July Gardening Tips
· Fertilize bermudagrass and St. Augustine lawns at a rate of 1 lb. nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft., equal to 6 lbs. of 16-4-8 per 1,000 sq. ft.
Trees, Shrubs and Flowers
· Many people have container gardens on their patios and porches. Container-grown plants can dry out quickly during these hot, summer days. Daily watering may be necessary, however the soil shouldn’t be soggy or have standing water. Apply water until it runs out the drainage holes. Feel the soil in containers at least once a day and twice on hot, dry days to be certain that plants are getting enough water.
· Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as azaleas, forsythia and hydrangeas as their blooms fade. Be sure to prune them by mid-July to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds.
Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
If you are growing herbs, remember to harvest before they flower for peak flavor or aroma. Pick herbs in the morning when the dew has dried off, when the aroma will be the most intense.
Keep tomato plants mulched and evenly moist to reduce blossom end rot and cracking.
Certain pesticides have a waiting period of several days between the time of the last spray and harvest called “Harvest Interval Date.” Read and follow directions on all labels before applying to your vegetable crops. Wash all produce thoroughly before use.
Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County. Forward any questions you would like answered from this month’s column to: Jessica.Strickland@waynegov.com.