July is Summer at its best: picnics, trips to the beach, reunions, and long days of warmth and sunshine. We celebrate the independence of our great nation on the 4th of July, and spend a lot of time outdoors.

It also signals a slowing down of the frantic pace of May and June. Gardens settle into a more laid back rhythm, trying to stay cool and preserve water. Here are a few tips to help our gardens be as productive and beautiful as they can:

– Set the mower up a notch or two no as to maintain the lawn at a taller height. This helps to conserve moisture at ground level, and will help to keep the crowns of the grass from scorching.
– Shear back annuals that have become a little bedraggled. While you will feel the shock initially, they will soon resume a more compact appearance and resume good flower production.
Begin to place your orders for Fall plant inventories — shrubs, trees, perennials, grasses and groundcovers. While you’re at it, place your Spring ones also!
– Deadhead flowers and roses.
– Continue to pick vegetables and herbs regularly. Once crops finish producing, remove plants to the compost pile and seed/ plant for Fall.
– Continue to water deeply. Don’t rely on late afternoon thunderstorms to water your plants. Water at root level, and ideally early in the morning before the heat of the day, or in the early evening.
– Pull weeds and grasses after watering.