July is the month for smoking shoulders, ribs, butts and grilling. Hopefully you have gotten all of the chores and tasks done in the lawn and landscape earlier in the year so now you can have a BBQ and relax and enjoy your property. If not, there are a few things that can still be done even though its hot.
Start cutting the grass a little taller during the hot weather if you have Fescue, Bluegrass, or Ryegrass. These cool season grasses will fight the effects of heat and drought better if cut no lower than 3 inches during July and August. Cutting lower will just put too much stress on the grass during hot weather. Be sure to water deeply and as infrequently as you can to put down a minimum of inch per week. It might take 3 waterings per week, or you might get it down with one watering.
ONLY warm weather grasses such as Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede need fertilizer in the summer. Cool season lawns, such as fescue, should NOT be fertilized now. Wait until September to make that first application. Your turf will thank you. If you have Bermuda grass, you can seed it now if you have large bare spots that need filling in. Small bare spots will quickly fill in with proper fertilizing, watering and mowing. Fescue and other cool season grasses can not be seeded now with good results. The grass will come up, but just die from the heat and lack of water.
When the temperatures stay above 70 degrees at night, fungus can "attack" your turf. Watch for turf diseases such as brown patch, dollar spot, and others. Apply a fungicide if needed. Or all the Extension Office for advice.
Don't do any pruning to shrubs and trees during the hot months if you can keep from it. During January you can cut a lot of excess growth off, with no harm. During July if you cut the same amount off you would in January, you may kill the plant, shrub or tree. Just wait until fall now, to shape up your shrubs and trees.
As rainfall decreases, trees will be stressed. Your river birch trees are most likely dropping some of their leaves to conserve water.
Do not prune azaleas and rhododendrons after the second week of July or you will be removing the buds for next year's blooms. Remove spent blooms and damaged leaves from your roses. To prevent the spread of fungus, water plants carefully at their base and mulch. Black leaf spot may require the use of a fungicide at regular intervals.
Watch for the presence of scale, spider mites, lacebugs, and leafhoppers, which are common this month. Water trees and shrubs thoroughly at the drip lines. Watch for any unusual growth or diseases on trees and contact your extension agent.
Dig up and divide over-crowded irises and daylilies. Pinch off spent blooms to keep flowers coming. Stop pinching off mums now (mid-July) so they can develop flower buds for the fall. Cutback and fertilize delphinium and phlox to encourage a second show of bloom. Give your plants a good watering once or twice a week instead of little and often.
Continue to deadhead annuals that have already bloomed. Cut back Impatiens and other leggy annuals to encourage side growth and more blooms, then fertilize them with ½ cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer per square yard of planted area and mulch.
Continue to stay on top of weed control. Hand removal of weeds is friendlier to the environment than herbicide use. If you use sprays, be sure to choose a warm day, above 85°, without wind. When using chemical weed control, always read and follow label directions.
Unfortunately, mosquito season is in full effect. Although there hasn’t been much rain, it is still a good idea to do a sweep of your property and dispose of any unwanted standing water. If you have some standing water that you’d like to keep, make sure to toss in a Mosquito Dunk comprised of Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacteria which is only harmful to insects in their larval stage.
Mulch, mulch and more mulch! I know this is a “tip” for that gets put out for each and every season, but that’s because mulch actually helps that much! Mulch is especially useful during the summer as it keeps weeds out of the garden (which are competing for water and nutrients with your wanted plants) and it keeps moisture in the soil.
If you feel like your lawn could use a little extra help during these hot summer months, contact Precision Lawn Care to set up weekly maintenance visits from our talented landscaping teams.
Variously known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
The Birth of American Independence
When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical. By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in Thomas Paine’s bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published in early 1776. On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence. Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee–including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York–to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.
On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” On July 4th, the Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.
Early Fourth of July Celebrations
In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty. Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war. George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.
After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties–Federalists and Democratic-Republicans–that had arisen began holding separate Independence Day celebrations in many large cities.
July 4th Becomes A National Holiday
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees. Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.
Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.