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Summer garden maintenance

Keep your garden looking great with these easy maintenance tips. For the month of July, gardening is all about keeping watch, according to The Morton Arboretum’s Plant Clinic.
 
First, watch your water levels. Plants should receive one inch of water every week. If you haven’t had enough a natural rainfall, be sure to supplement regularly with water. Pay particular attention to drought sensitive plants such as Japanese maples, river birch, hydrangea, and katsuratree. Check container plants daily for moisture levels.
 
Excess moisture and cool weather can allow many fungal diseases to thrive, however. To minimize re-infection, remove infected leaves that have fallen to the ground. Regularly monitor for insect and disease problems. If you have ornamental fruit trees, remove water sprouts and suckers.
 
Read label directions carefully before using pesticides. Improper use can be harmful to plants. If you see something amiss but aren’t sure what it is or how to treat it, contact the Arboretum’s Plant Clinic at 630-71-92424 or plantclinic@mortonarb.org. They can help with proper identification, diagnosis, and control of plant problems.
 
Here are a few more gardening tasks for the month of July:
  • Cut off spent rose blooms to encourage stronger canes and more flowers.
  • Divide and replant iris. Discard any plants showing signs of insects or disease. Iris should be divided every three to five years.
  • Remove spent flowers and pinch back leggy foliage from annuals and perennials to promote bushier growth and more flowers.