Watch for Fireblight
Members of the rose family may be susceptible to a bacterial disease called fireblight. It gets its name because plant tips blacken and curl as if burned. If you spot it on serviceberry, pear, apple, or cherry, prune out the diseased tips down to healthy wood. Sterilize pruners with alcohol between each cut.
Be on the Lookout for Tomato Hornworms
The hornworms are amazingly camouflaged, but the dark green droppings and stripped leaves are a sure sign. Handpicking is the easiest control, but if the caterpillar has small white cocoons extending from its body, let it be. These are beneficial wasps that will kill the caterpillar.
Renovate June-Bearing Strawberries
Set the mower high and mow down the strawberry planting as soon as you finish harvesting. Be sure to get rid of all the weeds, and cultivate between the rows to remove runners. Sidedress with compost or general garden fertilizer. Renew the mulch if needed.
Time to Stop Pruning
July 15 is the date to stop pruning in our region. When a plant is pruned, it puts on a flush of new growth. At this time of year new growth may not have time to harden sufficiently to get through the winter without damage. You can resume pruning in fall when plants are going dormant.
Make Successive Sowings
Don't let the summer slip by without putting in second and even third plantings. There's still plenty of time to sow carrots and beets, Chinese cabbage and bush beans, late corn and kohlrabi. Also, get those transplants of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale ready for the garden by hardening them off.
Replace Old Broccoli with New
Time to yank those old broccoli plants and replace them with new ones for fall production. Even though some broccoli plants will give you side shoots after the main head is removed, they are often not worth the garden space. So get started on new ones.
Replenish and Check Mulch
Make sure your mulch is well in place for the heat of summer. If you have thick straw mulch on the vegetable garden, check underneath it after a rain or watering to make sure the water gets all the way to the soil. If not, pull it back in places, water deeply, and then replace it.
Cut Back Lily Stalks
Cut back spent lily stalks by about one third to one half. You need to leave the stalks in place so the leaves can replenish the bulbs. Also, the stalk lets you know where they are for transplanting. If you need to move them, dig bulbs in late August or early September and plant them immediately without letting the bulbs dry out.
Stake Spindly Hibiscus
Get stakes ready for giant hibiscus plants just in case they are somewhat spindly. They can usually stand on their own, but if they are in any shade at all they may begin to fall over. Once they start blooming, the weight of the huge flowers can pull them down. A simple bamboo stake next to the stalk is sufficient