So it’s the middle of the summer and your hanging baskets have lost that fresh fullness that they had in June. Your perennial beds are looking less colourful. Your vegetables are producing fruits but are getting holes in the leaves or powdery mildew. Your lawn that looked lush in the spring is looking dry or patchy. What to do now?
Here’s a quick guide on a few fixes you can do in late July to refresh your yard and keep it looking great to the end of summer and into fall...
Annual planters and hanging baskets
Cut back any plants that are getting long and leggy. Take about half their length. Lightly shear plants that have stopped blooming. In a couple of weeks they will fill out and be bushy again.
Use a water-soluble fertilizer with a high phosphorus content like Jack’s Blossom Booster to promote more bloom every two weeks.
Use your hose to blast off any aphids or other insects and follow up with an insecticidal soap like Bug B-Gon Eco for persistent infestations.
Pro tip: sometimes pots benefit from being turned every week so all sides get the same amount of sun!
Shrubs and perennials
Cut back spring-flowering shrubs and perennials that have finished blooming. If perennial foliage is getting messy, cut that back too, to promote new fresh growth.
Run a soaker hose or sprinkler for an hour on each flower bed to give a deep watering once every two weeks when rainfall is scarce. This will keep your perennials and shrubs lush and encourage them to grow deep roots that will help them through dry spells. Newly planted shrubs and perennials will need an extra top-up every few days until they have established good roots.
If you have a period of time where not much is flowering, visit our nursery department to find something in bloom at that time and add more seasonal colour to your perennial beds.
If your shrubs and perennials are looking spindly or weak, add a little slow-release granular fertilizer such as Garden Pro Perennial & Vine to give it a boost.
Watch for aphids which can be blasted off with a hard spray of your hose or Japanese beetles which can be knocked into a bucket of soapy water.
Keep vegetable plants evenly watered as opposed to dry-then-wet-then-dry. The latter will stress the plants and cause yellowing leaves and/or blossom-end rot in tomatoes, and powdery mildew in zucchini and cucumbers.
Keep furry or feathered critters from eating your bounty with a bit of chicken wire or bird netting (keep this stretched tight so birds don’t get tangled) around your raised beds, pots or whole vegetable patch.
Most insects/caterpillars/worms can be hand-picked or hosed off your vegetable plants, which is a more organic solution than spraying pesticides on your edibles.
Give plants a nutrient boost with some vegetable food like Jack's Tomato FeED which is water soluble, or slow-release Actisol Tomatoes & Vegetables for a more organic option.
Good year-round watering practices are the key to a good looking lawn in mid-summer. One long deep watering each week or two will promote deep roots that will survive summer droughts whereas quick daily sprinkles will encourage surface roots that won’t be able to keep your grass from getting stressed in the heat.
Put your mower on the highest setting as longer grass will shade its roots and retain water longer. It will also make it a less inviting space for insects like June bugs, Japanese beetles and leatherbacks to lay their eggs in August. If you suspect those insects are laying eggs in your lawn, grub busting products like nematodes and Grub B-Gone Max should be applied in late August or early September when the eggs have hatched and the grubs begin to feed.
Pull crabgrass and plantain weed before it produces seed, to prevent it from coming back next year.
Brown patches can be raked up and overseeded but you will need to keep it well watered. Best to wait until late summer to do this.