Things To Do When Gardening in July

Colorado potato beetle larvae dining on nightshade leaves by imarsman

July is the time to work in the garden -  so get up early before the sun gets brutal.  A few of the jobs to be done in July are:

Water plants: If you live in an area that is having a drought, you will have to water. With the heat of summer and the drought,depending on your plants, many will need to be watered frequently. How to water correctly is often misunderstood. A good site for information on proper watering is this.  And because water is becoming more and more of a rare commodity, with a drought might come prohibitions from your township on using it outdoors on your grounds. So you will have to check with your local government to see if watering outdoors is being allowed.

In times when water is rationed you might want to use what is called gray water to keep the plants alive. Gray water is the water used in your house for washing, etc. – all but toilet water. The proper usage of gray water is explained here.

It is best to water before the sun comes up. It is best to soak the soil around the roots of the plants rather than to spray water over the tops of the plants. First, it saves water. Less water evaporates when you soak the root area. And for some plants, especially roses, watering the leaves can cause fungal problems like black spot – if the plants are susceptible to the disease.   When you water it is best to soak the plants deeply so that the roots stay down in the soil. Shallow watering can cause roots to more upwards.  See here.
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Double Knock Out Rose Problems

Nice & Easy Double Knock Outs by perennialpal

TheGardenLady received this question from Wendy.

I live in eastern North Carolina and I have several double knockout rose bushes and they have been beautiful. This year I pruned them back in early spring and had a magnificent show – we have had several hard storms lately and now there are no blooms on the bushes. There are a lot of dead heads. Should I pinch off all of them or should I leave them be? I dont remember having to do this after first pruning in the past – but I also thought I had more blooms and for a longer time through out the summer.

When one has a hard rain it knocks a lot of flowers off. The rain did a job on my peony flowers as well as my Knock Out Rose flowers. Perhaps someone should invent a rose umbrella to protect the flowers from hard rains. They do sell umbrellas for Peonies – but these umbrellas are really to protect the peonies from too much sun. Cricket Hill Nursery sells peony umbrellas from Japan (see here).  Too much sun will make the peony flower have a shorter bloom period. So gardeners do have to work with the elements.

Back to your roses. Knock Out Roses are bred to not have to dead head them.  See here.  The petals pretty much fall cleanly off. But I think the part that is left does not look pretty, so I cut it off back to some leaves.  It seems much cleaner looking to me. You will have to decide what you want to do – to dead head or not to dead head. Just know that you don’t have to deadhead. I let the rose rest a little after its initial burst of blooms. The next time I have to water the roses, I add a little fertilizer that has a high phosphorus content to the water in a watering can and pour it around the roots of the bush.

I loved Schultz’s Bloom Plus which had the highest phosphorus percentage; but Schultz gave up this fertilizer component of their products. I was so upset to learn they no longer are making their Bloom Plus nor did they tell me if any other company has taken over the manufacture of it. So I went to all the local nurseries to see if any had this Bloom Plus product left on their shelves. One of the best nurseries in my area, knowing how good the product was, had ordered a lot; so I bought up a lifetime supply- it doesn’t spoil and one uses so little of it per gallon. Of course, there are other brands that make rose fertilizer or fertilizers for optimum flowering of plants. I just never thought they were as good as Schultz’s.

Double Knock-Out Roses by Charity D

I have seen that with this added fertilizer encouragement each time I water my roses, I have a great flower show. But even without the extra fertilizer boost, Knock Out Roses will delight you with continuous bloom throughout the summer. Just let it catch its breath.

Dead Heading Gardenias

Gardenia: dead or alive by wiccked

TheGardenLady received this question from Annette.

My gardenia bushes were so full of blooms this year – they were glorious. The blooms only lasted a few days, about half of them yellowed and started to fall off.  I deadheaded them as they have some more buds. Did I do the right thing?

You absolutely did the right thing in dead heading the dead gardenia flowers.  See here.