Learn what not to do in your garden this summer

Do you do to-do lists?  I do. They help keep me focused and organized.  And boy is it satisfying to check things off.  But this time of year, I have another list, a summer What Not To-Do List for my garden.  This keeps me from serious missteps which can harm plants or waste time and money.   

Don’t: Plant

First on my What Not To-Do List is planting.  It’s just too hot and dry for plants to establish well.  Spring and fall are your best planting times.  Be wise and wait.  I know there are plant bargains to be had now.  As a career tightwad I’m tempted, too.  Don’t succumb.  

Don’t: Dig or Divide

No digging and dividing either.  Most plants prefer to have this done in spring or fall so they can settle in and develop robust roots before extreme weather.  So step away from that shovel. If you do plant or divide plants in summer you will need to water, water and water again, a significant time drain.  And still, your plants will be stressed. Very stressed.  

Don’t: Prune

Third on my What Not To-Do List is pruning.  Trees hate to be pruned in summer.  They weep copious sap and those wounds attract the abundant insects and diseases afoot now.  Summer pruning courts disaster.  Instead, prune trees in the dormant season – January to mid-March – when they are less vulnerable.  

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July Tips and Tasks

Japanese beetle
Japanese Beetle and damaged leaf

Japanese beetles may be feeding heavily at this time. Brush the beetles into a bucket of soapy water held underneath foliage or branches. The use of Japanese beetle traps near your plants is not recommended. Studies show that traps can attract more beetles to your landscape resulting in increased damage.

Crested iris
Crested Iris

Consider planting groundcovers where grass won’t grow such as shady areas, around tree roots, and on steep slopes. Select plants based on the amount of sun or shade the site receives.  

Broccoli
Broccoli

Sow seed for fall transplants of broccoli, kale, turnip, and cauliflower in flats or containers by the 3rd to 4th week in July. Late crops of squash, beans, and cucumbers can be direct sown into your garden through the end of July.

More tips and tasks for July

Monthly Tips for July

BegoniaOrnamental Plants

  • Chrysanthemums should be cut back halfway to encourage fall blooming. If not trimmed they will bloom later this month and not in the fall.
  • Pinch out the flower buds of asters, mums, goldenrod and other fall bloomers to keep plants bushy and prevent early flowering.
  • Although this is not the best time to divide and transplant perennials, it can be done if necessary. Divide and re-plant quickly in the early evening, keeping the root system moist at all times. Water the new divisions daily until they are established. (PDF HG 99 Dividing Herbaceous Perennials)

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