July In The Northeast: Regional Gardening To-Do List

Hands Cutting Tomato From Plant
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By July in the Northeast, the gardener might be thinking their work is done…and they would be wrong. The Northeast gardening to-do list is year-round and there are plenty of July garden tasks to get cracking on.

July in the Northeast

By June, pretty much everything that needs to be planted has been and spring bloomers have been pruned back, so it might seem like a good idea to hang up the garden gloves, sip some ice tea and watch the garden unfurl. Not so. There are still lots of July garden tasks to be accomplished.

Weeding, of course, is never-ending, but to minimize having to hand-pull weeds if you haven’t already done so now is the time to mulch. Add a thick 2- to 3-inch (5-7.5 cm.) layer of mulch around your plants. No need to weed first – just lay the layer over top of the weeds. The thick mulch will smother them. Yet, another bonus to mulching is keeping plant roots cool and retaining moisture.

Northeast Gardening To-Do List

Now that the mulching has been accomplished, it’s time to tackle other July garden tasks.

  • If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check on automatic irrigation systems. If you don’t have a sprinkler system, consider installing timers. Also, capture that rare rainstorm by purchasing a rain barrel. On the subject of irrigation, use a soaker hose to slowly and deeply water trees every other week if there is little to no rain.
  • Keep flowers blooming by deadheading and fertilizing. Plant gladiolus up until the middle of July. Divide Madonna lilies as soon as they are done blooming. Oriental poppies can only be moved in the summer and July in the Northeast is a good time to do it. Dig up the roots and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces and replant.
  • If yews and hedges need pruning, now is the time to tackle them. After mid-July, abstain from using electric shears and only judiciously prune with hand clippers.
  • Fertilize zoysia lawns but wait to fertilize other types of turf until Labor Day.
  • Use your herbs! Some herbs get hard and woody if not cut frequently or bloom, which affects the flavor of the herb.
  • Thin fruit from trees to foster larger, healthier produce.
  • Save your berries! Fertilize and cover blueberries with netting to protect them from birds. Trim runner growth from strawberries so more energy will go into producing berries. Remove the fruiting canes from raspberries after harvest.

And you thought July in the Northeast was going to be a time of relaxation!

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