Upper South

July, 2013
Regional Report

Rejuvenate Annuals

Revitalize tired, leggy annuals, trimming them back to vigorous side shoots. After trimming, feed annuals with a balanced fertilizer high in phosphorus. Some annuals may not be worth cutting back and saving. Pull this out and compost them. Replace these with seeds of fast-growing annuals such as marigolds, zinnias, cleome, or sunflowers for late season bloom in the garden.

Keep Hydrated

High temperatures and humidityare hard on plants, but can be even harder on you. To work outdoors under these conditions, do most of your gardening in the early morning or late evening hours. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, apply sunscreen, and wear loose-fitting, light colored, natural-fiber clothing. Take frequent breaks in a cool, shady place and drink plenty of fluids.

Prune Rambling Roses

Old-fashioned rambling roses such as 'Dorothy Perkins' benefit from vigorous pruning now. Leave the new this old wood at ground level. Tie the new canes to supports such as a fence and remember to wear thick gardening gloves to not get pricked by your rose bushes.

Garden Before a Vacation

Before leaving for a summer vacation, mow the lawn. If you'll be gone for more than a week, make arrangements to have someone cut it again. Water all container plantings, water trees, shrubs, and flowers well and mulch. Harvest all vegetables that are ripe or nearly so.

Prevent Tomato Blossom Drop

Don't panic if your tomatoes lose their blossoms. Both day and night temperatures effect how tomatoes perform. The optimum temperature range is 55 to 70 degree F nights and up to 90 degree F days. Blossoms tend to fall off when temperatures are outside that range or the soil is too dry. The problem will correct itself when temperatures modify and rains occur.

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