JULY GARDENING TIPS

JULY GARDENING TIPS

Garden care

During drought conditions, raise mower blades slightly higher than usual. By doing this, you’re less likely to damage the grass in the long term.

Apply a selective lawn weed killer if your lawn has daisies, dandelions etc. Don’t ignore these weeds – the longer they’re left untreated, the harder it is to repair the damage they cause.

Clip fast-growing hedges such as leylandii, privet and lonicera nitida, as well as shrubs of philadelphus and weigelia.

Look out for signs of clematis wilt. Symptoms include wilting leaves and black discolouration on the leaves and stems – cut out all affected material and dispose of it in household waste (don’t put in your compost!)

If your plants are wilting for no obvious reason, check for wine weevils by tipping plants out of their pots and checking for C-shaped creamy maggots amongst the roots. Treat with a nematode if required.

Outdoor plants

Divide congested clumps of bearded iris – lift each clump carefully, and divide it using a sharp knife. Cut back foliage to 15cm (6ins) and replant into a well-prepared site.

Keep all pot-grown patio plants and hanging baskets well-watered during hot weather and feed every ten days with a liquid plant food.

Late summer and autumn-flowering shrubs such as hydrangeas, hibiscus, buddleias and caryopteris can be planted now. Keep the plants well-watered until they are established.

Cut back hardy geraniums, delphiniums and nepeta after the first flush of flowers, to encourage a second flowering. Apply a light dressing of Growmore to promote new growth.

Trim back exuberant growth on herbs to help keep the plants growing well. If you can’t use all the trimmings right away, you can dry or freeze them for future use.

Wisterias should be pruned now – all the young whippy side shoots produced this year should be shortened to within five buds of the main stems. After pruning, feed with a high iron fertilizer if foliage is yellow.

Keep camellias and rhododendrons well-watered at this time of the year, to make sure next year’s flower buds develop well.

Lightly trim lavender bushes after flowering, but never cut back hard into old growth.

Fruit & vegetables

Feed blueberries with an ericaceous plant food such as liquid seaweed, and harvest crops as they ripen.

Plant out leeks and brassicas for a winter supply of fresh vegetables. Protect the plants from pigeons and watch out for the cabbage white butterfly – spray if required.

Carefully thin out any overcrowded or misshapen fruitlets on apples and pears.

Lift garlic, onions and shallots carefully when the leaves turn yellow, and lay them out in a light airy place to dry thoroughly.

Make sure tomato, aubergine, courgette and pepper plants are kept well-watered, and fed regularly with a high potash plant food such as Tomorite.

Start to harvest early potatoes, peas, beans and all salad crops as they mature.

Plant second cropping potatoes now to give you new potatoes for Christmas. Plant your Christmas potatoes into pots or bags which can be brought undercover before the first frosts.

Prune plum, apricot, peach and cherry trees. Pruning these species now reduces the risk of silver leaf disease.

Dead-head sweet peas regularly to keep them flowering longer – keep them well-watered and fed with liquid seaweed.

Feed oranges, lemons and all other citrus trees with a special citrus fertilizer.

Misc. 

Oxygenating plants in garden ponds should be thinned out if they have produced an abundance of growth.

Yellow or brown patches on conifers may indicate an infestation of cypress aphid. Tell-tale signs include black sooty mould along the stems – spray as soon as possible and repeat in early autumn.

Now is a good time to spray ground elder, bindweed and other persistent weeds – the plants now have lots of leaf surface area to absorb the poison.