July garden tips
- Watch for chinch bug damage in lawns. Symptoms are irregular patches of dead grass surrounded by yellowing grass. Treat with Hi-Yield Bug Blaster, Fertilome Systemic Insect Spray or Cyonara Lawn and Garden Spray.
- Deadhead roses and continue a spray program to prevent blackspot and powdery mildew. We recommend Fertilome Systemic Fungicide, or Serenade for organic gardeners.
- Avoid fertilizing roses in the heat of the summer, even if flowering slows. Intense heat, not lack of fertility, is the problem.
- Keep annuals and perennials deadheaded and well watered to prolong blooming.
- Apply Sluggo or Earth-Tone Bug and Slug Control for Organic Gardening if damage from snails and slugs occurs. Sluggo targets only targets slugs and snails. Earth-Tone Bug and Slug Control for Organic Gardening also kills sowbugs, pillbugs, earwigs and cutworms.
- Plant pumpkin seeds by mid-July for Halloween harvest.
- Spray trees affected by scale insects, such as crape myrtles, with Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Spray. Apply early or late, not in the heat of the day.
- Control powdery mildew on ornamentals with Fertilome Systemic Fungicide, or Serenade for gardeners who prefer organic products.
- Prune azaleas, hydrangeas and gardenias, if needed, before mid-July to avoid cutting off next year’s blooms.
- Irrigate lawns and landscape and vegetable gardens in the absence of rain. Be sure to water the soil deeply. Light sprinkling does more harm than good.
- Remove suckers that sprout at the base of trees, such as crape myrtles, vitex and yaupon holly. Don’t leave stubs.
- Give your soil a boost with Vital Earth compost and Fertilome Bedding Plant Food if you decide to replant your beds.
- Plant seeds of okra, Southern peas, watermelons, cucumbers, summer squash and, cantaloupes.
- Plant seeds of fast-growing annual flowers, such as zinnias, sunflowers, morning glories and moonvines.
- Cut off flowers that form on caladium plants.
- Water the soil deeply when irrigating. Light sprinkling does more harm than good.
- Treat white flies and the accompanying sooty mold on gardenias with an application of Fertilome Systemic Insect Spray. Apply early or late, not in the heat of the day.
It’s not too late to plant these tough customers
If your beds and containers didn't turn out the way you'd envisioned this year, it’s not too late to remedy the situation – as long as you choose wisely.
Here’s a list of a few plants that can take the heat of Southern summer:
- Zinnia: These candy-colored annuals light up your landscape -- and are tough as nails.
- Angelonia: The flowers may remind you of cool-weathering loving snapdragons, but angelonias are tough customers that survive hot, dry conditions.
- Salvia: It’s not surprising that most perennial salvias are happy when it’s hot: they are native to the Southwest, so heat doesn’t faze them.
- Caladium: Shady areas can seem dark and the variegated foliage of caladiums will light them up.
- Marigold: These heat lovers provide color in summer-appropriate shades of yellow, cream, orange and rust. To keep them blooming, deadhead frequently.
- Periwinkle: Among the few plants that will withstand reflected heat from driveways and sidewalks, periwinkles require well-drained soil.
- Pentas: These butterfly magnets like full to partial sun and will keep pumping out flowers if they are deadheaded occasionally.
- Torenia: Looking for color in a shady spot? Torenia is a native of Vietnam so it's well suited to Louisiana's heat and humidity.
- Sweet potato vine: A great spiller for container plantings, sweet potato vines grow like kudzu when it gets hot. In fact, you’ll probably need to pinch the ends to keep them full and bushy instead of crawling throughout your landscape.
- Lantana: It's never too late to add heat-loving lantana. Know what you're buying, though, if space is an issue. While some lantanas maintain a low, mounding habit, others can reach 5 feet tall and wide in a single growing season.