Here’s your garden checklist for July.
Woody plant care
Redtwig dogwood, forsythia and lilacs may be renovated this month if not already done. Remove one third of the oldest canes.
Fertilize roses for the third time at the end of this month with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer. Do not fertilize after Aug. 1. Starting in July, begin to keep an eye out for Japanese beetles as they start to appear. Roses are one of their favorite food sources. Remove the beetles from bushes before damage occurs.
Annual and perennial care
Annual geraniums should be pruned by removing the entire flower stem. Weekly pruning of the longest stem of cascading petunias will keep the plants full and healthy.
Annuals in containers and hanging baskets need to be watered every day as the temperatures increase.
Delphiniums, salvia, catmint and decorative perennial geraniums may be sheared back following first flowering. This will promote a second, late-summer flower show.
Daylily flowers or seed heads should be removed immediately after flowering to conserve the plant’s energy.
In a dry season such as we have been experiencing, the question becomes to water or not to water our lawns. In drought times, lawns can be allowed to go dormant as their crowns will remain alive. Some people prefer to keep their lawns alive and green by establishing a frequent watering program applying at least 1.5 inches of water per week. Once you decide which plan you want to follow, it is important to not rotate back and forth. If you have opted for the dormancy approach, it is important not to break the dormancy as this actually drains large amounts of food reserves from the plant, causing stress and making the turf more susceptible to disease.
Do not apply herbicides during the hot weather.
Fruit and vegetable care
Crabapple, apple, plum, apricot and peach should have all ground level sucker growth pruned out below the soil level.
Monitor all vegetables for fungi and bacteria disease problems. There are several steps to prevent these pathogens from invading your vegetable garden areas. It is helpful to reduce moisture on leaves and fruit by watering at the base of the plant. Stake tomatoes, runner beans and cucumbers. Mulch with straw or woodchips. Inspect your plants regularly and remove any infected leaves. Following the growing season, remove infected plants and plan to rotate next year’s crops.
Seeds of beans, broccoli, spinach, cool-season lettuce and cabbage may be sown for fall crops toward the end of July.
This has been an unusual and slightly difficult growing season with our early, unexpected warm weather in March forcing many of our plants to grow and bloom sooner than normal. With many of our plants over their main bloom period, our gardens may be looking a little drab this month.
A great way to perk up our gardens is to add a new population of flowering annuals and perennials. A new decorative garden ornament or container can add some spice to your summer garden.
On July 14, the DeKalb County Master Gardeners will present their fifth annual Gardenwalk and Plant Sale. Hundreds of annual and perennial plants will be offered for sale at the Farm Bureau Center for Agriculture at 350 W. Prairie Drive in Sycamore. The Garden Boutique area will provide a large selection of garden ornaments and all things related to gardening. A new item will be added to the boutique this year. Beautiful, handmade wooden obelisks of all sizes will be available for purchase. A Children’s Corner will be available for little gardeners to select a plant to take home.
The Gardenwalk will be presented on the same day and will feature eight spectacular home gardens. Visiting homes on the walk offers a great opportunity to get ideas for you own garden. Both the Gardenwalk and Plant Sale are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.
• The Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at the University of Illinois Extension DeKalb County office in the Farm Bureau Center for Agriculture, 1350 W. Prairie Drive, Sycamore. Walk-ins are welcome. For information, call 815-758-8194 or email DeKalb_mg@extension.uiuc.edu.