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Gardening: Two-striped Walkingstick Image

High populations of white grubs in a given area of lawn can rapidly consume the roots and cause the grass to turn brown and loose like a carpet. As larvae become older, they are more difficult to control. For the most effective chemical control of white grubs, timing is critical.

Photo Credit: William M. Johnson

Garden checklist for July

By Dr. William M. Johnson, Galveston County Extension Agent - Horticulture

July 12, 2007

The arrival of July signals that the warm temperatures of the summer season have set in for a spell. This is the time of year when we may tend to neglect our plants in the landscape and garden. A little care now will not only help your plants withstand the rigors of summer weather, it will also reward you with a flush of color later on during the late summer and fall seasons. Critical gardening activities for July include the following:

Inspect New Landscape Transplants: Most areas of the county have received sufficient to ample rainfall over the past few weeks. However, if you recently planted landscape trees and shrubs, periodically check the soil moisture level since the root system of trees and shrubs will not become well-established for some time. During extended periods of dry weather conditions, be sure to water new transplants regularly to avoid stressing plants.

White Grubs in Lawns: This grub is the larval stage of the June or May beetle (which actually started appearing in earlier April). Later on during the summer and fall, high populations of white grubs in a given area of lawn can consume the roots and cause the grass to turn brown and loose like a carpet. As larvae become older, they are more difficult to control.

For the most effective chemical control of white grubs, timing is critical. White grubs are best controlled with the application of an insecticide to the lawn in early July. There are a variety of effective insecticides available on the market for controlling white grubs in lawns. In the absence of rain, lightly water after applying a granular insecticide to maximize contact with the soil surface and hence the small, developing larvae.

Taller Lawns: Check the cutting height of your lawn mower. During hot, dry weather conditions, consider raising the lawn mower blade to a higher setting. The higher the cutting height, the less lawn grass is stressed resulting in a healthier lawn.

Low Spots in the Lawn: Low areas in the lawn may be gradually filled with shallow applications of good top soil where needed. However, avoid temptation to apply a layer of sand over the entire lawn area just because your neighbor does. This is an excellent way to introduce new weeds, smother your grass and encourage unwanted insects and disease problems.

Hanging Baskets: To keep hanging baskets looking attractive, soak the baskets in a tub of water every few days in addition to the regular daily watering. This is also a good time to fertilize baskets but never apply fertilizer to dry plants.

Poinsettias: Periodic pinching of the ends of stems will promote the development of a bushier plant. Poinsettias should not be pinched after mid-July.

Crape Myrtles: Crape myrtles are putting on a respectable flower display this year. After crape myrtles put on their first full bloom, you can stimulate them myrtles to extend their flowering period by pruning flower heads as soon as possible after they finish flowering.

Bark Lice on Trees: July is the month when many homeowners start reporting the appearance of strange webbing on the trunk and limbs of trees. The webs are produced by colonies of very small insects known as bark lice. The webs may give trunks and limbs the appearance of being "dressed" in a white stocking. Fortunately, bark lice (which really aren't lice) don't cause any harm to trees. In fact, they are very beneficial in that they eat lichens and fungi growing on the bark. No control is needed.

Powdery mildew on shrubs: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease and is especially bad on roses, crape myrtles, zinnias, euonymus and others during warm, damp periods. I have even seen powdery mildew on oak leaves. Leaves on affected plants develop a white-to-gray moldy growth. The growth of this fungus will coat the leaves causing them to be distorted and stunted in severe cases. You can reduce the severity of this disease by using a fungicide such as Immunox (<<< NOTE: This is a specific brand name) and bayleton.

Salvias: Re-blooming salvias, such as Salvia greggii (<<< NOTE: italicize as shown with uppercase “S”) and S. farinacea, (<<< NOTE: italicize as shown with uppercase “S”, but not the comma) should be pruned back periodically during the summer. To make the job easier, use hedging shears, and remove only the spent flowers and a few inches of stem below.

Annuals: There is still time to plant some of the colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. You can direct-seed zinnias and portulaca, and purchase plants of periwinkle, salvia, marigold, celosia, and purslane. Be sure to water transplants as needed until roots become established.

Blackberries: July is the last month for pruning blackberry canes which promotes secondary shoot growth. Blackberries should be lightly fertilized with a general purpose fertilizer such as 13-13-13 or 15-5-10.

Perennials: Divide spring and early summer perennials including daylilies, iris, etc., and replant the best clumps. Discard the diseased or damaged material and share any surplus with friends.

Lastly, be sure to take time to smell the roses or eat the fruits—or vegetables—from your labor and just enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature.

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Gardening: Trio Of Extension Programs Includes Pear Tasting, Master Naturalist Class & Rose Seminar - August 20, 2004 article

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Gardening: Ornamental Grasses - September 8, 2004 article

Gardening: Don't Let Landscape Become A High-Maintenance Nightmare - September 22, 2004 article

Gardening: Oct. 10 Plant Sale & Seminar To Feature Butterfly Gardening - Butterflies Bring Color, Motion to Garden - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Plant It And They Will Come: Getting the Butterflies of Galveston County to Grace Your Yard - October 2, 2004 article

Gardening: Rose Propagation & Seasonal Decorating Workshops To Be Held - October 13, 2004 article

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Gardening: Gardeners' Checklist For January Includes Several Educational Programs - January 7, 2005 article

Gardening:Announcing the 2005 Galveston County Master Gardener Training - January 13, 2005 article

Gardening:Peach & Plum Growers' Workshop To Be Held Saturday, January 29 - January 19, 2005 article

Gardening: Gardening for Texas Wildlife - January 28, 2005 article

Gardening: Wide Variety of Citrus to Be Available at February 5 Fruit Tree Sale and Home Citrus Production - January 31, 2005 article

Gardening: Fruit Trees Of The Gods Featured In February 5 Master Gardener Plant Sale - February 2, 2005 article

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Gardening: February Is Rose Pruning Time...Attend Rose Care Seminar to Learn How - February 16, 2005 article

Gardening: Extension Activities At The Home & Garden Show On Feb. 26-27 - February 23, 2005 article

Gardening: March Gardening Calendar Includes Seminar On Butterfly Gardening - March 2, 2005 article

Gardening: Gardeners' Q&As From The Galveston Home & Garden Show - March 10, 2005 article

Gardening: Extension Offers Program On "Living To Be 100 . . . A Commonsense Approach." - March 16, 2005 article

Gardening: Program On Plumeria Offered On March 26- March 29, 2005 article

Gardening: Garden Checklist For April Includes Pecan Field Day - April 6, 2005 article

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Gardening: Home Gardening Chores and May 14 Home Fruit Growers’ Tour - May 5, 2005 article

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