July 2014 Gardening Calendar
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Early in the month is the last time you will have a chance to treat your lawn for grub worms. In the near future, the grubs will reach their mature size and quit feeding. At that point, the soil insecticide is not effective in killing them.
Treat for grubs if you had grub damage last fall. You can expect a repeat of the infestation. A soil insecticide treatment will also control chinch bugs.
July is a big month for sand bur development. You should be able to see the burs ripening. It is too late to prevent the burs if they are visible. One control tactic that works fairly well is to pop the plants out of the ground with the tip of your spade. The roots are shallow, so they pop out easily. Collect the plants, immature burs and all, in a pail or garbage sack for disposal. I put mine in the compost pile, but if you fear that or the pile is not active enough for the burs to decompose, place them in the garbage.
In the vegetable garden, the spring tomatoes are at the end of their useful life. The best strategy is to pull them up early in the month. In late July or August, the fall tomatoes can be planted.
Okra, peppers, eggplant and southern peas should produce fruit to harvest. If the fire ants have found your okra, spray them with a water stream before you try to harvest the pods. It also helps to spread bait, such as Amdro or Conserve, around the area outside the garden.
Keep the vegetable and flowers in the garden well watered. Fertilize everything every month with a cup of slow-release lawn fertilizer per 16 feet of row.
Deadhead the spent flowers on zinnias if you want to maintain a maximum level of new blooms. The same strategy also works well for esperanza.
If your ‘New Gold’ lantana was infested with lace bugs last year, it’s advisable to apply acephate or Spinosad spray as quickly as possible to prevent damage again this year. Lace bugs suck the juices from the underside of the lantana leaves, then blooming ends and the foliage looks dusty.
Move the containers this month to reduce the penetration of roots from shrubs and trees into the drain hole of well-watered container plants. Moving the container a few inches in any direction should break off small feeder roots. If the pot won’t move, you may have to cut the connection with your shovel.
Mulch conserves moisture, reduces weed germination and keeps the soil cool. Replenish the mulch around your flowers, vegetables and shrubs.
Mulch is an essential part of gardening in central Texas, but is also a good habitat for snails and slugs. Apply slug and snail bait in the foliage-eating pests’ likely hiding places.
Consider retrofitting your clothes washer drainage connection to allow graywater to be used on your landscape. For a short write-up on graywater and its use as a landscape water source, as well as retrofit suggestions, send a self-addressed and stamped envelope to Graywater, 9530 S. Presa, San Antonio, TX 78223.
Calvin Finch Ph.D. is a Horticulturist and Director with the Texas A&M Water Conservation and Technology Center.