Now that we’ve reached July, the summer season is in full swing, and we should be ready to experience some of the hottest days of the year! This is perfect timing as everything in the garden will have come alive, and you can now enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Although you’ll still need to carry out basic maintenance, most of the hard work will have already been done in May and June. This month, the main thing to remember is to take the rising temperatures into consideration by regularly watering hanging baskets and beds, and ensuring your compost heaps are kept moist.
Whilst you enjoy the garden, keep an eye out for foxes, butterflies, and other wildlife; foxes rear their cubs in late spring and early summer, while butterflies make an appearance in drier, warmer weather. Again, it’s important to keep your plants hydrated to ensure they provide more nectar.
Neil Gallagher from our grounds maintenance division gives us his run down on the things you’ll need to stay on top of this month…
Feed the lawn
As July is typically one of the hottest months of the year, you should now be mowing the lawn at least once or twice a week, depending on the amount of rainfall. When mowing the lawn, a cut length of 3 inches is generally recommended, though this should be raised by half an inch when temperatures are higher. This is because a longer cut helps the grass to retain more moisture.
During the summer, it’s also vital that you feed the lawn to prevent the growth of weeds and moss, as well as ensuring your grass retains its vigour and lush green colour. This is your last chance to feed the lawn if you want it to be fresh for the warmer months, so remember to make sure this is applied when the grass is damp, and that you’re using a spring or summer lawn fertiliser.
If you have a pond in your garden or grounds, then it may have already started to look a little lacklustre due to the drier, warmer conditions causing the water level to drop. This isn’t good news for frogs, as ponds need to be between 2 and 3 feet deep to attract them. To restore your pond to its former glory, top up the water with rainwater siphoned from a butt; ideally, this should be done once a week during dry spells.
Weeds are also rife in the warmer months, so you should take care to remove any that are floating on the surface of the water.
Keep plant borders tidy
Plants and flowers grow rapidly in the summer (and this also includes weeds!), so you need to regularly tend to your borders to keep them looking neat and tidy. This means removing and treating any weeds, and cutting back perennials (which will be coming to the end of their lifecycle, and may have already faded). You should also cut back any overgrowth in flower beds, hedges, and hanging baskets; this will also encourage new growth, to keep them looking fresh.
To encourage further blooming, you should deadhead roses, peonies, and shrubs (such as azaleas and lilacs). These should be removed as soon as possible.
Treat clematis wilt
If you’ve planted clematis in your grounds or garden, now’s the time to make sure they’re not affected by clematis wilt. This is a fungal disease that causes the plant’s leaf stalks to turn black, and the leaves and stalks to wilt rapidly. Stems may also have some black discolouration if they’re infected.
Although clematis is most commonly affected (and this occurs due to them being shallowly planted in dry soil), many of the large-flowered hybrid cultivars are also susceptible to clematis wilt. To treat, cut out the wilted parts of the stems and disinfect your tools to stop the infection from spreading further.