July in Your NorthFloridaGarden
July is the beginning of the rainy season in Florida. And we have slipped into the lethargy of the dog days. So there’s no definitive list of gardening chores for the July garden. Slow down and give you and your plants a rest from the heat Give plants a mid-season feeding or side dressing, to get them through to the fall. Gardeners just have to play it by ear. Most importantly, keep a close eye on pests and disease, then sit back and enjoy your garden and all the efforts you put in earlier in the year to get it where it is now. But if you must, see the list below!
What to Plant
Bedding Plants: Summer annuals to plant now include celosia, coleus, torenia
and ornamental peppers.
Bulbs: Butterfly lily, gladiolus, and society garlic are bulbs that can be planted
during the middle of summer.
Vegetables: Watermelon, peppers, okra, southern peas, and eggplant can be
planted now as long as watering is provided during dry spells.
Palms: Continue planting palms while the rainy season is in full swing. Support large palms with braces for 6-8 months after planting. Nails should not be driven directly into a palm trunk.
What to Do
Trees and shrubs: Prepare for hurricane season by checking trees for damaged or weakened branches and prune if needed. Prune flowering shrubs as soon as the flowers fade. Hold off planting until the fall, but if you must transplant, keep well watered.
Lawn insects: Lawn pests can be a problem this time of year. Before treating, find out if an insect is the culprit and treat only the affected area.
Vegetables: Harvest daily. Reseed beans and lettuce. Start fall crops of peas and lettuce. Solarize the vegetable garden by using summer heat as a tool in preparing thevegetable garden for fall planting. It takes four to six weeks to kill weeds, diseaseand nematodes, so start now. Plant a cover crop in the bare spots of your garden to deter weeds.
Irrigation: An inexpensive rain shut off device can save money by overriding an
irrigation system when it rains. If one is already installed, check that it is operating properly.
Fruit trees: Newly planted peaches and nectarines should be fertilized now. Apply ½ pound per tree of 8-8-8 fertilizer. Check berries regularly so the birds don’t get them. Clean up fallen fruit. Check for water sprouts (branches growing straight up from limbs) and remove.
Ornamentals:Keep up on deadheading. Shear back spent annuals by 1/3. Focus on heat and rain resistant flowers like: coleus, hibiscus, melampodium, pentas, plumbago, portulaca and zinnias.Do a final pinching by mid-July, of fall blooming flowers like mums and asters.
Pests on Ornamental Plants: Small white dots on the leaves of azaleas and
other ornamental plants may indicate lacebugs at work. Spraying forcefully with water
helps control this pest.
Pests to watch for: Thrips (distorted flowers), spider mites (undersides of leaves), tomato fruitworm, tomato horn worm, chinch bugs in lawns, and Japanese beetles.
. What to Do Every Month
- Adjust irrigation based on rainfall.
- Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms.
- Monitor the garden for insects and disease.
- Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials and water until established.
- Mow lawnsat recommended heights:
St. Augustine & Bahia: 3-4”
Dwarf St. Augustine: 2.5”
- Keep tabs on rainfall and water as needed
- Stay ahead of weeds
- Replace mulch as needed
- Check garden centers for mark downs on remaining plants
- Keep bird feeders and baths clean
- Prepare for hurricane season and keep dead limbs pruned
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