Escambia Master Gardeners Tips For July
July 24, 2010
The Escambia County Master Gardeners offer the following tips for July:
- Plant: Seeds of late cosmos, gaillardia, portulaca, zinnia, marigolds, bulbs, and native iris.
- Plant: Seeds of okra, Southern peas, cherry-type tomatoes. Blooms drop if temperature stays high at night, so water regularly and apply at least 3″ of mulch.
- Start: Broccoli, cauliflower, collards and cabbage for fall transplants. Late in the month plant tomato plants rooted from spring suckers or purchased at a garden center. Remember to get the ones marked VFFNT.
- Check mulch in flower beds and under trees and shrubs. Reapply to bring it up to three inches to discourage weeds and conserve moisture. Pull mulch back from plant trunks to prevent rot.
- Remove spent vegetable and flower plants. Destroy those infected with disease or insects, and place remainder in compost heap.
- Fertilize annuals early this month if you didn’t do it in June.
- Apply mole cricket bait on moist soil in the afternoon when it is not likely to rain. However, it is essential to read and understand the insecticide label carefully for application directions.
- Keep azaleas and camellias well watered because they are setting next season’s flower buds. Remember that they are shallow rooted. Feed with an azalea fertilizer according to directions, or apply about 1/8 cup of 10-10-10 per foot of plant height after a good rain and water it in.
- Continue to monitor rose bushes each week for signs of insects or disease. Feed regularly with rose fertilizer or use 1/4 cup of 10-10-10 per plant.
- Prune roses late this month or until the middle of August to encourage a good crop of fall flowers. Remove four to six inches of each main stem.
- Lawn pests can be a problem this time of year. Before treating, find out if an insect is the culprit and treat only the affected area.
- Blossom-end rot on tomatoes or similar rot on peppers is frequently caused by a calcium deficiency and fluctuations in soil moisture. Discard rotting fruit. Keep plants evenly moist. Next season have soil tested and amend according to recommendations.
- Watch for yellowing leaves on plants. It may be a sign of chlorosis (iron deficiency), a common condition of sandy soil. Apply liquid iron or minor elements according to label directions.
- Crape myrtles susceptible to powdery mildew should be placed in locations that allow air movement to help avoid potential problems with this unsightly disease.
- Cut back poinsettias, wisteria (cut to two or three buds), chrysanthemums, dahlias and other fall blooming plants to encourage formation of more flowers.
- Pinch off salvia and marigold blooms as soon as they fade. Cut back zinnias, portulacas and verbena by several inches. Feed with 1/4 pound of 10-10-10 per square foot of planted area.
- If you still have blooming cannas, remove flower stalks to right above the uppermost leaf as soon as the blossoms fade. A new flower stalk will sprout.
- Take geranium cuttings for winter color. Start new plants from cuttings or by layering side shoots of oleander, gardenia, abelia, pittosporum, and verbena.
- Time to order cool weather vegetable and flower seeds! Calendula, larkspur, pansies, snapdragons, alyssum, candytuft, dianthus, Shasta daisy, California poppy, gaillardia, baby’s breath, nasturtium, petunias, phlox, verbena, lettuce, radishes, turnips, broccoli, beans, carrots, squash, cucumbers, cauliflower, collards (or milder tasting rape), Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts. Store seeds in the refrigerator in airtight containers until you are ready to plant.