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  • July garden tips & tasks

    Make sure the trees and shrubs you planted in spring get plenty of water. The Nashville Tree Foundation advises that trees planted in the last three years should receive 10 gallons per week per inch of tree caliper. Water your trees slowly with a bucket, soaker hose, slow drip hose or watering bag.

    As tomato plants continue to grow and produce, keep the soil around the plants consistently moist. Inconsistent watering is the reason tomatoes develop cracks.

    Summer annuals and perennials such as daisies, glads, zinnias, sunflowers, cosmos and others make beautiful summer bouquets. Cut them early in the day when they’re at their freshest and put them in water in a vase right away. Change the water daily to keep them fresh longer.

    Pick summer squash and zucchini while they are still small and tender for best flavor.

    Watch for tobacco hornworms on tomato plants and Japanese beetles on just about everything else. Pluck the worms off the tomato plants and dispose of them. (If you see one with its back covered with white eggs, leave it; it is being parasitized by a tiny wasp.) Knock Japanese beetles off plants into a bucket of soapy water.

    Cut back the stems of mums once more, before they begin to form flowers. This allows them to delay flowering until fall.

    Lawn growth (and lawn mowing) may slow down as the heat increases. Continue to mow as needed, but don’t cut the grass too short. Provide about an inch of water if it doesn’t rain.

    Don’t forget about those hanging baskets and container gardens in the heat. If it doesn’t rain, you may need to water them daily during the hottest part of summer.

    Overgrown beds of bearded irises should be divided every three to five years. July is a good time for this task.

    You can plant a second crop of summer vegetables that grow quickly. Cucumber, bush beans and zucchini can usually produce a crop by fall if seeds are planted early in July.

    Coleus’ beauty is in the foliage, so when it begins to bloom, pinch off the flower spikes to encourage the plant to grow fuller and bushier.

    Take a daily walk around the garden to enjoy the scenery, but also to spot problems with weeds or bugs before they get out of hand.

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Transplanting roses in the ‘wrong’ season

We are moving from one home to another this summer. We have a rose bush in our garden that was a gift for a special occasion that we planted about three years ago, and we’d like to take it with us. Is it possible to transplant a rose bush? It’s not very large, but it has a few blooms on it now.

Rose

The best times to transplant roses are in early spring or in the fall, but if, for whatever reason, mid-summer is when you have to do it, then give it the best care possible. Here is advice from Marty Reich, a consulting rosarian with the Nashville Rose Society and American Rose Society:

Dig up the rose with as big a root ball and as much soil as you can, and move it into a large container, disturbing the roots as little as possible. Move it to its new home, but don’t plan to plant it right away. Instead, trim the long canes back to 18 – 24 inches and keep the rose in the container in a sheltered spot where you can water it every day.

After about a month, begin feeding it with an all-purpose fertilizer (Marty suggests “something like Miracle Gro”) every couple of weeks. In fall, when the weather is reliably cool, is the time to put it in the ground in its new home.

When the time comes, prepare the planting hole in a spot that gets full sun. Garden experts at the Gardening Know How website suggest this method: Dig a hole about 15 inches deep and wider than the root ball, mix plenty of compost into the soil, then build up a small mound of soil in the center of the hole.

Remove the root ball from the container, place it on the mound and spread out the roots so that the bush sits slightly above ground level. Fill the hole with soil about halfway, water it thoroughly, then backfill with the remaining soil. Marty Reich, the ARS consulting rosarian, advises to mulch around the canes and over the bud union. Water the newly planted rose throughout the winter as needed, and watch for new growth next spring.

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