July is usually where most people start to think about slowing down and relaxing in the Summer sun but for the gardener, all the vigorous growth and beautiful flowering plants need management at this time of year.
Weed, feed and dead-head
Continue to control the weeds on paths and in your flowerbeds. Increase the feeding of seasonal patio pots and baskets – they will benefit from a weekly feed of liquid tomato fertiliser or Miracle-Gro.
Dead-head bedding plants, annuals and Roses as this will encourage more flowers. If you cut back delphiniums and geraniums after the first flowers they should flower a second time, so give them a feed of Blood, Fish and Bone or a slow-release fertiliser.
We still get some windy days so support or tie in any vigorous climbers or tall perennials.
Water as often as needed
July often brings the hottest Summer weather, so increase the watering for the plants that need it. Bedding plants, leafy vegetables, seedlings and new plantings are most prone to drying out. If possible, water your plants early in the morning or in the evening and avoid watering during the hottest part of the day.
Protect from pests
Some pests thrive in hot summer conditions, so check susceptible plants – such as roses – for blackspot, mildew and rust, which can be rife right now. Treat and spray as required.
Maintain water features
Water features will need care this month, rake out any overgrown oxygenating plants and algae from ponds. Top up ponds in very hot weather, ideally using the rainwater collected in your water-butts.
Don’t mow too tight
If the weather is hot and dry, don’t mow too often and raise the height of cutting deck on your mower. Brown patches on lawns in hot spells are inevitable but the lawn will recover quickly, so there’s no need to water. It’s better to use the water for your pots, baskets and flowering borders.
Paint and refresh
Dry summer weather is perfect for spending some time outdoors maintaining your garden outbuildings and fencing: paint wooden sheds, fences, arches and arbours now so you can enjoy the refreshed backdrop in the Summer months and not worry about doing the work as the Autumnal weather arrives!