July 2013 To-Do List: Coastal & Tropical South

Susan Wells

weedingTropical storm season is with us through November.  Secure container grown plants and trees and remove any diseased branches from trees.  Slightly reduce the umbrellas of trees and open up their internal air flow to help protect them during high winds. Unfortunately, ongoing weeding is the featured task for the following few months. Survey your garden daily for signs of insects or disease.  Worms missing? No worries! They have gone deeply underground to stay cool.
    
Vegetables, Herbs and Fruits

•    Prune tropical fruit trees after the harvest has been completed. Keep up with removing fallen fruit.

•    Harvest your cucumbers, melons and beans. Keep plants picked clean to keep them producing.

•    Prepare to harvest corn and the last of the tomatoes this month. You may be able to extend the tomatoes’ growing season by pruning them to 12 inches. Keep them watered and mulched well. They will not set new fruit while the temperatures are this warm, but you may have some success in the fall with a new flush of vegetables from this original stock.

•    Transplant celery and sweet potatoes.

•    Begin starting seedlings indoors for your fall vegetable garden, keeping the soil moist until the seeds germinate. Provide seedlings with at least 6 hours of sunlight or artificial light, fertilizing once a week with a water soluble fertilizer.  

Flowers

•    Deadheading spent flowers promotes continuous blooming in most annuals and perennials.

•    Continue to sow seeds of cosmos, globe amaranth, lisianthus, marigolds and sunflowers. They will grow quickly if kept watered, blooming in late summer.

•    Cut back long lived annuals (coreopsis, gaillardia and vinca) for abundant new flowering.

•    Higher temperatures and humidity bring the threat of powdery mildew. This often is a problem for zinnias and sunflowers. To help prevent this, water from below, mulch heavily (to reduce splashing of spores from the ground) and remove infected leaves.

•     Prune jasmine after they bloom.

•    China roses are the toughest types of antique roses for the Coastal/Tropical South. A  repeat bloomer throughout the year, the flowers are small and short lived, but the sheer abundance of blooms is a great delight. Red, pink, and white are the primary colors of the China class.

•    Feed your Angel trumpets a liquid compost tea or fish emulsion. They are heavy feeders.

Trees

•    Prune cassia trees, royal poincianas and bougainvilleas after they bloom.

•    If there are dead or damaged limbs and branches on your evergreen shrubs and trees, prune them out. If entire branches have died back due to disease or insects, remove the debris from the area immediately and do not compost any of it. Consider spraying large cuts with a fungicide/insecticide combination.

•    If older shrubs have not been fertilized this year, use the fall-feeding formula of your choice on them as well. Wait until August to fertilize young shrubs.
 Lawns

•    This is a good time to consider applying a pre-emergent weed killer just prior to a heavy rain.

•    Dethatch Bermuda grasses every 2-3 years. (Dethatching removes the build-up of dead material from the base of grass plants. This build-up reduces airflow and water reaching the roots.) Many growers suggest fertilizing and deep watering following dethatching. If your turf develops silver or gray spots, brown patches or black rings, suspect fungus. The fungus is often associated with overwatering, either by rain or irrigation.

Image: Shutterstock/hans.sleger

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