JULY Landscape & Garden Tips
These tips apply to those in USDA Zone 8 of Georgia but may apply to other regions in the southern United States.
If January is usually one of the coldest month of the year in the South, July is the usually one of the warmest. With the warmer temperatures and so many plants growing and flowering this time of year there’s always something that needs done in July. If the weather is dry plants will need water to thrive. If there is average or above rainfall plants will need pruned and fed more.
July Planting Tips
1. Plant A Lawn With Seed Or Sod: If you want to plant a new Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, Zoysia or other warm season lawn grass from seed or sod June is one of the best times of the year to do so. July planting gives these grasses more time to establish themselves before the cool season arrives. When planting a bermuda lawn from seed, make sure to use “turf-type” bermuda seed. ‘Common Bermuda’ is best suited for pastures. Turf-type Bermuda grasses display excellent overall turf quality similar to that of Tifway Bermuda 419 sod.
2. Plant Perennials: Many types of perennial plants are just now starting to bloom and local nursery and garden centers should be stocked with plenty varieties to choose from. In case you didn’t know, “perennials” are plants that come back year after year. Some are evergreen while others will lose their foliage or die back to the ground when winter arrives. Perennials are great because they can be useful to add vibrant splashes of color and texture anywhere in the landscape and/or can be mixed together in “perennial gardens” of various types: butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, cut flower gardens, English gardens, shade gardens, rock gardens and the list goes on and on. The flower and foliage colors and textures of perennials are endless and there are so many varieties you can have something blooming at all times of the year, even winter!
Whatever the situation or need, there is a perennial plant that fits! There are sun-loving perennials and shade loving perennials; wet soil perennials and dry soil perennials; butterfly attracting perennials and hummingbird attracting perennials. There are spring flowering perennials, summer flowering perennials, fall flowering perennials, and even winter flowering perennials. And then there’s long blooming perennials that bloom from spring to frost. Got deer? No problem. There are many deer resistant perennials that deer turn their nose up to. There are fragrant perennials for adding sensory appeal to your garden, and cut flower perennials you can use for fresh or dried flower arrangements. Need to fill the gaps between stepping stones or pavers, there are creeping perennial plants to fill them. See, we weren’t kidding. There’s a perennial plant for every situation!
3. Plant Flowers: It’s not too late to plant annual flowers in garden beds or container gardens. Most nursery and garden centers will still have some annual flowers around, and July is a good time to find some great bargains and closeout specials. Seasonal flower beds and container gardens will add vibrant splashes of color during the summer months all the way to the first killing frost, at which time you can replace your summer flowers with pansies and other cool season annual flowers.
4. Plant Shrubs and Trees: With warmer air and soil temperatures, July is a good time to plant all types of shrubs, trees, grasses, vines and other types of ornamental landscape plants. New plants will root in fast this time of year provided they have ample water. If you need some help with landscape design, check out Do-It-Yourself Landscape Design Tips & Ideas, or consult with one of our professional landscape designers at Wilson Bros Landscape. You can check out many of the shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, roses and more that we carry at the Nursery on our online store at WilsonBrosGardens.com.
NOTE: Due to shipping, handling and packaging costs, the prices for plants in our online store are higher than at the nursery in McDonough. Also, we carry many, many more plants at the Nursery than are listed in our online store, and a few of the plants in our online store, such as Bamboo, are not available at the Nursery. Call us to confirm availability. (770)954-9862
July Fertilizing Tips
1. Fertilize warm season lawn’s: If your Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine or Zoysia lawn isn’t growing or as as green as you like you can apply a lawn fertilizer at this time. If there are weeds present you can apply a weed & feed lawn fertilizer. That said, if there is drought and you can’t irrigate your lawn, hold off on fertilization until rainfall resumes. If you are on one of the Wilson Bros DIY Lawn Care Programs it is now time for Step 3. If there are weeds in the lawn but your grass doesn’t need fertilizer, you can spray to kill the weeds with a lawn weed killer. Just make sure to get the right weed control products for your type of lawn grass. If you have Centipede or St Augustine grass, use weed killer containing Atrazine. If you are uncertain as to your lawn type feel free to bring a sample in a plastic baggie to the nursery and we’ll identify them for you. Alternatively, you can send us a closeup photo of the grass.
