Gardening ABCs for July
from the Johnson County Master Gardener Association

Apply fertilizer to turf grasses if enough moisture is available and it’s been more than 6 weeks since you fertilized. Apply 19-5-9, 15-5-10 or any 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio fertilizer except to St Augustine.

Apply about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet to warm-season grasses and for vegetables and ornamentals, a fertilizer with a 1-1-1 ratio.

Avoid fertilizing St Augustine lawns till mid-September, especially if you’ve had a problem with gray leaf spot, which causes yellowing in irregular areas.

Avoid leaving fruits and vegetables on the plants to long. Many plants will stop producing if the fruit is left till full maturity and the quality of the fruit isn’t as good. Annual herbs, too are not as good if they’re not trimmed often. Many will die once they’ve flowered. So removing the flowers will keep them producing longer.

Begin removing spent blooms from roses and crape myrtles to encourage new growth.

Begin removing old vines of summer squash, cucumbers, melons and Southern peas as they decline. Add compost to these areas to be used in your fall garden.

Begin planting fall crops of tomatoes, fall squash and pumpkins, if there’s enough room now.

Begin collecting seeds to swap or give as gifts.

Beware of chinch bugs in St Augustine, spider mites in vegetable gardens, leafrollers in vince, cannas, sweetgums and pyracanthas, and cotton root rot in susceptible trees, growing in alkalinc, clay soils.

Beware of over watering during the day and under watering at any time. Very early in the day is the best time to water, when soil and air temperatures are cooler and there’s less chance of fungal growth and evaporation. Water your lawn or garden like you used to kiss your spouse, “long and slow”. The moisture should penetrate deep into the root zone.

Control chinch bugs in St Augustine, those very small, black insects with white diamonds on the backs of their wings, by watering properly or with a turf insecticide. They usually appear along sidewalks and driveways or the hottest parts of the lawn. Spider mites can be controlled by removing the most severely affected leaves and treating the rest with insecticidal soaps or miticide. Systemic insecticides will control leafrollers but unfortunately (or fortunately, if you own a nursery), there’s no cure for cotton root rot. That’s why we always recommend buying the resistant varities.

Complete maintenance of your sprinkler system and check to be sure each zone received the correct amount of moisture.

Complete mulching beds and adding compost to the area where you’ll have your fall garden. We’ll finish planting fall crops next month.

“Happy Gardening!”

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