July

Plant:

  • Tomatoes – even though it is hot and dry, July is the time to plant tomato seedlings for a fall vegetable garden. Eggplant and pepper seedlings may also be planted. Give the new plants a bit of afternoon shade and water daily until established and their roots spread enough to collect moisture. Mulch around, but not touching, the plants. This helps maintain soil moisture and moderates soil temperature. These vegetable plants will not produce until daytime temperatures cool below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they will put on leaves and develop root systems to support fruit development in the fall.
  • If you want pumpkins for Halloween, plant them in July.
  • Add colorful, heat-tolerant annual flowers for spots of landscape color. Good choices include portulaca, also called moss rose; Gomphrena, also known as globe amaranth and pentas. Zinnias and lantana survive the heat, but be careful not to let them become leggy.

Harvest:

  • Even though most vegetable garden plants have finished producing fruit, black-eyed peas and okra continue to grow fruit through the summer heat. Very young black-eyed peas may be harvested and cooked like green beans. Shell older peas and blanch or cook before freezing. Okra can be used in your favorite Creole recipe, blanched and frozen or pickled.
  • Summer annual herbs, such as basil, and perennial herbs can be harvested as needed.
Prune:

  • Cut grass to appropriate heights and water deeply once a week. Mow St. Augustine at about 3 inches, common Bermuda at 1-1/4 to 1 1/2 inches. Best mowing height for Hybrid Bermuda and zoysia varies depending on variety. Buffalograss should be mowed to 3 to 3 1/2 inches. Mow frequently to keep grass low and spreading. Use a mulching mower to feed the soil rather than bagging grass and sending it to a landfill.
  • Remove dead branches from trees and shrubs.
  • Prune spring annuals, such as begonias, impatiens and geraniums to encourage a second bloom in the fall.
  • Remove dead rose blooms
Fertilize:

  • Container plants with time-release fertilizer.
  • Bermuda and zoysia grass with high nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Wait until August to fertilize St. Augustine grass.
Watch For:

  • Dog vomit — scientific name is Fuligo septica. This slime mold may appear bright yellow or pale orange in your landscape beds. According to Steve Maczuga from Penn State University, you can leave it alone and it will go away. Here’s his article and pictures to help you identify this culprit.
  • All kinds of critters are active in your landscape in the July heat. Neil Sperry suggests keeping an eye out for leafrollers, lace bugs and chinch bugs. Not to forget, mealy bugs and grub worms.
  • Other bad guys include gray leaf spot in St. Augustine, which turn areas yellow and displays gray-brown lesions on leaf blades. Nutsedge and broadleafed weeds crop up in lawns. You may choose to treat nutsedge with Image and broadleafed weeds with a product containing 2,4-D.
  • Problem Solver offers pictures and brief descriptions of some of the more common landscape pests and diseases.
  • Turf Grass Pests and Diseases from Texas AgriLife Extension Service – lots of pictures and descriptive information to help you diagnose and treat landscape and turf problems.
  • If you are growing citrus trees in containers, you need to be aware of Citrus Greening Disease. This link from the Texas Department of Agriculture contains information and pictures, as well as contact information.
Thanks to Neil Sperry for information from his “Texas Gardening Calendar” and the “Texas Gardener Magazine” magazine. Other sources that helped provide ideas or content include PLANTAnswers Garden Calendar, “Texas Garden Almanac” by Doug Welsh and “Texas Gardener’s Resource” by Dale Groom and Dan Gill.

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