July Maintenance Tips
For Trees and Shrubs
- Prune dead and damaged branches.
- Deadhead roses and apply an iron-based supplement.
- Hold off on pruning flowering shrubs until next spring but trim any non-blooming hedges.
- Set the mower to the highest setting, 3-4 inches for St. Augustine grass. For Bermuda grass keep it at 1-2 inches.
- Lawns need one inch of water per week and mulch clippings.
For Perennials and Bulbs
- To get the best selection, order spring blooming bulbs now.
- If you want to get seed from perennials, discontinue deadheading them.
- Support vines and tall plants with trellises and stakes.
- Cut flowers in the early morning when stems are plump.
- Water container plants at least once daily.
- Add your favorite fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.
- To increase blooming, deadhead faded blossoms.
For General Maintenance
Nimblewill weed is a warm season, highly aggressive weed readily resembling Bermuda grass. However, unlike Bermuda grass which grows with rhizomes, it produces stolons that run along the surface of the soil. This extremely invasive weed easily spreads vegetatively by seeds if the plant is allowed to flower, and are then commonly transported by birds, water and lawn equipment.
Typically, nimblewill weed favors moist shady areas but will tolerate sunshine and appears as brown fuzzy patches throughout the lawn. It is difficult to get rid of because there are no selective herbicides available to effectively manage it.
One of the most prolific and invasive turfgrass weeds found in East Texas is Virginia Buttonweed. It is a vining, low growing plant that can survive mowing at even the lowest blade settings. This broadleaf weed found most frequently in moist to wet areas produces a white, four star-shaped petal.
Overwatering or excessive rainfall during the growing period can lead to an onslaught of the weed in turfgrass. Therefore, withholding water until grasses exhibit drought stress symptoms can reduce potential weed growth. Post emergent broadleaf herbicides specifically targeting the Buttonweed and applied in early spring as perennial plants start emerging from dormancy, are helpful in managing the weed. Several applications are generally needed to keep it under control.
Starting with the hot weather in July and continuing through August and into September, chinch bugs can frequently be found in lawns, especially St. Augustine lawns. Chinch bugs like hot, dry sunny turf and can quickly cause substantial damage in a relatively small amount of time. Lawns with an infestation contain large patches of yellowish, wilted, diminutive grass. Because the chinch bugs suck the sap from individual blades, the turf will be left with brown areas that have withered and died.
By pushing a top and bottomless can into the soil, then filling it with water, the presence of the bugs is easily revealed as they will float to the surface in a few short minutes. Chinch bugs are quick moving and measure from 3/16 to 1/8 inch with black bodies and white wings as adults. Smaller, juveniles may be orange-pink colored with a white band on their back.
Summer Mosquito Management
Like all animals, mosquitoes need food, water and shelter to survive. If any one of these components is missing, mosquitoes will die.
Doing away with items such as old tires, plastic pools, sagging tarps, empty buckets and containers from the yard, the breeding sites for these pests will be removed. Mowing tall grass and weeds, as well as, cutting back any vines or shrubs will keep mosquitoes away from yards and homes.
To remove necessary nutrients the pest needs, change water in pet bowls and bird baths often. Get rid of items where water is retained for more than 7-10 days, especially where organic matter such as leaves, soil and grass cuttings are present. When water cannot be drained, try a larvicide for the home. These contain proteins toxic to the larvae but are safe for non-target insects and other animals. They are environmentally safe and generally last up to 30 days. Check labels for uses and how long they will last.