer, schedule your gardening for early morning and late afternoon when the air is cooler and the sun not so intense. Be sure to use sun block when working for prolonged periods.
  24. ATTRACT BIRDS – Attract a variety of birds to your yard with KAYTEE® Brand Bird Seed and bird feeders. Place some hummingbird feeders around your yard to keep them coming back. Then relax and listen to the birds.
  25. MULCH, MULCH, MULCH – If you haven’t already, apply a layer of mulch on flower beds and around trees and shrubs 2-3 inches around the base of plants. It reduces weeds, conserves moisture, and prevents disease. Great stuff!


Watering

  1. Watering is the major chore from now until fall. Except for some California natives and a few other drought tolerant plants, everything in the Southern California garden needs regular watering. With the hot dry weather, it’s time to look at your watering practices:
    1. Irrigate thoroughly, long and deep but not frequently. Too frequent irrigation encourages roots to grow close to the surface where the soil dries rapidly and is subject to the extremes in temperature.
    2. Use sprinklers, soakers or drip systems; a thumb clamped over the end over of the hose is not going to cut it. If you water less frequently but for longer intervals, you force the water deeper in the soil where less will be lost to evaporation while encouraging deeper root growth.
    3. Reset your irrigation timer to water more frequently as the weather starts to warm up. Adjust as needed should we be so lucky to get adequate rain fall.
    4. Check irrigation systems. Fix clogs and broken sprinklers. Adjust spray heads. Begin watering as weather warms. Apply a fresh layer of mulch to conserve moisture.
  2. Trees (non-citrus) and shrubs will need deep soaks once each month in the summer, and regular irrigation in between. Citrus & Avocados need regular weekly watering. Allowing them to dry out can result in considerable fruit drop. If you don’t have a irrigation system consider installing one for ease of use, time and efficiency.
  3. Give your trees, shrubs, and perennials an occasional hosing down from top to bottom to wash off dust and pests. Use a Gilmour Flexogen Hose paired with a DRAMM® RainWand or DRAMM® Revolver Spray Gun. Be sure that whichever type of hose attachment you choose to use, it is equipped with a shut-off valve to save water.
  4. Established California Natives only need deep infrequent watering during this time of year. Always follow your specific plants label instructions.
  5. Be sure to follow your local watering restrictions and guidelines


Pests to Watch out For

  1. Ants – Ants are on the move with warmer weather. Terro Liquid Ant Baits provide either indoor or outdoor control. For quick and easy removal of ants and other insects, use Terro Ant Killer spray. Use AntPro Bait & Station for large outdoor areas.
  2. Lawn Fungus – watch for lawn fungus as the weather gets hotter. Never water in the evening as this can cause fungus to grow. Use Bayer® Fungus Control for Lawns or Spectracide® Immunox® to prevent and control.
  3. Control indoor & outdoor pests -To control insects like spiders, fleas and ants, use Bayer Complete Insect Killer. It controls insects in lawns & around homes so they don’t come inside!
  4. Animals – Warmer weather brings out animals such as skunks, raccoons and opossums. Trap them with Havahart Traps. We carry a large supply and they are very effective.
  5. Squirrels – Use Havahart Traps, Protecta Bait Stations, Wilco Squirrel Bait and Station or Squirrelinator Multi-Trap.
  6. Mosquitoes – Use Mosquito Dunks in ponds or standing water to help control mosquitoes.
  7. Rabbits – protect your vegetables and herbs from foraging rabbits! Use Rabbit Scram Repellent to keep rabbits away. This repellent is natural and organic and works as a barrier so it never has to touch your plants.
  8. Snails & Slugs – Use Organic Gro Power® Slug N Snail, Organic Sluggo® Plus, Original Sluggo® or Corry’s® Snail & Slug Meal or Pellets.
  9. Aphids – Control aphids with insecticidal soap and beneficial insects. Safer® Insect Killing soap is a good organic choice.
  10. Thrips – Wash foliage with water from a garden hose. For stronger infestations use Bayer® Advanced Tree and shrub Insect Control. This is a systemic that gives 12 months of control.
  11. Coddling moth larvae – Spray walnuts with Sevin when nuts are about the size of a nickel and again three weeks later to control coddling moth larvae.
  12. Scale – Use Lilly Miller® Superior Type Spray Oil or Ortho® Volck Oil Spray to control crawlers.
  13. Lawn pests – Use Bayer® Complete or Spectracide® Triazicide
  14. Vegetable Pests – Use Green Light Lawn & Garden Spray with Spinosad or Sevin Insect Killer Liquid or Sevin-5 Dust.
  15. Juniper moths – Spray junipers and Italian cypress for juniper moths.
  16. Rats & Mice – Use Just One Bite® Rodent Bait.
  17. Gophers – Use Wilco® Gopher Getter or Cooke Quick Action Gopher Mix to rid your yard of gophers. Use ZP® Bait in and around garden beds.
  18. Caterpillars – Use Safer® Caterpillar Killer, Monterey® Garden Insect Spray or Green Light Lawn & Garden Spray with Spinosad. Look these pests on your broccoli and cabbage!
  19. Rose Pests – Use Bayer® All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, Bayer® 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control or Green Light® Rose Defense.
  20. Powdery Mildew – Especially near the coast, this is the time we begin to see powdery mildew on our rose foliage (and other plants too). There are several different foliar fungicidal sprays to that can help. Consider Bayer® Insect Disease and Mite Control, Spectracide® Immunox® or Ortho® Rose Pride are good conventional use products. Use Monterey E-Rase® for organic growing.
  21. Powdery Mildew on Grapes – Apply a sulfur spray such as Safer® Garden Fungicide.
  22. Fruit Tree Pests – Use Monterey® Garden Insect Spray to combat caterpillars and other listed pests on fruit trees, vegetables and ornamentals. It is OMRI listed for Organic Use too.
  23. Tomato Hornworms – Those of you growing tomatoes and peppers, watch for tomato hornworms. You may hand-pick them from your foliage or you can use an organic pesticide formulated for caterpillar control.
  24. Lawn Weeds -To control weeds in lawns while giving them a good feeding use Lilly Miller® Ultra Green 28-2-3 Weed & Feed.
  25. Weeds – Use Bonide® Crabgrass Preventer or Bayer® Season Long Weed Control in lawns. Use Green Light® Amaze in ornamentals & flower beds. For non-selective areas, use Roundup ®or QuickPro® products. Be sure to use a good sprayer such as Hudson® Sprayers. DeWitt® Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric prevents weeds without chemicals. It still allows air, water and nutrients to go through. Lay this fabric down before planting your gardens.

Note: All information provided is based on typical season, weather and environmental statistics. These tips are provided for information purposes only and to be used as a general guide. Products/Brands mentioned may be discontinued at anytime and not guaranteed in-stock. Grangetto’s invites you to contact us or visit one of our locations for more specific care instructions.

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