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July yard and Garden Tips

Watch out for

• Flowers

Japanese beetles— these pests will defoliate plants in short order. Keep a sharp lookout for them. If you find an infestation, use carbaryl (Sevin, etc.), which is very effective. Observe all label precautions on mixing and use. Do not use dusts due to the problem with application—a spray made using the liquid form of the product will work fine. • Fruits

Fireblight—inspect fruit trees for fireblight. If you had problems with fireblight last year, you will need to spray your blooms this year to prevent the spread. The best defense is a fireblightresistant variety. • Lawns

Lawn diseases— continue watching for problems with brown patch and dollar spot in warm season grasses, especially if you had problems with one of them last year.

Chinch bugs—watch for chinch bugs in your warm season lawn.

White grubs—the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis does a nice job on them, but it does take a little time to build up in the soil.

Mole crickets—inspect warm season lawns for mole crickets this month. Eliminating these critters requires diligent work in June, July, and early August. • Trees and Shrubs

Bag worms—bag worms can kill a tree if it is heavily infested. Inspect your trees periodically. Bagworms seem to like juniper, arborvitae, and pines, but they will attack many broadleaf shrubs and trees such as rose, sycamore, maple, elm, and black locust.. Handpicking light infestations works well; applying the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis will also take care of the problem. • Vegetables

Garden insects— keep an eye out for corn earworm, cucumber beetle, and squash vine borer in the garden.

Blossom end rot— check your tomatoes for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to form. This is usually an indication of a calcium deficiency. Place a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to prevent this. Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray will also help alleviate the problem. Nothing will “heal” the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them.

Things to do

• Fruits

Spray fruit trees— continue spraying your fruit trees with a fungicide (Captan, etc.) every 7 to 10 days to provide the beautiful fruit you look forward to. Do not use any insecticides on the trees until less than 10% of the blooms remain—you certainly do not want to hurt your bee pollinators. The fungicide will have no effect on them. After the blooms have fallen, you may begin to also spray malathion insecticide. • Trees and Shrubs

Pruning—now is another good time to prune most trees and shrubs. July and August are the months to prune azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud, and rhododendron. They should be pruned after they bloom, but before bloom set in the fall. Oakleaf hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars might also be considered now. Avoid any pruning in the spring and fall if at all possible.

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