Take care of garden, and yourself, during summer


Mid-summer garden chores can be so rewarding as we spend time amongst the blooms and produce. Enjoy your summer lawn and garden but be sure to protect yourself from the heat and sun. Hats, sunscreen and working in the cool of the morning or toward evening is best.

Maintain your

It is time to deadhead your perennials and annuals to keep them blooming longer. Deadheading (removing spent floral blooms) will also prevent self-sowing and plant’s wasting energy on seed production.

Mounding plants such as perennial geraniums, dianthus, or coreopsis benefit from a shearing to about 4 to 6 inches from the base of the plant; the plants will reward you with a second flush of blooms later on.

July is a good time to prune petunias back. Cut stems back by one fifth of their total length. Cut each stem just above a leaf set to encourage branching from that point. When pruning petunias, always leave a minimum of one or two sets of leaves. Fertilize and water well after pruning. Plants may look funny at first, but they will reward you later with more blooms.

Other chores

It is time to cut back bulb foliage such as daffodils. It is also a good time to move bulbs if you want to. This is the time to divide and replant bearded iris; you want to do this before Labor Day. Be on the lookout for iris borers; any old or rotten iris rhizomes or those with the borer need to be removed from the garden.

Vegetables and fruits

Remove early vegetables such as peas. Consider replacing them with quick-growing vegetables such as snap beans or radishes.

You can also consider planting slower-growing vegetables that will enjoy the cooler weather later on; crops such as carrots, kale, peas, or lettuce can be sown from seed now to enjoy later in the fall.

Consider covering blueberry plants with bird netting before the birds discover the fruit.

Make sure your tomatoes are secured; remove any spotted or yellow foliage and put them in the trash. This will slow down tomato disease issues such as early blight and Septoria leaf spot.

Keep all vegetable gardens weeded, watered, and mulched. Watering is especially important during dry spells; uneven watering can cause blossom end rot in tomatoes. Blueberries are particularly sensitive to drought.


Keep mowing the lawn as high as possible to keep your lawn healthier. This keeps grass roots longer and makes your lawn more tolerant of drought. It will also prevent germination of some weed seeds.

Continue to fertilize your annuals through August. July is the last month you should add any fertilizer to woody shrubs and/or trees since you do not want to encourage new growth that will not harden off in time for winter. Continue to keep weeds under control; remember that weeds compete for plant resources as well as attracting insects and diseases.

July is also the time to be on the lookout for Japanese beetles; handpicking these pests using a pail of soapy water is better than utilizing a pesticide spray. Whenever, you are in the garden, take a few minutes and inspect your plants, look for problems and act when necessary.

Upcoming event

Join us on the grounds at CCE July 22 at 4:30 p.m. for the Free Hugs Project under the big tent.

Hear uplifting stories from local people and our guest speaker, Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., “The Hugs Guy.” 

To view his video and to register for this event go online to: http://cceoneida.com/events/2021/07/22/-free-hugs-project-live-event-july-22nd

If you need help identifying problems, visit our website at cceoneida.com. You can also contact our horticulture hotline at (315) 736-3394, to speak to a master gardener volunteer who will help to assist you. If you are a vegetable gardener, be sure to visit the Cornell Vegetable Pathology, Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center website at https://blogs.cornell.edu/livegpath/ to see pictures of diseases and problems impacting vegetable plants.


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