JULY 2021
   Continue to deadhead flowers to extend the period of bloom.  You may need to replace pansies and other annuals that can't take the heat with more heat tolerant varieties.
   Be on the lookout for chewed blossoms and black, pepper-sized specks on the leaves of geraniums, petunias and nicotianas.  These are signs of geranium, or tobacco, budworms.  If you inspect plants closely you will probably find small green caterpillars -- the black specks are their droppings.  To get rid of this hard-to-control, destructive pest pick off the caterpillars or treat plants with an insecticide containing Bt.
   Good bug or bad bug?  Take time to find out the answer to that question before grabbing the insecticide.  Destroying every insect you see in the garden isn't wise.  In fact, you may be creating problems.  Several insects, such as ladybugs, are beneficial insects that feed on the bad bugs that harm plants.  
  Mulch beds and borders with an organic mulch such as pole peelings or shredded bark to limit water evaporation on hot days.  Mulch will also help reduce the number of weeds.
   Pinch or shear off the top third of asters and chrysanthemums early in July to keep plants compact.  Do this task early in the month or you'll end up cutting off flower buds.
   Plants grown in containers will require frequent watering during the hot month of July -- possibly as often as twice a day!
    Container plants should be fertilized approximately every two weeks since heavy watering washes nutrients out of the soil. 
   Avoid fertilizing Kentucky Bluegrass and tall fescue this month.  On the other hand, Buffalo grass, Blue Grama and Bermuda grass should be fertilized with 1/2 pound to one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn.
   Mow lawns at a height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches.  Grass that is mowed shorter than 2 inches is less drought and heat tolerant and more prone to pests and disease.
   The best time to water your lawn and garden is between midnight and 8 a.m.  There is less evaporation and usually better water pressure than during the daytime.  When you water in the evening the leaves stay wet during the night, making them more susceptible to disease.
  You can still spray trees early this month to protect them from an attack by Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB).  For additional information about MPB contact the nearest office of the Colorado State Forest Service, the U. S. Forest Service, or Colorado State University Extension Service.