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July Gardening Tips

*Snapdragons should be pinched back after blooming to promote a second flush of growth.

*Cut back and fertilize delphinium and phlox to encourage a second flowering.

*Many plants are easily propagated by layering. Verbenas, euonymus, English ivy and climbing roses are a few plants that will root if the stems are fastened down and covered with soil.

*Cutting flowers is best done with sharp shears or a knife which will help avoid injury to the growing plant. A slanting cut will expose a larger absorbing surface to water and will prevent the base of the stem from resting on the bottom of the vase. It is best to carry a bucket of water to the garden for collecting flowers, rather than a cutting basket.

*Divide and transplant bearded iris using the vigorous ends of the rhizomes. Discard the old center portion. Cut the leaves back to about six inches.

*Tall flowers should be staked to prevent damage by wind. Use stakes which are large enough to support the plant but are not too conspicuous. Use soft twine or twist ties to secure.

*A brown or grayish cast over a lawn can be caused by a dull or improperly adjusted mower blades that shred grass rather than cut it.

*Store pesticides in a safe place in their original containers, away from children and pets. Use pesticides carefully in your garden. Read the labels and follow the directions. The warnings and precautions are for your protection.

*Certain pesticides have a waiting period of several days between the time of the last spray and harvest. Read and follow directions on all labels before applying to your vegetable crops. Wash all produce thoroughly before use.

*Control mosquitoes by eliminating all sources of stagnant water.

*A garden needs one inch of rain or water each week. Early morning is the best time to water. Evening watering is less desirable because plant leaves that remain wet through the night are more susceptible to fungus diseases. Mulch plants to reduce water losses and improve yields.

*For fall harvest of lettuce, radish, carrots, beets, turnips, kale and spinach, sow weeds in late July to early August.

*Continue to make successive plantings of crops like beans and sweet corn to provide a continuous harvest until fall. A small garden will produce a large quantity of vegetables if replanting is done throughout the summer.

*Check the soil moisture of container grown vegetables and flowers daily. As the temperature rises, some plants may need water twice a day.

*Continue attracting insect eating birds to the garden area by providing them with a fresh water source.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office