Here are our gardening reminders for the month of July:
1) July is set to be the driest month ever recorded in the UK. Water is best applied to plants in the form of a good soak, and not a spray over, which evaporates in no time at all, and little
gets to the deeper roots. Don’t forget to leave fresh water for birds and small animals.
2) Applications of water at the rate of 1 inch (2.5 cm) per application will replace the water deficit when applied weekly in mid-summer. Ensure that your sprinkler is producing an even pattern, and there is no water run-off on a slope. Check application rates and uniformity with a rain gauge or plant saucers spread across the sprinkler area. Never water during the heat of the day,best times are early morning or late evening.
3) If the garden is to be left for some time in mid-summer, consider cutting back the tops of all flowering plants to stop seed being set and germinating without control. This should also lead to a good display of flowers later in the season.
4) Lawns may turn brown in dry conditions in summer, but will rapidly green up as soon as rain comes or irrigation is applied. Let grass grow a little bit longer to reduce stress and cut the lawn weekly to prevent it becoming too long. You can leave the grass mowing’s on the lawn in dry weather to act as a mulch and further help to save moisture. Remove obvious weeds as these too
will compete for water.
5) Hoeing lightly is an effective way of reducing water loss, not only does it eliminate weed competition for water, but a fine tilth on the soil surface helps prevent transpiration, but don’t hoe too deeply. A mulch of garden compost is another very good method of helping reduce water loss, and also helps increase soil organic matter.
6) Check the moisture level of hanging baskets every morning and water thoroughly if dry. Feed plants with a soluble or liquid feed once per week and remove flower heads which are going over.
7) Prune pyracanthas by cutting back side-shoots to 2-3 leaves from their base for a good show next year. Wear gloves!! When the first flush of hardy geranium and Alchemilla is over, cut them hard back for a spectacular second flush of flowers.
8) Clear foliage from ponds and remove weeds from around the edges, and excess growth from water lily foliage. Make sure the soil in bog gardens doesn’t dry out.
9) Remove spent rose flower heads and maintain the sprays to combat greenfly rust, mildew andblackspot if appropriate. Apply a summer rose feed fertilizer in the middle of the month.
10) Trim quickthorn hedges and continue to keep hedge bottoms clean by hoeing or the use of Gramoxone. Always check for nesting birds before cutting hedges in summer.
11) Check all plant ties, and that all herbaceous forms of support are strong enough for the new growth.
12) Be sure to keep hydrangeas well-watered, they are very quick to show the shortage of water bydropping heavily.
13) Keep hardy and half-hardy annuals well-watered and weed-free. Try not to walk on the beds as the plants damage easily. It is usual to place a plank across two boxes to help with weeding and the removal of spent flowers.
14) Can compost can be harmful in holes dug for new trees? Guy Barter, chief horticultural adviser at the RHS, says: “The compost rots and the tree settles down too far in the soil and as a
result root and stem rot can set in. It’s best to plant trees in plain old soil.”