“It’s July … What needs to be done
- Plant tomatoes and peppers from 4-inch pots. Visit http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable for recommended varieties
- Early July is the time to plant small and medium pumpkins for Halloween harvest.
- Plant heat-tolerant annuals that have been acclimated to hot, sunny conditions. This includes moss rose, purslane, trailing lantana, purple fountain grass, firebush and copper plants.
- Lawn grasses can be planted this month, but you will need to water twice daily for short intervals to keep soil surface moist until the grass has established good roots, usually in two to three weeks.
FERTILIZING AND PRUNING
- Fertilize plants that bloom on new growth, such as crape myrtles, tropical hibiscus, and roses, with a high nitrogen fertilizer to promote late-summer growth and fall blooms. Apply same fertilizer to boost summer annuals and fall-flowering perennials.
- Light pruning of erratic spring growth may be done to maintain the natural form. Dead and diseased wood from trees and shrubs should be removed. Major pruning should be postponed until mid-winter.
- Deadhead all blooming plants. Remove dead leaves and spent blooms from container plants.
- Be a “plant health” detective! Plants respond in various ways to heat and drought stress. These symptoms are often misdiagnosed as an insect or disease problem. Correctly identify the problem before turning to a pesticide.
- Galls on leaves of oaks, hackberries and other trees are caused by many species of gall-forming insects, and are result of the female stinging the leaf tissues as she lays her eggs. Galls are harmless since the insect does not feed on the plant tissues.
- Watch for lawn pests. Dry, light-colored areas in sunny parts of St. Augustine are probably the result of chinch bugs (small black insects with a white diamond on their backs). Apply Merit (imidacloprid) or other labeled insecticide. Grub worms are the culprits if the turf turns brown and easily comes up when pulled on. Treat with a granular insecticide.
- Rapid death of established landscape plants and orchard trees during the summer may signify the presence of cotton root rot, a soil-borne fungal disease common in our calcareous clay soils. Since there is no effective control, verification by the Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab at Texas A&M (http://plantclinic.tamu.edu) will help you know what plants can be used as replacements.
Extreme Use of Fish – Aquaponics is a soilless combination of fish and plant production using aquaculture and hydroponic systems. The fish supply an all-natural fertilizer source and then are harvested as a food source. Tilapia is the most common type of fish used in this production with catfish being second. Aquaponics uses one-sixth the amount of water to grow eight times more food compared to traditional agriculture and by eliminating soil, soil bore diseases are also eliminated.
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