This is a busy month in the garden, with winter pruning top of the priority list. As day length starts to increase, many plants start to show signs of new growth and shrubs like magnolias and camellias are in their prime. It may still be winter, but July definitely has a spring feel about it. So many winter and spring flowering bulbs and flowers are coming into full bloom. The vegetable garden is filled with flourishing produce and life is fulfilling. Very few pests or diseases and no weeds make this a memorable time in the garden.
- Watering and feeding are vital to keep flowering plants in pristine condition.
- Dead heading is as important as ever.
- Odd gaps in the garden can still be filled with pansies and violas and other flowering annuals.
- Petunias still perform well if planted out now. They are especially suited to window boxes, pots and hanging baskets.
- Prune deciduous fruit trees and spray with lime sulphur to control fungal diseases and insect eggs. NB: Buy new lime sulphur each season, as it does not keep from year to year.
- Harvest citrus and avocados.
- Make sure that trees with crops on are watered during dry spells. This will prevent the fruit from dropping due to stress.
- Apply magnesium sulphate to citrus trees.
- Cut out old, dead or damaged wood from trees and shrubs.
- It’s a wonderful time to purchase new aloes for the garden whilst they’re in bloom.
- Mulch hydrangeas with a layer of compost and well rotted kraal manure.
- Water winter rainfall plants like proteas and their many relatives. July is also a good time to purchase and plant out young plants.
- Water hellebores, as they bloom during the middle of winter.
- Cut back day lily foliage and mulch the plants.
- July is pruning month. Make sure that all tools are sharp and are disinfected after each rose is pruned. This minimises the transference of diseases from one bush to the next.
- Spray with fresh, new season lime sulphur immediately after pruning.
- Dig compost into the rose beds and apply a new layer of mulch around the bushes.
- Feed roses after digging in the compost.
- Transplant roses that need to be moved now.
- Check standard rose ties and renew if necessary.