Green Tips for the Month of July

New turf from sod, seed, plugs or by hydro- mulching.  Water lightly each morning and evening for first two weeks to keep new grass alive.

Crape Myrtles, other nursery stock. Wrap plants to protect from highway wind on trip home.  Plant immediately and hand-water every 2-3 days until fall.

Fall tomatoes and pumpkins early in month.  Peppers mid-month for fall harvest.

Late-summer and fall annual color from hardened 4-inch transplants.  Water frequently until established.

Fall-flowering perennials and ornamental grasses from 1 and 2 gallon nursery pots.

Mow on 4- or 5-day intervals to keep grass low and dense.  Raise mower one notch if you are seeing browned grass each time you mow Bermuda, but drop mower down again in early spring.  Sharpen mower blade after every 20-30 hours of use.

Pinch coleus, caladiums and basil to remove unwanted flowers and copper plants to keep compact.

Crape myrtles lightly to remove spent flowerheads and stimulate additional growth, blooms.

Other shrubs to maintain natural shape and remove unwanted and erratic branches.

Trees to remove low-hanging branches that are casting excessive shade, also dead and damaged branches.  Apply pruning sealant to cut surfaces of oaks to prevent spread of oak wilt.

Perennials as they finish blooming to remove spent flower stalks and seedheads.

Roses stem-by-stem as soon as flowers fade to encourage additional growth, buds into fall.

Lawn with high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer.  Withhold feedings to St. Augustine if gray leaf spot is an issue.  New lawns, after second mowing, with half-strength application.

Annual flowers, fall vegetable plantings with same high-nitrogen, lawn-type fertilizer to keep plants vigorous.

Patio pots and hanging baskets with diluted complete-and-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with each watering.

Roses with specialty rose food monthly through August to keep plants vigorous for fall bloom.

Use iron additive/sulfur soil acidifier to correct chlorosis (yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most visible on growth at ends of branches.).  Keep iron products off surfaces that could be stained.

Aphids in crape myrtles, pecans, oaks.  Use general-purpose insecticide to control before leaves become coated in sticky honeydew residue and covered with black sooty mold.

Chinch bugs cause dried and dying spots in hottest areas of St. Augustine lawns.  Insects are b-b-sized and black with white diamonds on their wings.  Use general-purpose turf insecticide.

Elm leaf beetles strip tissues from Siberian ("Chinese") elm leaves.  Apply B.t. or general-purpose insecticide to eliminate.

Grasshoppers strip foliage from wide variety of plants.  Apply general-purpose insecticide in downward sweep with hose-end sprayer.  Trim weeds that may be harboring them.

Leafrollers attack vinca groundcover in late summer.  Also a problem with redbuds, sweetgums, cannas and other landscape plants.  Apply systemic insecticide prior to damage.

Knotty galls on hackberry, cottonwood and oak leaves, among others, are harmless and cannot be controlled by spraying.

Cicadas will be very noisy, but do no damage and cannot be controlled with conventional insecticides.  Large bumble-bee like insects are predatory (and beneficial) cicada killers.

Rows of holes in trunks of pecans, oaks and other trees are caused by sapsuckers (woodpecker relatives) and are of no concern.  Nurseries sell sticky deterrents if needed.

Gray leaf spot causes yellowed areas in St. Augustine turf.  Blades and runners will have diamond-shaped gray/brown lesions.  Do not apply additional nitrogen until mid-September.  Treat with turf fungicide for immediate control.

Fungal leaf spots of shrubs and trees usually show as random dark brown, purple or black spots surrounded by yellowish tissues.  They can be controlled with a general-purpose fungicide.

Blossom-end rot of tomatoes (sunken, dead areas at outer ends of fruit) suggests plants have gotten too dry at least once.  It is not a disease.

Dallisgrass, crabgrass and other grassy weeds can be controlled with MSMA, but only in Bermuda turf.

Apply Image or Manage to eliminate nutsedge from St. Augustine or Bermuda turf.  Repeat application 30 days later.  Grass in treated area will grow less vigorously for a few weeks.