University of Maryland Extension

July Tips & Tasks

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bagworms on pine
Bagworms covering white pine

Outdoor Yard and Garden Tips

  • Spotted lanternfly adults may be found feeding on many hosts, especially tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissma). Report any finds to the Maryland Department of Agriculture immediately, collect a sample or take digital photos on what you have found. 

  • Japanese beetles may be feeding heavily at this time. Brush the beetles into a bucket of soapy water held underneath foliage or branches. The use of Japanese beetle traps near your plants is not recommended. Studies show that traps can attract more beetles to your landscape resulting in increased damage.

  • Mulch your landscape now if you haven’t done so already.  Mulch helps keep weeds down and conserves soil moisture. Mulch should be applied 1-2 inches deep and kept away from tree and shrub trunks.

  •  Bagworm caterpillars are now very active. Look for little bags crawling around on evergreen trees and shrubs and be prepared to spray infested trees with the microbial insecticide, Bt by mid-July. Mature bagworms are not well controlled with Bt They are best collected by hand and destroyed or sprayed with insecticides containing spinosad.

  • Proper lawn mowing is critical to help it survive the summer. “Mow ‘em high and let ‘em lie” should be your mowing strategy. Cut your cool-season turf (fescues and bluegrass) to a height of 3-4 inches and leave the clippings on the lawn where they will naturally decompose. 

  • Fertilize bermuda and zoysia grasses. Summer applications of fertilizer should not be applied to cool season grasses (fescues and bluegrass).  

  • Consider planting groundcovers where grass won’t grow such as shady areas, around tree roots, and on steep slopes. Select plants based on the amount of sun or shade the site receives.  

  • Chrysanthemums and asters should be cut back halfway by mid-July to encourage fall blooming. If not trimmed they will bloom later this month and not in the fall. 
    healthy broccoli plants
    Broccoli
  • Sow seed for fall transplants of broccoli, kale, turnip, and cauliflower in flats or containers by the 3rd to 4th week in July. Late crops of squash, beans, and cucumbers can be direct sown into your garden through the end of July.

  • Blossom-end rot of tomato, pepper, squash, and watermelon causes the bottom (blossom) end of the fruit to become brown and rotted. Promptly remove affected fruits. 
  • Squash vine borer larvae are feeding inside squash and pumpkin stems. Monitor plants for signs of wilting and entrance holes on lower stems. You may see sawdust-like frass around the hole. 

  • Brown rot infects peach, cherry, and plum fruits. Pick peaches when background color changes and before fruits become fully ripened. Bring fruits indoors, submerge them in a 1:10 bleach to water solution to kill brown rot fungal spores, rinse well, and allow them to ripen in the kitchen.

  • Leave blueberries on the plants for three to five days after they turn blue. This allows berries to reach their maximum sugar content.

  • Patrol your yard for mosquito breeding sites. At least twice a week, check and remove water that may be standing in trash and recycling cans, flower pot saucers, children’s and pets toys, wading pools, tires, tarps or plastic sheeting.

  • Ticks are active year-round. After spending time outdoors in an area where ticks may be present get in the habit of doing a tick check upon your arrival home.

Indoor Plant and Insect Tips

closeup of camel cricket
Camel cricket

  • Continue to fertilize houseplants while they are actively growing.

  • Springtails are very small insects, 1 to 2 millimeters long, and whitish or grayish in color. Occasionally they may be a problem in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements or areas high in humidity. 

  • Three different types of crickets may invade homes in Maryland. Camel crickets look the most unusual because of their humped back. Often found in damp basements. 

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