Garden tips for July
July is peak gardening season! Keep your lawns lush and harvest your well-grown vegetables.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR LAWN
This is your last chance to feed your lawn with a special lawn fertiliser to encourage healthy green growth.
Water your lawn during hot weather, particularly newly seeded or turfed lawns. Do not allow new lawns to dry out.
If you are experiencing prolonged dry weather, set your mower blades higher to reduce stress on the grass.
Warm weather encourages rapid weed growth – apply specific lawn weed killer to tackle this problem.
Recut any lawn edges if needed. Try installing lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.
IN THE FRUIT GARDEN
Thin out the fruits on your fruit trees to produce good-sized crops. This also helps to prevent brown rot.
Protect any developing fruits from birds and squirrels by placing netting around your plants.
Feed lemons and other citrus fruit trees throughout summer with a special citrus fertiliser.
Treat apple scab with a fungicide. Always read the manufacturers label to check the suitability for use on edible crops.
Peg down runners on your strawberry plants to create more plants for next year. If you don’t need more plants simply remove the strawberry runners completely.
Prune your plum, apricot, peach and cherry trees now. Pruning these species in the summer reduces the risk of these trees getting silver leaf disease.
Prune the fruited stems of your blackcurrant bushes after harvesting.
Raspberries are shallow rooted, water generously in hot, dry weather.
Cut back faded perennial plants to keep borders tidy.
Cutting back growth in hanging baskets can encourage new flowers and foliage and will revive the display. Feed your baskets well after doing this.
Cut back hardy Geraniums and Delphiniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage new growth.
Tie in and train new growth on climbing plants.
Take cuttings from tender plants for over-wintering indoors. Cuttings can also still be taken from shrubs and herbaceous perennials.
Deadhead bedding plants and perennial plants to encourage further flowering.
Deadhead sweet peas regularly to keep them blooming. Water daily in dry weather.
Water your containers and baskets thoroughly in hot weather. Feed them with a liquid fertiliser every 2 to 4 weeks.
Use rain water instead of tap water as often as you can when watering your plants.
Check for scarlet lily beetles on your lilies – remove and crush any you see. Also check for the sticky brown larvae on the underside of leaves.
WILDLIFE & PONDS
Clean and top up birdbaths regularly, especially in warm dry weather.
Remove duckweed from ponds, adding the weed to your compost bin.
Ensure frogs, toads, newts and hedgehogs can exit ponds via shallow edges or stones.
IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
Plant specially prepared potato tubers for a Christmas crop. Grow in a sheltered spot.
Pepper plants will benefit from being potted on into progressively larger pots.
Train cucumber stems upwards instead of trailing over the ground, to make the most of the space available. Simply tie in their long stems to vertical wires or a wigwam of poles.
Pinch out tomato side shoots each week. Cut off any leaves growing below the lowest ripening fruit trusses to improve air circulation and prevent diseases.
Boost your tomato crop by regularly feeding them with dilute tomato fertiliser once a week.
Apply a high-potash fertiliser once fruits start to form on peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. You can use this on sunflowers too.
Pick your courgettes while they are young. Regular picking encourages more fruit.
Pick, dry and freeze herbs for using later in the year.
Pick runner beans regularly to prevent them becoming stringy and to make room for developing pods. Leaving mature pods on the plant can prevent further flowers forming and reduce your crop.
Harvest beetroot, peas, carrots, chard, potatoes, salad leaves, lettuce and tomatoes this month.
Water your fruit and vegetable crops daily in warm weather. Try to ensure that they are consistently moist.
Use grass clippings as mulch around potato plants to stop tubers near the surface from turning green. Alternatively earth up your potato plants as they grow. If you’re growing potatoes in bags, gradually add more compost until the bag is full.
Check for cabbage white butterfly eggs under brassica leaves and squash any that you find.
Clear away any diseased and spent foliage on and around your vegetable plants to keep them healthy.
Clear weeds regularly, as they compete with your crops for nutrients and water.
IN THE GREENHOUSE
Shade greenhouses to keep them cool and prevent scorch
Check plants daily. Water them early in the morning or in the evening to reduce water loss through evaporation.
Harden off and plant out any plug plants that you have been growing on.
Damp down your greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.
Open vents and doors daily to provide adequate ventilation.
Try hanging sticky traps to catch flying pests and help determine which pest control is needed.
Tidy up fallen leaves and flowers to discourage the spread of fungal disease.