Summer Chores

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Summer Chores



Keep trees, shrubs, container plants, and newly planted evergreens well watered.  Early morning is the best time to water - before the hot sun hits them. Water deeply and infrequently.  Wet foliage overnight makes plants more susceptible to fungus and disease.

For watering tips, see Summer Chores task list.

Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs

  • Deadhead flower stalks.

  • As they grow, keep tying vines and climbing roses to their supports. Stake tall flower stalks (e.g. dahlias and delphiniums).

  • Divide and replant irises.

  • Plant fall-blooming bulbs (e.g. autumn crocus).

  • The final fertilizing of roses should be done by mid-August.

Shrubs and Trees

  • Stake newly planted trees, making sure the stake is on the windward side.

  • In mid-month, prune cedars, cypresses and junipers.  Trim off no more than half of the new growth.  Shear yews and hemlock.

tomatosucker1.jpg (195x180 -- 6730 bytes)Fruits and Veggies

  • Pinch off the growing stem tips from eggplant, pepper, melon, and tomato plants to promote ripening of their existing fruits and vegetables.

  • Midsummer plantings of beets, bush beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, kale, and peas will provide fall and winter crops.

  • When the stalk tips of onions yellow, fold down the stalks just above the bulbs to hasten ripening and produce larger bulbs.

  • Trim off raspberry canes that bore this year to about 4-6 inches above ground.

  • Harvest herbs for drying or freezing.

  • Sow a final crop of radishes and kale for fall harvest.

lay_new_sod.jpg (160x174 -- 7581 bytes)Lawns

  • Repair any bare spots in the lawn by sowing seed or laying slabs of sod.  Keep the areas well watered until the grass is established.

  • see Feed and Fix Your Lawn

  • If the weather is still hot and dry, keep the mower blades about 3 or more inches above the ground.

  • Avoid using fertilizers in hot, dry weather.

waterhouseplantsbig.jpg (195x176 -- 6793 bytes)House Plants

  • Continue to watch for insect or disease damage and take the necessary steps to control the problem.  This is particularly important for plants that are "summering" outdoors.

  • If the weather remains warm, it will be necessary to water and mist your house plants more often, as will drier air in air-conditioned homes.

  • Keep feeding your house plants with 1/2 the recommended strength of a good soluble house plant fertilizer while they are actively growing.

butterflyonflower.jpg (195x173 -- 8638 bytes)Birds and Butterflies

  • Change humming bird nectar regularly now into fall, as the hummers will be returning to their winter "resorts" starting soon, and you will want to have refreshments ready for them!

  • Start harvesting seeds from annuals, perennials and shrubs that attract birds and butterflies for sowing next spring.  Don't disturb any pupas that find on these plants.

  • Provide a water source and clean and replace water daily or more often in heat waves.

  • Keep your feeders full - third broods are fledging now, and birds that fly south for the winter will begin dropping by in northern zones.

dandelion.jpg (146x134 -- 14001 bytes)Odds and Ends

  • Keep the weeds pulled, before they have a chance to flower and go to seed again. Otherwise, you will be fighting newly germinated weed seed for the next several years.

  • Continue to watch for insect or disease damage throughout the garden, and take the necessary steps to control the problem.

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