July Landscaping Checklist
Every month brings a unique set of challenges for landscapers. July is no exception, and protecting landscapes from intense heat, severe weather, and annoying pests is not an easy task. Here are some landscaping tips to keep in mind during July so that you can keep your yard thriving even during the most intense and unpredictable summer months:
July’s hot, humid weather means a spark in insect and disease populations. Be especially diligent this month in your pest prevention methods. Check plants and grass regularly for signs of infestation or disease, properly identify the pest responsible, and then research the best kill method for that particular insect. Pesticides are usually specific to certain species of insect, so, if you plan on spraying, make sure you’ve chosen the right pesticide by reading the label closely. Late evening is the best time to spray during the hot summer months.
Keep lawns mowed and watered regularly, but don’t overdo it. If you have an irrigation system, consider installing a rain sensor so that your system can recognize the amount of rainfall your yard is getting from passing thunderstorms or summer rain showers. The sensor will prevent the system from coming on when the grass has already been watered, thus preventing over-watering. If you don’t have an irrigation system, keep in mind how much water your garden is losing to evaporation and run-off and water approximately twice a day if it doesn’t rain. When mowing, always avoid over-mowing. Grass grows quickly in the summer, but never remove more than one third of the height of the grass. Cutting grass very short can stress its roots and lead to discoloration and dehydration, as we covered in our last blog post.
Deadhead annual and perennial flowers so that they can bloom later in the season. The top buds of dahlias, phlox, garden mums and other flowers can be plucked to limit seed development and channel energy into the production of blooms. This will give you another rush of color and fragrance in late summer!
Beware of poison ivy! This poisonous plant loves popping up in Virginia gardens and yards in the summer. You can identify poison ivy by its signature look: three pointed leaflets per leaf. If you see it, avoid touching it directly and pull it up using gloves or yard tools!
Fertilize and prune. Herb and vegetable plants like nitrogen-rich fertilizer applications about once a month in the summer. This will keep them healthy and strong. It is best not to fertilize on dry garden soil; instead, wait until after a rainstorm or irrigation to apply new fertilizer. After each application, water your plants deeply. Summer is also a great time to prune trees and shrubs. Be thorough, but don’t go crazy. You shouldn’t remove more than 15% of a tree’s leaves and branches if you want it to stay healthy. Focus on removing dead or dying growth primarily.
Harvest fruits and veggies! July is full of critters just itching to get their hands on your produce. Birds, rabbits, deer, and insects can all make quick work of your garden labors. Be sure to check on fruits and veggies daily and harvest as soon as they’re ripe enough to pick off the plant.
Prepare for the fall: fall vegetables like broccoli, carrots, turnips, radishes, and lettuce can be planted now to be enjoyed when fall rolls around. It’s always good to have something to look forward to