CAUTION: If you are planning on overseeding your Bermuda or Centipede lawn within the next 8 weeks, do not use a weed & feed fertilizer or one containing a weed preventer. Instead, use a lawn starter fertilizer at seeding time.
2. Fertilize Annual Flowers: If your annual flowers growing in flower beds or container gardens look a little or a lot pale they could probably use a feeding with a good flower food. For the quickest results you can use a liquid plant food such as Jack’s Classic. If plants such as petunias or sun coleus have stretched (become leggy), to get them bushy and flowering heavy again give them a good pruning by cutting them halfway back or more and then apply fertilizer. When cutting them back, just make sure to leave some leaves on the stems.
3. Fertilize Perennial Plants: If your perennial plants are looking a little pale and not flowering like they should, fertilizer them now with a good flower fertilizer or natural or organic plant food. If you’re unsure as to the nutritional needs of a specific type of plant don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you might have when you’re at the Nursery, or contact us here.
4. Fertilize Shrubs And Trees: If any of your shrubs and/or trees are looking a little pale fertilize them now with a well-balanced shrub & tree type fertilizer, such as Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food, or a “goof proof,” non-burning natural plant food such as Nitroganic Organic Fertilizer. Follow application instructions on the product label.
5. Correct Chlorosis On Plants Or Lawn Grasses: If your Centipede lawn or the foliage on some of your shrubs and trees is looking a little light-green or yellowish-green, there are minerals you can apply to green them up.
Lawns – Ever wonder how sod farms deliver that lush, dark green Centipede sod that looks like Fescue at its prime? Answer is: they apply extra doses of iron. If your Centipede lawn has yellowed, or is not green enough for your liking, apply granular iron with a broadcast spreader. At Wilson Bros. Nursery, we recommend Hi-Yield Iron Plus because it contains a whopping 16% Iron and 13% Sulfur for deep greening. Other iron products often contain much smaller amounts.
Shrubs & Trees – For shrubs and trees you can apply Iron Plus, Soil Sulfur, or Aluminum Sulfate. Make sure to always follow instructions found on product label.
6. Apply Pelletized Lime to Lawns: If you have had trouble growing a healthy and beautiful bermuda, bluegrass, fescue or zoysia lawn it could have to do with the pH of the soil. Bermuda, bluegrass, fescue or zoysia lawn grasses thrive in soil with a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7. When the pH is acid (between 4.5 and 6.5) the root systems of these types of grasses cannot uptake nutrients and the grass will suffer. Application of lime can be applied to adjust the pH. On the other hand, centipede and St Augustine lawns prefer an acid soil.
7. Watch For Water Needs: Summer means hotter and sometimes drier weather. If there isn’t sufficient rainfall, keep an eye on plants, trees and your lawn to make sure they are receiving enough water. Wilting and discoloring of foliage is a sure sign of stress from lack of water. Provide adequate water for plants that stress during prolonged periods of dry weather. It is best to water from early to mid-morning. Never water your lawn or the foliage of plants during the late evening hours as this can promote development of damaging fungus. If you have a sprinkler system set the timer to begin watering no earlier than 5 AM. Too, keep in mind that it’s better to deep soak the ground less often than to splash just a little water on plants every day.
To help retain moisture in the soil and reduce watering apply a layer of shredded wood mulch around the root systems of plants growing in garden beds and in containers.
SEE: How To Water A Lawn
JULY Pruning Tips
1. Pinch Fall Garden Mums: Perennial garden mums are cool season bloomers. Therefore, in the South, they should not be allowed to bloom during summer, when their blooms will be scorched by heat and sun. You’ll need to pinch off the buds to delay blooming until fall, when the flowers will last for over a month!
