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July Gardening Tips

Summer Lawn Care

Fertilize warm-season grasses now with ferti•lome Winterizer. Don’t be confused by the name. The 25% nitrogen in Winterizer is great to promote maximum growth and spread for bermudagrass, buffalo and zoysia, the way it does for fescue in the fall. Another option is ferti•lome Pro-Green, a quick release nitrogen with 2% iron. Since both fertilizers contain iron—sweep off any concrete areas before watering in.

Summer weather requires adjustments to mowing heights and watering frequency.

Grass Recommended Height

Fescue 3 - 3½"

Bluegrass/Rye 2½ - 3"

Bermuda/Buffalo/Zoysia 1½ - 2"

If you mow often enough to remove only 1/3 of the grass blades, you can mulch instead of bag the clippings. These grass clippings will return nutrients to the soil as they break down and also act as a mulch to conserve moisture and cool the root zone.

Proper watering is essential to maintain a good looking lawn. Irrigation needs to be done in such a way as to encourage deep rooting, which in turn makes lawns healthier. Depending on your soil type, it may take several short waterings during one day to saturate the soil and prevent runoff. Automatic sprinkler systems can be programmed to put the exact amount of water where it is needed. Continue to water in the mornings so grass is dry at night to reduce a flare up of brown patch disease. Now would be the time for a second application of ferti•lome F-Stop if your lawn has had a history of this fungus.

In the war against grubs, one July application of Hi-Yield Grub Free Zone II works as a preventative for the remainder of the season. Water in Grub Free Zone II after application.

Summer Care of Trees, Shrubs & Flowers

Water is the most important element to help plants survive the summer heat.

Drip irrigation is the easiest, most efficient way to get water right to the roots of the plants. The drippers deliver the needed moisture to individual plants eliminating the waste caused by evaporation or runoff. The vacant spaces between the plants will not receive water and that will reduce weeds sprouting in those areas.

Mulch is another factor in this conservation formula. The mulch keeps water from evaporating off the soil surface and reduces the light and air available to weed seeds. In landscape beds the best mulch to use is cedar; the fibers of the shredded cedar mulch knit together to form a barrier against weeds and also to hold the mulch in place so it doesn’t wash away. In vegetable gardens, or any plot which will be tilled, a biodegradable mulch, such as compost, straw or finely ground bark, is preferred.

Another product which can help alleviate the stress of hot, dry conditions is Soil Moist, a polymer that stores water and then releases it to plant roots as needed. This is especially useful in smaller containers that dry out quickly.

Annual flowers and vegetables can be fed lightly in the heat with a slow release fertilizer like ferti•lome Garden Cote 6 or Color Star.

Summer Pest Control

SPIDER MITES - Spider mites thrive in hot conditions. Watch your plants. Look for stippled, yellow leaves and webbing over flower buds or on the lower leaf surfaces. Spray affected plants with ferti•lome Triple Action or Horticultural Oil. Treat at least three times at 7 day intervals. Apply a hard stream of water before the treatment to help wash off some of the mites. It’s best to apply these products when temperatures are below 90°, and always spray in early morning or evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day.

PINE-TIP MOTH - Spray in late July for the third generation. Use Hi-Yield Indoor/Outdoor Broad Use Insecticide, ferti•lome Broad Sprectrum Insecticide or Natural Guard Spinosad.

GERANIUM BUDWORMS - Use Natural Guard Caterpillar Killer with BT (Thuricide). This product is also available in a ready-to-use spray. Spinosad is another good choice for worms and small beetles. Spinosad is also available in a ready-to-use spray. Spray in early evening and continue as needed through the summer.

COTTONWOOD BORERS - Spray the lower trunk and soil with Hi-Yield 38 Plus.

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