Mid-Summer Deadheading…and Other July Garden Touchups

Mid-Summer Deadheading…and Other July Garden Touchups

Many people expect to be able to stop all work in their yards and gardens in July and August…with the exception of lawn mowing, of course. But there are some plants that will perform better, and look more attractive, if you spend some time doing a bit of cleanup in early July. There are also other garden tasks that will improve your yards performance.

Deadheading: This is merely the practice of clipping off old flowers to stimulate the growth of new foliage and blossoms. Roses can be deadheaded now, and you don’t have to clip anywhere special…just cut off the dried flowers or seed pods. The myth about cutting above a set of 5 leaflets is just that: a myth. Pink flowering spirea should also be deadheaded. You can cut off old flowers using a pruners, hedge shears or an electric shearing tool. In the perennial garden deadhead any plant that flowered before June 30th including: salvia, baptisia, nepeta, peonies, coral bells, oxeye daisies, bleeding heart and penstemon. As an alternative to deadheading, salvia, nepeta and penstemon can be cut to the ground.

Planting: Adding annuals in July is desirable because they will provide three to four months of color. This is especially welcome if many of your perennials flower in spring or early summer, or if you have large areas of brown bark mulch in between other plants. Tip for success: mix some time-release fertilizer into the area where your annuals will be planted so they will be automatically fed for the rest of the summer.

Watering: Deeply less often is best for all plants. Do NOT rely on an irrigation system that only comes on for 15 minutes at a time…that kind of watering merely dampens the first couple of inches of mulch and soil. Do NOT hand water in your veggie garden…use a soaker hose or sprinkler so that the soil gets moistened deeply. A deep soaking promotes the growth of deep root systems, and this makes for stronger, healthier plants.

Fertilizing: If you think your plants need a mid-summer feed, by all means apply the fertilizer of your choice. If you pick a synthetic fertilizer be sure the plants are well watered and hydrated before application. An organic fertilizer applied now will be available to the plants in mid-August.

Cutting three to six inches off the stems of pink-flowering spireas will improve the appearance of the shrubs and promote new growth. If your spireas didn't get cut back in the spring you can take as much as six to eight inches off now.

Cutting three to six inches off the stems of pink-flowering spireas will improve the appearance of the shrubs and promote new growth. If your spireas didn’t get cut back in the spring you can take as much as six to eight inches off now. When deadheaded in early July the plants will flower again.

Early July is the time to deadhead roses. Even the shrub roses that are good about repeat flowering (Knockout, Drift, Oso Easy, Flower Carpet, Home run, and The Fairy, for example) will produce a second round of flowers earlier when deadheaded.

Early July is the time to deadhead roses. Even the shrub roses that are good about repeat flowering (Knockout, Drift, Oso Easy, Flower Carpet, Home run, and The Fairy, for example) will produce a second round of flowers earlier when deadheaded.

2 Comments

  1. Brenda Popeo on July 23, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Is it too late to plant a flower garden?

    • CLFornari on July 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      No! A garden planted now has a good amount of time for perennials and shrubs to get established. And plenty of time for you to enjoy the flowers.

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