July is the time of year when mother nature can hand you a wheelbarrow of lawn and garden problems. Don’t worry, follow these tips and you’ll be in great shape!
– If brown patch fungus disease has developed in the lawn, the best steps to reduce the spread of the disease are to avoid mowing or even walking on the lawn when it is wet, and do not irrigate.
– Mow fescue and bluegrass lawns 3 inches high.
– There are not many zoysia lawns in the mountains, but if you have one, the warm season grasses can be fertilized with a half pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
– Try to accomplish the pruning of shrubs early in the month.
– Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continued blooming on annuals and re-blooming on some perennials.
– Container gardens do require some attention. Fertilize every few weeks with liquid fertilizer and cut back plants as needed to keep the garden in balance. -Don’t forget to water newly planted trees and shrubs – weekly if needed.
– Early summer rain has produced perfect conditions for lots of black rot to develop on grapes, as well as brown rot on peaches and nectarines. At this point, if you have not been applying fungicide sprays on a regular basis, you probably already have problems. Products containing Captan are most effective.
– Prune blackberries and raspberries after harvest.
– Blueberries look to be in good supply this year. Visit local tailgate markets or a pick-your-own farm.
– Consistent moisture is important for preventing blossom-end-rot on tomatoes (and sometimes squash or peppers). Mulch helps as well as attention to regular irrigation.
– Early blight hit tomatoes in early June and late blight may not be far behind. The best way to prevent these diseases is to maintain weekly fungicide sprays. The most commonly used garden product is chlorothalonil (Bravo, Daconil, etc.). Organic gardeners may want to try Serenade, a new bacterial product. Copper or sulfur sprays are less effective, but offer a little help.
– If possible, harvest vegetables in the morning, before the heat of the day. Second best is late evening. And pick regularly for best quality.
– Plan the fall garden. Brussels sprouts should be planted in July, most other cool season crops in August. You can start seeds in pots for plants such as broccoli, cabbage and collards.
– You can also still plant late crops of squash, bush beans or cucumbers.
– Protect honeybees. If you must use an insecticide (even organic), spray late in the evening when few bees are active.