Garden Tips for July

July is the season of high summer when the garden really comes alive, so you’re either going to have weeks of enjoyment over the coming months or weeks of back breaking work trying to tame and control the it.

The Garden
• Be water-wise, water your plants only and during the cooler parts of the day to avoid absorption and possible scorching. In this warm time of year, regular watering or spraying is essential for abundant flowers and growth so never let the soil dry out too much.
• Flowering shrubs can be pruned as soon as they have flowered. Cut back branches that have flowered to a new shoot. If there is no new shoot, cut them back to the ground.
• All potted plants need watering daily and in very warm weather, perhaps even twice a day. Don’t forget your hanging baskets, as evaporation is much greater and they will dry out faster than any other planters
• Hanging baskets need soluble plant food each week. Annuals, in particular, need a lot of nutrients whether in baskets, tubs or pots.
• Deadhead plants after flowering as this will encourage them to flower again later in the season.
• Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds and if there are getting out of control you could put down a mulch to help.
• Shade greenhouses to keep them cool.
• Keep an eye out for blackspot and mildew especially on roses. However, if you are going to spray them, try to spray during the evening, when most insect activity has stopped
• This is the time to shorten the new shoots of Wisteria that are not required for the framework, to about six inches in length.
• If you haven't added any fertilizer to your borders, it is not too late to do so.
• Don't wait to support and tie-up tall growing plant as an unexpected downpour can easily flatten them.
• Provide supports for any tall plants/shrubs such as Dahlias, Gladioli

The Lawn
• The lawn needs regular mowing this month. During long sunny spells the grass should not be cut too short otherwise it is in danger of scorching (turning yellow).
• For the best result, give your lawn some fertilizer every month. Choose an overcast day for this, again to prevent yellow patches.
• In long dry spells, your lawn will need regular spraying. Give it a good soak (a few hours) once a week. This is much more effective than 15 minutes every day.

Fruit and Veg
• If you have pruned your fruit trees during the winter, by May and June lots of suckers (small twigs that grow straight up) will have appeared. Indeed, where you have pruned particularly hard, entire brooms can spring up. These shoots take up a lot of water and nutrients that could be used better elsewhere. July is good time to remove these suckers.
• Treat your fruit trees to some extra trace elements and minerals this month such as seaweed extract.
• Thin out fruits from Apple, Pear and Plum. By removing the smaller ones the remaining fruits get a better chance to develop.
• Start sowing summer vegetables fennel and, looking ahead to winter, different kinds of cabbage
• Gives strawberries a weekly dose of soluble fertilizer high in potassium. When picking ripe strawberries pick the crown attached as the fruits will keep longer and the plants are less prone to fungal infections.
• Herbs like dill, parsley and thyme can be picked and dried or frozen into ice cubes.

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