July Gardening Guide

You are the star this month! With the weather warming up, all your hard work, preparation and maintenance is going to be truly appreciated (from sun loungers probably!). Bask in the glory being heaped upon you, but don't make it look too easy! Get on with the July tasks as a gardener's work is never done!

  • Give shrubs and trees the once over. Prune back the spring flowering shrubs and clip back evergreen hedges, providing birds are not still nesting.

  • Fruit trees growing against a wall may need mulching, and heavy cropping pears may need careful thinning, to produce well-formed fruits later.

  • Check all trees for extra growth forming at the base, as these will take goodness away from the main tree. Use sharp secateurs to remove. On trained fruit, tie in new growth, prune to control growth and promote the formation of fruit bud. After fruiting prune cherries and plums (never do this in winter due to risk of disease introduction).

  • Now is a good time to propagate semi-ripe cuttings from shrubs, for example Photinia, Escallonia, Pieris and Fuschia.

  • Remember to prune soft fruits such as raspberries and blackcurrants immediately after fruiting and keep checking and removing side shoots from tomatoes.

  • Mildew may be lurking, so keep checking - especially when summer pruning. Also, watch out for black spot on roses and treat quickly.

  • Feed plants in baskets, containers and grow bags weekly with a liquid feed. Deadhead roses, perennials and bedding material to maintain a continuous flush of flowers.

  • Keep the hoe in action to keep the weed seedlings at bay.

  • Pick maturing vegetables while they're young on a regular basis to maintain continuity, quality and a full flavour. Continue earthing-up main crop potatoes.

  • Sow a succession of quick-maturing salad items on ground released from earlier crops, such as radish, lettuce, beetroot, carrots and spring onions. Sow spring cabbage, swede, turnips, peas etc to overwinter until next spring.

  • Watch out for red lily beetle larvae and the metallic rosemary beetle, also present on lavender. Pick them off by hand or spray in the evening with provardo bug killer, a systemic insecticide. But, note the Rosemary cannot be used afterwards in cooking.

  • There have been some extensive outbreaks of hydrangea scale. The stems and leaf undersides of hydrangeas become covered with a sticky white creature up to 10mm long. Treat as above with bug killer.

  • Lawns would benefit from light dressing of fertiliser now. If were having a hot July, and lawns begin to dry out, cut less frequently and leave the clippings on the lawn as they will act as mulch.

Remember to take care when out in the sun. Plenty of sun screen and water to drink and avoid the midday sun. Have a siesta, you deserve it!