Petals from the Past

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Monthly Garden Gossip

July, 2017

Welcome to our garden! We're proud of our hard work and want to share the reward with you, so here is what's going on in the garden this month..Central Alabama

blackberries

The blackberry harvest is almost finished and we will be cutting back our old canes and preparing the new ones for next year's crop. We are planning to start pruning around July 10. Two vigorous primo canes should be utilized to establish a fruiting system for production next year.  Allow one primo cane to grow to 6 to 8 inches above the bottom wire (which should be 36 inches above the soil level), and cut such that 1 to 2 inches of cane is above the wire. As branching resumes on the new primo cane, select two branches each of which will grow along the wire in opposite directions and tie to the wire. All other branches should be removed.  This same type of training procedure should be used when the second primo cane grown above the top wire which should be 60 inches above the soil level. 

All other branches should be removed.  This same type of training procedure should be used when the second primo cane grown above the top wire which should be 60 inches above the soil level. 

All excess shoots should be removed periodically to permit the energy of the plant to develop the four branches along the trellis wires.  All other primo canes which arise at soil level should be removed. Once the old floricanes are removed in mid July, an application of 1/2 cup of calcium nitrate or 1/4 cup of ammonium nitrate is applied. We sometimes duplicate the application in late August. 

Use of pine bark mulch greatly conserves moisture. This year we will spray the blackberries twice with copper. Once in Late July and again in late August or early September.

Weed control is important to reduce competition around plants especially when they are young. Hoeing or hand pulling is fine.  If herbicides are applied, care should be used to avoid damage.  Don't apply glyophosate herbicide (such as Roundup) around young plants less than one year old or later than July. Still Confused? Check out our Blackberry Pruning Video.

fire blight

Fire Blight on Apples

Fire Blight

If you are seeing some fire blight on your apples and pears the only thing you can do now is cut off the infected branch.  Remember to dip your pruners in a 10% clorox solution before each cut. Burn the branches you cut off don't be tempted to put them in the compost pile. Finish thinning apples and pears at this time. It helps to increase the size of the fruit and the excess fruit can cause your branches to break. Keep your figs watered during dry spells. A fig tree will drop its leaves and fruit to protect itself during drought situations.

Finish thinning apples and pears at this time. It helps to increase the size of the fruit and the excess fruit can cause your branches to break.

Keep your figs watered during dry spells. A fig tree will drop its leaves and fruit to protect itself during drought situations.

Our crews are out combing the muscadines. This term means separating the shoots for ease of harvest, otherwise the tendrils wrap around the vines and make it difficult to pick the fruit.  Cut off excess growth.  Leave about 30" to 36" in length.  Cutting off the excess vines puts all the energy of the plant into increasing the size of the fruit.  Keep watering well during dry periods.

pumpkins

If you are planning to grow pumpkins for Halloween the seeds need to be planted before July 4. Also butternut squash and all the winter squashes can be planted now and will be ready for harvest in the fall.

 

Oakleaf, mophead, and lacecap hydrangeas should be pruned by August 1 or you could be removing next years flowers.

If your Blue hydrangeas have turned pink there is nothing you can do about it this year. However you can use a soil acididier or aluminium sulfate to make them blue again. If you wish to keep them pink just add a little pelletized lime around your plant.

hydrangeas

Fall Tomatoes

If you would like a fall crop of tomatoes now would be the time to plant them. If you are unable to find tomato plants at this time of year you can take cutting of the tomatoes that you are now growing. Place them in damp potting mix in light shade. Keep them moist for a couple of weeks and they will be rooted in. Then plant out in the garden.

It would also be a good time to give some thought to the fall garden.

Pruning

Oakleaf, mophead, and lacecap hydrangeas should be pruned by before August 1 or you could be removing next years flowers.

Prune all repeat flowering roses and fertilize them in preparation for the fall bloom. Roses, hydrangeas and woody trees and shrubs may also be rooted this month.  Plants with hollow and pithy stems are easily rooted.

Lime Light Hydrangea

Limelight Hydrangea, hydrangea paniculata, is a good choice for summer color. The flowers are lime green and white changing to deep pink in the fall. Limelight makes a great hedge, specimen plant or in the perennial border. Limelight will grow to be about a 7 foot shrub, however, if that is a little to big for you check out Little Lime the same lime green and while flowers on a 3 to 5 foot shrub.

snowflake hydrangea

Snowflake Hydrangea, hydrangea quercifolia, is an oakleaf hydrangea with double white flowers that turn a pinkish color as they age. This is another hydrangea that provides amazing summer color.The leaves turn a lovely red burgandy color in fall. A wonderful adddition to a woodland garden, flower border or specimen plant. It grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide.

 

Make sure that you keep your hummingbird feeders clean and the food fresh. Scrub with a brush or add 2 tablespoons of uncooked rice to the feeder and shake vigorously.  Rinse well.  Do not use soap in the feeders.  Once a month soak feeders in a solution of 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water for an hour.  Rinse well before refilling. Keep the water fresh in your birdbaths too the birds will appreciate it.

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