Harris County Master Gardener Shares July Gardening Tips

Harris County Master Gardener Shares July Gardening Tips

July 01 2024

This information has been generously provided to Harris County residents free of charge by the Harris County Master Gardeners, an expert group of trained volunteers assisting Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in educating the community using research-based horticultural information.

Did you know that the Harris County Master Gardeners offer free training, events and other resources all year round? To learn more, visit hcmga.tamu.edu

By Karen Shook, Harris County Master Gardener

The “dog days of summer” seem early this year. To be honest, my personal garden calendar in July says do what is required for maintenance (weed, water, mulch, deadhead, harvest) early in the day, then get back to the air conditioning.

Perennials and Ornamental Grasses
  • Many ornamental grasses begin to bloom in July.
  • There are some perennials that can provide midsummer blooms. For example, consider salvia to provide summer color. Planting in July is possible if you take care to keep the root ball and surrounding soil moist. For existing plants, cut summer blooming salvia bloom stalks off, back to first or second set of leaves, then fertilize and water.
  • A light dose of fertilizer may give plants a boost. But don’t be too surprised if slow growth is a response to heat.
  • Some annuals (amaranthus, cosmos, marigold, etc) can be direct seeded in July and you can plant some summer color plants. Again, maintain moisture in the root ball and soil to help get roots established.
  • Deadhead spent blooms.
  • Shear back annuals that are losing their vigor, then provide a boost of fertilizer and water. Fertilize actively blooming annuals.
  • Continue to cut some roses (to first leaf with five leaflets) to enjoy indoors and promote more blooms. The roses probably won't like the heat, so blooms may be smaller.
  • Keep up with pest and fungus controls (every seven to ten days) and feeding (every four to eight weeks).
  • Watch those shallow rooted azaleas, they are drought vulnerable and are setting buds for spring bloom.
  • Fertilize young shrubs and trees if you haven’t done in the past six to eight weeks.
  • If your lawn has too much shade, prune out some lower and inner branches of trees.
  • Now is a good time to review replacing lawn in those too shady, too sunny areas with ground covers.
  • It is chinch bug season. If you see irregular patches of dead or stunted grass, check for chinch bugs.
Ground Cover
  • Shear back ground covers that do not look robust. Fertilize if plantings are young or if areas have not yet filled in.
Edibles (vegetables, herbs, berries, fruits)
  • Mulch. It helps keep the soil cool which is healthier for vegetable roots.
  • Since July is generally a quiet time in the vegetable garden, it is a good time to start prepping soil for fall garden.
  • Take tomato cuttings in early July to root and provide transplants for your fall garden.
  • Fruit trees less than a year old can be fertilized at moderate rate.
  • See the following link for recommended planting times: Harris County Vegetable Planting Guide
Another Note
  • Watering guidelines typically have advice about depth of watering for specific plants (six inches for the lawn, 12 inches for established trees). One test is to use a long handled, flathead screwdriver. It will push through wet soil easily, but become more difficult to push when you reach dry soil. So, push down until you meet resistance, grab at the soil surface to pull out and check depth.

Want to go deeper? Visit the Harris County Master Gardeners' Urban Dirt Index for a plethora of information about gardening in your region at hcmga.tamu.edu/urban-dirt-index. Submit your horticulture questions to the Harris County Master Gardeners at hcmga.tamu.edu/ask-a-question

Source: Harris County Master Gardeners

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