July Zone 5

What to do in the garden in July in zone 5

  • Water  July can be hot and dry.  Make sure everything is getting enough water, about an inch per week for most plants and lawn, more in extreme heat and drought.  Tomatoes must have consistent watering to prevent mis-shapen fruit and blossom end rot.  Water in the morning to minimize evaporation.
  • Raise the blade  Raise the blade on the lawn mower, by now you should be at about 3”.  The growth will be slowing down a bit anyway in the summer heat, and a little longer grass shades the soil better to retain moisture.  Your lawn will look much greener and healthier, and require less sprinkling.
  • Fertilize the lawn  Your grass can be fertilized about every 6 weeks.  If you are due, apply early in July before the heat really sets in.  A healthy lawn will survive heat and drought much better than a weak lawn.
  • Remove suckers  Remove water sprouts and suckers from trees and shrubs.
  • Plant zinnias  Zinnia seeds sown the first week of July will give you late bloomers that are frost tolerant.
  • Prune hedges  Any hedge or shrub pruning that is necessary should be done early in the month to prevent young growth from freeze damage in the fall.  Do not do severe pruning, only light trimming to shape.
  • Deep water trees  Give your trees a long deep soaking to get through the summer heat.  Make sure the mulch is up to 4 inches deep, wide enough to reach the drip line if possible, and not contacting the trunk.
  • Feed annuals  Annuals need regular fertilizing for good bloom production, about every 4 weeks.
  • Deadhead  Remove spent blooms from annuals and perennials, removing seed pods to prevent self seeding.
  • Prepare for dormancy  Trees and shrubs want to drink heavily for the next couple of months to prepare for winter dormancy.
  • Harvest  Many of your vegetables will be ready for harvest by now.  Early season crops have been coming all along, but beans should be ready this month and tomatoes and peppers coming up soon.
  • Stop fertilizing plants  By mid July discontinue fertilizing perennials and shrubs in zone 5A.  Fertilizing now will encourage new growth that may not be ready for fall freezing temperatures.  Annuals and vegetables can be fertilized right up until frost to keep them fresh and blooming.  Zone 5B can probably continue into next month.
  • Stop fertilizing roses  After mid July, roses should not be fertilized in zone 5A.  New growth that may be encouraged can be easily frost damaged this fall.  Fungicidal sprays may still be applied if necessary.  Zone 5B can probably continue into next month.
  • Divide iris  Iris can be divided and replanted every 3-5 years.
  • Watch for powdery mildew  Powdery mildew usually appears in late summer.  Fungicidal sprays can be applied to susceptible plants before it attacks.
  • Fertilize vegetables  Fertilize the vegetable gardens every few weeks with a liquid fertilizer, less often with slow release and organic fertilizer.  Most herbs need little or no fertilizer if the soil is well enriched.
  • Check containers and baskets  Container gardens, hanging baskets and window boxes dry out quickly and need frequent watering.  They will also need to be fertilized regularly.
  • Weed  Keep weeding to prevent a big fall weed crop the competes with your garden plants for water and nutrients.
  • Fill the birdbath  Fill shallow birdbaths frequently.  Deep birdbaths can harbor mosquito larvae, empty the stale water and refill.


  • Check for grubs  Dead patches of grass may signal grub activity.  If the brown patch will pull up like a loose piece of sod, you probably have grubs.  If the problem is widespread or severe, treat with non toxic milky spore, or grub control chemicals.  Don’t worry about a small or limited problem, your lawn should recover with enough water.
  • Plant fall bloomers By the end of July or August you should be planting fall blooming annuals or perennials such as asters and fall blooming crocus.
  • Divide  Daylilies, bearded iris, and peonies can be divided by end of July or into August, but do it on a cool morning.  Water well a few days ahead of division and again after replanted.  Mulch well.
  • Don’t apply pesticides  During the summer heat, avoid applying pesticides, even insecticidal soaps.  If you must, apply on a cool evening.
  • Drink water and wear sunscreen!
calendarSharon Dwyer