It may be raining and cold outside, but we say it’s the perfect time to do some gardening!
JULY IS THE MONTH TO PRUNE
What’s the deal with pruning? It’s simple: pruning encourages rejuvenation.
By removing dead or diseased branches, cutting off long, spindly branches and trimming dense plant growth, you’re allowing more light to penetrate all parts of the plant, increased levels of oxygen to circulate around your plants, and new, stronger shoots to sprout. This will boost the immune system of your plants and trees so they’ll suffer from fewer fungal diseases and fewer pesky insects can hide away from you.
Plus, it’s a great way to shape plants/trees/hedges and keep your garden looking neat and tidy, as well as the only way to keep your view unobstructed by overgrown trees and hedges.
Keep these tools and gardening aids handy for your pruning sessions
- sharp secateurs
- Lime sulphur
What to prune in July:
- Deciduous fruit trees like peach, plum and apricot trees. They lose their leaves in winter so it’s easier to see which branches are diseased, old or weak. Read an article with more in-depth advice here.
- Roses: Pruning your roses is important if you want to encourage bigger, better blooms. Just remember, if you live in the Western Cape, time your pruning between mid-July and the first week of August. Prune Hybrid roses, tea roses and miniature roses but wait to prune rambling roses until after they’ve flowered. When pruning roses, follow the DSTV rule:
- D: deadwood. Always remove.
- S: sickwood. Essential to prune.
- T: tiny, twiggy branches. Remove.
- V: pruning in a v-shape allows sunlight in to the centre of the plant.
For more info on pruning your roses, watch this simple tutorial.
- Hydrangeas: Notoriously tricky, hydrangeas do well with a bi-annual pruning, one in summer and one now, in winter. Read an article with more in-depth advice here.
- July is the time to prune summer and autumn flowering climbers and shrubs like cassia, clematis, golden shower, barleria, ribbon bush, wild dagga and westringia.
- It’s also a good idea to pinch out the growing tips of sweet peas to encourage strong, bushy growth.
- Cut off the old fronds on ferns to make way for new growth.
OTHER BITS FOR YOUR TO-DO LIST:
Plant & Sow:
- Plant pansy and viola seedlings now in well composted beds. They’ll reward you with a burst of colour in late winter and spring.
- Sow the following seeds now for colour in summer: alyssum, balsam, candytuft, linaria, Shirley poppies, impatiens, vygies and calendulas.
- For a hearty winter meal, sow winter veggies, like cabbages, leeks, peas, turnips, carrots, radishes, beans, eggplant, pumpkin, broccoli, Swiss chard and Asian greens, which can all handle the wet, cold weather.
- Make sure you get your lilium bulbs into the ground before the end of the month
- It’s time to feed all flowering plants with 3:1:5 to boost flower production.
- Water camellias, azaleas and deutzia regularly to prevent bud drop. Also remember to keep the soil around these plants well mulched.
- Feed spring and summer flowering bulbs with bulb food once every two weeks.
- Fertilise hydrangeas with an application of 3:1:5 and compost.
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