Regional Gardening: Tips For Southeast Gardening In July

Regional Gardening: Tips For Southeast Gardening In July

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Summer is here and those hot temperatures in the Southeast are upon us, as warm season crops are vigorously growing. Many areas can begin planting for fall in late July. Start planning, amending the soil, and get seeds started. Find out about additional gardening tasks below.

July Garden Tasks

Even though you’re busy weeding, watering and harvesting, it’s not too late for planting some crops. Southeast gardening in July often includes a start on the garden that provides the autumn harvest.

You may be succession planting your favorite crops for an extended harvest. Tomatoes are a favorite, as so many varieties exist and grow well in these warm summer conditions. Start those seeds of your Halloween pumpkins. Continue to plant cucumbers, peppers, and southern peas.

In cooler parts of the Southeast, your regional gardening plan may include seed starting in peat pots for broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage plants. You can also plant Brussel sprouts and collards in July for a fall harvest.

Plant tender bulbs now in the ornamental bed for autumn blooms. Butterfly lilies, gladiolus, and the vole deterrent society garlic can be planted in July. Work compost into planting holes before adding the bulbs.

There’s still time to plant palm trees. Get them in the ground while the rainy season helps keep them watered.

July To-Do List for the Southeast

  • If plants don’t appear healthy and vigorous, apply organic fertilizer of your choice. An application of compost tea after watering is a great way to give your veggies a much needed boost.
  • Feed warm season grasses, like Bermuda, zoysia, St. Augustine, and centipede grass, as these are best fertilized this month. Fertilize with 1 pound (.45 kg.) of nitrogen per each thousand square feet of lawn.
  • Feed shrubs and ornamental flowers the last time this season. This provides time for new growth to emerge before freezing temperatures occur.
  • Deadhead faded blooms on outdoor ornamentals. Many will bloom again. Prune limbs that have died back on blueberry, azalea, and mountain laurel.
  • Protect developing fruits on your figs or other fruit trees. Cover them with netting to keep the birds from snatching them. Prune fruiting canes of blackberry and raspberry bushes after harvest is done.
  • Divide and replant overgrown houseplants this month to allow time for them to get established outside in their new containers.
  • Take a soil test from your lawn or your garden area to learn what amendments you should use in prepping the landscape for next season – or fall.
  • Continue to watch for insects on your crops. Keep an eye out for disease symptoms like yellowing and dried out foliage.

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Gardening in the month of July

The amount of water that your garden will need is going to depend on the weather conditions in your area. The primary rule of summer watering is to water thoroughly and deeply each time and to allow the soil dry out between waterings. Deep watering will allow the plant's roots to grow deeper, where they are less likely to dry out, as well as the added benefit of anchoring the plant into the ground better. Light, surface watering actually wastes water, because the water never actually reaches the root zone of the plant, and the moisture rapidly evaporates from the top inch of soil.
The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a trowel or shovel and dig down a few inches. The soil should be moist at least 3 or 4 inches deep to insure that the water is reaching the root zone of the plants. Of course, if you planted drought resistant plants in your garden, you won't have to water as often, but the principal of deep watering still applies. As the weather dries out, your container plants may need daily watering, especially if the pots are exposed to the drying sunlight. Push your finger into the soil in your container plantings at least once a day (more often on hot, dry days) to feel for moisture and be certain that plants are getting enough water. Apply water until it runs out the drainage holes.

Try to do your watering during the morning hours so that the leaves can dry off a bit before the hot sun hits them. Evening watering is sometimes acceptable if the temperatures are warm enough to insure that foliage dries before the temperature drops at night. (Wet foliage makes plants more susceptible to fungus and disease.)


July To Do List

Plant: ornamental & wildlife

  • Succulents
  • Container plants

Plant: food crops

  • Okra, eggplant, peppers, corn sweet potato slips, pumpkin, summer & winter squash, watermelon
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Vegetable Planting Guides (Central Texas)

  • OKAY to prune red oaks and live oaks until February. Spray immediately with clear varnish.
  • No need to apply pruning paint to other trees
  • Dead head flowering plants
  • Last chance to cut back fall blooming perennials (like aster) that are setting buds

  • Foliar feed flowers and vegetables with liquid seaweed
  • Bougainvilla with high nitrogen
  • Container annuals
  • Citrus with high nitrogen fertilizer like Citrus-tone. Fertilize every few weeks through growing season.

  • Watch for aphids and spider mites. It’s easy to spray them off with a hard blast of water. Be sure to get the undersides of the leaves.
  • Aphids and other insects can plague crape myrtles and other trees in summer (“raining trees” are due to the honeydew secretions). Blast with water hose on regular basis.
  • Aphids and other insects can create sooty mold on plants, a fungus that develops from their secretions (honeydew). Wash off the culprits and the leaves. Remove damaged leaves to the trash (not the compost pile).

