Keep control of soft, fast-growing weeds such as thistles; they harbour aphids and other problems.
Now is the time to make yourself a good big compost bin, just before you really need it! Ideally, use four stakes as corners 1 metre apart in a square and staple wire netting (1 metre deep) around the square. This affords easy entry when you wish to empty it, or it can be made bigger or smaller at will. If you would like a really permanent one, use pressure-treated plywood or boards instead of netting.
Treat shrubs which were cut back in the spring with a high Sulphate of Potash feed to encourage the production of flower buds for next year. Prune shrubs grown on walls and pergolas to remove some of the top growth and further stimulate growth from the base of the plant.
Evergreen hedges can be clipped this month (and some deciduous ones), but ensure there are no nesting birds in the hedge or bush. Cut laurel, and Eleagnus hedges with secateurs to prevent cut leaves. In hot weather, spray newly planted container-grown hedge plant foliage with water as well as ensuring that the root zone continues to be kept moist.
Lift tulip bulbs after they have fully died down and store them in paper bags in a dry and airy place over the summer.
Keep hydrangeas well-watered, particularly those growing in containers, as they quickly show signs of drought, and it can be difficult to get them to fully recover.
Check the moisture level of hanging baskets every morning, and water thoroughly if dry. Feed plants with a soluble or liquid feed once per week and remove flower heads which are going over.
Divide established clumps of bearded iris immediately after blooming and plant in the ground or in containers and keep moist. Discard the older exhausted rhizomes, and cut back the foliage of the new plants to approximately 12-15cm.
Lawns may have turned brown in the very dry weather we had in June, but if it rains significantly in the near future, the lawn will quickly green up again. If it remains dry, leave grass mowings on the lawn to act as a mulch. Remove significant weeds, as these will quickly outgrow the surrounding grass.
Roses will appreciate a good soak in the dry weather, remove spent flowerheads and ensure that greenflies are not becoming established on the younger shoots. Apply a summer rose feed in mid-month.
Before hose watering during the summer, ensure that your region has not had watering restrictions imposed, as water resources appear to have become under stress much earlier in the summer than usual.
In dry weather, an effective way of reducing moisture loss on bare ground between plants is to hoe the ground lightly to maintain a loose tilth, but don’t hoe too deeply. Another good aid in very dry conditions is to apply a 2-3cm mulch of garden compost to the soil surface.
Prune or tie in shrubs growing on walls or pergolas to secure some of the heavy top growth and further stimulate additional growth from the lower regions of the plant.
Give the root balls of newly purchased container-grown shrubs and trees a really good soaking before planting and again 5 or 6 days later after planting. Ensure that stakes remain secure after the wind.
July is a good month to take Heather cuttings, choose strong, young, half-ripe, non-flowering shoots, and dip the bottom 5cm in rooting hormone. Insert around the edge of a 9cm pot. Keep in a closed-shaded area, and don’t allow it to dry out, but don’t allow drips from covering glass to fall on them!
Posted 11th Jul 10:59am