Removing spent blossoms from your shrubs and garden flowers
can be tedious work, but often pays big dividends. The removal of spent flowers
often is referred to as deadheading.
Pinching or pruning off dead flowers is not just a matter of
aesthetics — it also can encourage additional blooming.
Many plants — petunia, geranium, marigold, speedwell, and
coreopsis, among them — will re-bloom after deadheading. For these plants, the
formation of fruit and seed signals the plant to stop flowering, since its job
of reproducing through seed has been accomplished.
For species that do not repeat bloom, preventing fruit and
seed formation still is good practice, as it allows resources to be spent on
root and foliage growth and development of flower buds for next year.
Many faded flowers simply can be pinched off, while some
need to be cut off with a knife, scissors or pruning shears. Mix the trimmings
into your compost pile.
On the other hand, spent flowers and fruits of some plants
are part of the overall ornamental character, such as viburnum, money plant and
hydrangea. Deadheading of such plants can be delayed until they become
& Garden Calendar
Plants and Activities
* Watch closely houseplants that have been set outdoors. They need more
water than they did indoors. They can dry out rapidly in hot, summer
* Propagate houseplants by taking cuttings from vigorously growing plants.
Place cut end in rooting media, such as perlite, vermiculite or peat moss soil
mix. Enclose in plastic, and keep out of direct sunlight.
Woody Ornamentals and Fruits
* Keep newly established plants watered during dry weather. Allow water to
penetrate deeply into soil rather than sprinkling frequently and lightly.
* Apply mulch around young plants to help conserve soil moisture and control
* Do not plant bare-root or ball-and-burlap stock at this time of year.
Container-grown plants still may be planted, but only if you can keep them well
* Continue a fruit tree spray program to keep diseases and insects under
* Remove water sprouts, sprouts from the trunk, and suckers, sprouts from
the roots, from fruit trees.
* For those fortunate growers who have a good crop this year, prop up fruit
tree branches that are heavily loaded with fruit.
* Pinch off faded rose blossoms. Continue rose spray program to control
insects and diseases.
* Many trees are plagued by “lawnmower blight.” Be careful to avoid nicking
tree trunks while mowing.
* When watering lawns, apply 1 to 1.5 inches of water in a single
application per week. Frequent, light sprinklings will encourage roots to stay
shallow, making them more susceptible to drought.
* Bluegrass is a cool-season plant and is under great stress during hot, dry
summers. If water is not applied, the bluegrass will become dormant and will
turn brown, until more favorable conditions arrive in autumn. For extreme dry
conditions, rescue watering is required to keep the plants alive, while still
dormant. Apply one-half inch of water every two to four weeks.
* Mow grass one-half inch higher than usual during the dry, summer months to
help conserve soil moisture. Do not mow when lawn is under severe drought
* Don’t remove clippings from the lawn unless grass is excessively tall or
weedy. Clippings return some nutrients to the soil and do not add to thatch
Flowers, Vegetables and Small Fruits
* Supplement natural rainfall, if any, to supply 1 to 1.5 inches of water
per week in a single application.
* Start seeds of broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts to transplant later
for a fall harvest. Harvest crops such as tomatoes, squash, okra, peppers, beans
and cucumbers frequently to encourage further production.
* Complete succession planting of bush beans and sweet corn.
* Harvest summer squash while small and tender for best quality.
* Standard sweet corn is at its peak for only a day or so. The supersweet
corn maintains its peak quality for a longer period. Harvest when silks begin to
dry and kernels exude a milky, rather than watery or doughy, juice when
* Broccoli will form edible side shoots after the main head is
* Mulch garden to control weeds and conserve soil moisture.
* Make sure potato tubers, carrot shoulders and onion bulbs are covered with
soil to prevent development of green color and off flavors. Applying a layer of
mulch will help keep them covered.
* Allow blossoms on newly planted ever-bearing strawberry plants to develop
for a fall crop.
* July is a good time to fertilize strawberries with half a pound of actual
nitrogen per 100 feet of row.
* Harvest raspberries when fully colored and easily separated from stem.
After harvest is complete, prune out the fruiting canes to make room for new
* Remove faded blossoms from annual and perennial flowers to prevent seed
* Condition flowers cut from the garden for arranging by removing lower
leaves, placing cut stem ends in warm water and storing overnight in a cool
* The foliage of spring-flowering bulbs can be removed safely after it
fades. This also is a good time to lift the bulbs for transplanting or