  • Keep the lawn mower setting up to high. Keep the roots cool by leaving the grass long. Don’t remove more than 1/3 of the top at a time. Leave clippings on the lawn to naturally fertilize.

  • Start planning the fall garden. Clean up debris in the vegetable garden. Late month, apply compost to future beds

Other tasks

  • Solarize areas where you want to kill grass or weed pests for future planting
  • Collect seeds from summer blooming plants. Clean off the chaff and let dry indoors. Store in jars, envelopes, or paper bags (not plastic) to plant next spring.
  • Deeply water new plants. Even if rain comes, check the soil to 3” deep to make sure their roots have water. A brief shower doesn’t mean it penetrated to the roots.
  • Keep a garden journal to note bloom times and insect habits.

  • Prune herbs often to encourage new growth
  • Water fruit and nut trees deeply to avoid fruit drop-off
  • Avoid over-watering perennials and annuals in hot, humid conditions. To avoid root rot, check soil moisture. Water deeply and then let dry out.

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March To Do List

Plant: ornamental & wildlife

  • Annuals: It’s a tricky month for annuals since we get hot days. But the soil is still cold and freezes could still arrive. Late: plant cosmos, sunflowers, morning glory, gomphrena but keep an eye on upcoming freezes. Avoid planting caladiums.
  • Wildflower transplants: early in month, you can still plant bluebonnet, larkspur, poppy and other transplants.
  • Perennials & vines
  • Ornamental (clumping) grasses like muhly and Mexican feather grass (late month)
  • Trees, shrubs, roses (as soon as possible before heat sets in)

Plant: herbs

  • Nasturtiums, chives, catnip, comfrey, fennel, horseradish, feverfew, oregano, thyme, rosemary, Mexican mint marigold, peppermint, lemongrass (after last freeze)

Plant: food crops

  • Chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, endive, Malabar spinach, mustard, peppers, pumpkin, summer & winter squash, tomatillos (you need at least two!), tomatoes, beans, cantaloupe
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Vegetable Planting Guides (Central Texas)

  • Roses (early)
  • Evergreen shrubs
  • Prune dormant perennials and ornamental (clumping) grasses.
  • Trees: DO NOT prune red oaks and live oaks unless damaged. Spray immediately with clear varnish.
  • No need to apply pruning paint to other trees
  • Avoid topping crape myrtles: simply remove sprouts or entire limbs at the trunk.

  • Dormant perennials, roses, shrubs and trees. Still time, but don’t wait!

  • Citrus with high nitrogen fertilizer like Citrus-tone. Fertilize every few weeks through growing season.
  • Add compost to beds as you cut back dormant perennials. Fertilize with slow-release granular late in the month or as dormant perennials leaf out
  • Add compost around trees and fertilize. Be sure to dig out grass several feet from the trunk, ideally to the drip line of the tree canopy.
  • Watch for powdery mildew. Apply a natural fungicide like Serenade.

  • Mow weeds before they set seed. Do not fertilize at this time except with compost!
  • Plant native Habiturf seeds after soil prep
  • Plant other turf late in month once freezes aren’t coming

  • Add compost to vegetable gardens along with organic fertilizer in prep for more summer crops
  • Soil test

Other tasks

  • Keep floating row cover available avoid covering plants with plastic
  • Mulch, but avoid touching the base of trees and roses
  • Till in winter cover crops
  • WEED!

  • When planting, dig hole twice as wide as root ball but no deeper than where it sits in the pot.
  • Backfill and water until it sinks in.
  • Continue filling in.
  • Water again until it sinks in and pack the soil down.
  • Mulch.

February garden jobs

A lot can be achieved in your garden during February, particularly on days when the ground isn't frozen or waterlogged.

Plant bare-root trees and shrubs, and ‘in-the-green’ snowdrops (snowdrops with leaves). This is also a good month for planting Jerusalem artichokes, shallots, raspberries and blackberry canes, if weather conditions permit.

February is also the time to hard-prune your hedges, if you didn't do it in the autumn. Deciduous garden hedges can all be cut back fairly hard now. Make sure the frosts haven’t lifted newly planted trees and shrubs – re-firm around them lightly using your hands or heels if necessary.

In terms of plant maintenance, now is the time to cut back deciduous grasses, ideally down to 15-20cm before new shoots emerge. Deadhead winter bedding plants for bushier displays later in the year, and start preparing seed beds for spring vegetable sowings.

Watch the video: What to sow in July. Easy to grow food. Self-sufficient vegetable garden 2020