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It’s July… What Needs To Be Done?


  • Plant tomatoes and peppers from 4-inch pots. Visit aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable for recommended varieties.
  • Early July is the time to plant small and medium pumpkins for a Halloween harvest.
  • Crape myrtles are in bloom at local nurseries so you can be sure that you get the color you want. All newly planted trees and shrubs should be kept watered until established.
  • 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. 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.

Pruning and Fertilizing

  • 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 the same fertilizer to give a boost to summer annuals and fall-flowering perennials.
  • Light pruning of erratic spring growth may be done to maintain the natural form. Major pruning should be postponed until mid-winter. Dead and diseased wood from trees and shrubs should be removed any time the need arises.
  • Deadhead all blooming plants. Remove dead leaves and spent blooms from container plants.

Garden Watch

  • Be a “plant health” detective! In the middle of our North Texas summers, plants will respond in various ways to heat and drought stress. Often these symptoms are misdiagnosed as an insect or disease problem. Correctly identify the problem before turning to a pesticide.
  • Galls on the leaves of live oaks, hackberries and other trees are caused by many species of gall-forming insects and are the result of the female stinging the leaf tissues as she lays her eggs. The galls are harmless to the tree since the insect doesn’t feed on the plant tissues.
  • Be alert for summer drought conditions which could occur at any time now, leaving normally well-hydrated plants lacking sufficient water. If plants are still wilted the next morning, watering is needed.
  • Watch out for lawn pests. Dry, light-colored areas in sunny parts of St. Augustine are probably the result of chinch bugs (small black insects with white diamond on their backs). Apply Merit (imidoclopyrid) or other labeled insecticides. Grub worms are the culprits if the turf turns brown and easily comes up when pulled on. Treat with a granular insecticide, especially if you had the problem last year.
  • Don’t forget to provide water for the birds, squirrels and other wildlife that may visit your property.

Click here to read the complete July 2016 E-Garden Newsletter


Check out our Firewise information under the Resources tab above and learn how to be prepared before wildfire strikes.