2. Deadhead Bulbs: Remove spent flowers on summer flowering bulbs After summer flowering bulbs such as lilies have finished blooming cut off the spent flower heads to prevent seed formation. Leave the leafy stems intact allowing them to die back naturally so that the bulbs can be recharged for next year.
3. Deadhead Annual And Perennial Flowers: Keep your flowering perennials, annuals, roses and other flowering plants tidy by snipping or pinching off spent flowers. Doing so will also encourage a fuller, healthier plant that produces more flowers throughout the season.
4. Deadhead Flowering Shrubs And Trees: During the hot summer you don’t want to do any heavy pruning on ornamental shrubs and trees. That said, you can always snip a stray branch here or there that is spoiling the shape of the plant or remove damaged or dying branches. Too, you can deadhead spent flowers on summer flowering shrubs, many of which are excellent for dried flower arrangements, such as hydrangea, and others such as crape myrtles that will often rebloom when deadheaded.
SEE: All Pruning Articles
5. Remove Sucker Growths From Trees: Suckers are those pesky shoots that emerge from the base of fruit trees, crape myrtles and other types of trees. Because they can rob valuable energy, make sure to cut them off with a sharp pair of hand pruners as soon as you see them.
Keep an eye out for damaging insects If there’s been a lot of rain and conditions are humid insect pests can become a problem during July. That said, the vast majority of bugs that visit our landscapes and gardens do no harm. Some, such as ladybugs, are actually beneficial because they eat or run off the bad bugs. And, of course, there are the beautiful pollinators such as butterflies that we want to keep around.
This time of year it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for damaging insects and take steps to control them as quickly as possible. If the leaves of your plants are curling or discoloring, or something has been chewing on them, this is an indicator that damaging insects might be present. When inspecting your plants, make sure to look on the undersides of leaves because this is where common types of insects such aphids and lacebugs like to hide out during the day. Other insects, such as scale and mealybug are easier to see.
If insects are found, make sure to positively identify them before spraying with an insecticide. If you’re unsure about the type of insect you’re seeing either take a picture and send it to us for identification or bring a specimen to the nursery. Just make sure it’s in a sealed jar or plastic bag! We’ll be happy to identify it for you and, if necessary, provide the best suggestions for methods of control.
TIP: When using an insecticidal control, if possible, use the safest insecticide you can find, such as organic neem oil, and spray during the early morning or late evening hours (just before dark) when the beneficial pollinators aren’t active.
Watch For Fungus On Plants And In The Lawn – During hot and rainy summers the chance for fungal development and other diseases on plants increases. If expanding brown patches or circular rings of a light gray ash-like substance are forming in your lawn, this could indicate the presence of a damaging fungus. If so, broadcast a granular lawn fungicide or spray with a liquid fungicide. If you see a powdery white or orange substance develop on the leaves of plants, this could be powdery mildew or rust. These common diseases can be effectively controlled by spraying with a solution containing Neem oil. If you cannot identify a disease, bring a sample to the nursery and we’ll be happy to identify the fungus or disease and provide a good remedy.
Get Control Of Those Weeds! – When weed preventers are not used, weeds can get out of control during the warmer summer months. It’s never too late to get a weed preventer on the ground but once weeds have sprouted they either have to be pulled or sprayed, unless you want to live in a weed jungle:-)
Adjust Your Mower Deck To Cut Higher As the temperatures go higher so should your lawn grass, especially if you don’t provide supplemental irrigation during dry periods of summer. Adjust the height of your mower to leave at least an extra inch or two of height on cool season lawn grasses such as fescue and bluegrass, and maybe an extra half-inch to inch for warm season grasses such as Bermuda, Centipede and Zoysia. Lawn grasses store water in their foliage so leaving the grass taller helps the grass to retain moisture to fight summer heat and dry spells.
Pre-Planning For The Fall Season Summer is a great time to start planning and designing plantings that will be installed in the upcoming fall season.