Monthly Garden Guide

Things To Do In July

Cool-season grasses:
Just as in June, cool-season lawns such as perennial ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue are growing slowly now, so do not mow short. Be sure to cut ryegrass and bluegrass to 2 inches. Tall fescues should be left even taller – between 2 and 3 inches after cutting. Mow tall fescues often, but never cut off more than one-third of their total height.

Extend the time between irrigation of all fescue now, and water it deeply to encourage deep roots. Most other cool-season grasses tend to seed shallower than warm-season lawns, and require more frequent watering than warm-season grasses. In hot weather most cool-season grasses need to be watered twice or three times a week in interior zones, and at least once a week in coastal zones. Early in the morning (any time between midnight and dawn) is the best time to irrigate both for water conservation purposes and also for lawn health.

Do not fertilize cool-season grasses now in interior zones. Along the coast fertilize very lightly – one half of the normal amount.

Warm-season grasses:
Warm-season lawns such as Bermuda, zoysia, kikuyu, Adalayd grass, dichondra, and St. Augustine thrive in summer and are growing at their fastest now. As in June, cut common Bermuda even shorter to 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch. Cut zoysia to between 3/4 and 1 inch and kikuyu as short as 1/2 inch, to keep it in bounds. Remember to slice down and through kikuyu and pull out escaped kikuyu stolons often, to stop their tendency to creep into flower beds. Dichondra should look billowy and lush now. Cut it high or not at all. St. Augustine grows fast, so cut it often to 3/4 or 1 inch at least once a week.

All warm-season grasses should be watered deeply and infrequently, so as to encourage deep rooting, rather than watering shallowly and often. St. Augustine needs the most water; it can die if it is allowed to go dry. Be sure to water it at least once a week, more often in sandy soils. Bermuda, zoysia, and kikuyu can often go as long as two weeks between waterings, depending on the weather and your climate zone. Water deeply, and extend the time between waterings as much as possible while still maintaining good appearance.

Feed most warm-season grasses every four to six weeks during the growing season. Feed Adalayd half-strength, early in the month. (Too much fertilizer can stress it in hot weather.) If kikuyu is growing well don’t feed it at all. Too much fertilizer can make kikuyu very difficult to manage. If you want to get rid of kikuyu or Bermuda as weeds, kill them now with glyphosate, and pull them out by the roots, but be aware that they might come back from seeds.