Working in summer garden pays off

MID-SUMMER PLANTING: Start cool-season flower and vegetable seeds in indoor trays. You will get a jump on fall planting but beat the summer heat.

By mid-summer, it is tempting to “let the garden go.”

It’s hot.

The bugs are biting.

The flowers are waning. And attitudes are wilting.

It’s daunting, but you must get outside and work.

What you do now determines the health and beauty of your landscape for months to come. In addition to adding water as needed, gardening tasks include:


1. Cut off spent flowers on roses, perennials and annuals to encourage bloom.

2. Roses that require pruning should be cut back to boost fall bloom. EarthKindTM roses may be tip-pruned in August. Do not prune climbing roses.

3. Trim salvia back by 1/3 for fall bloom.

4. Pinch off growing tips of lanky annuals to promote side branching. Pinch mum tips a final time in July.

5. Tip-prune fall-blooming plants to keep them more compact.

6. Remove dead branches from shrubs and trees.

7. Prune oaks if absolutely necessary during the summer weather to minimize the risk that the trees will contract oak wilt. Always apply a pruning sealant over the cut surfaces.


1. Harvest the remainder of summer vegetables to make way for fall crops.

2. Harvest and dry herbs.

3. Collect seeds from the garden.


1. Plant fall-blooming bulbs, such as spider lily and crocus.

2. Use heat-tolerant plants in flowerbeds and containers. Anything planted now will require frequent watering for the remainder of the summer.

3. In July, scatter seeds of marigold, zinnia, cosmos and sunflower for fall color. Keep seeds moist.

4. Set out fall vegetables in July and August.

5. Start cool-season flower and vegetable seeds in indoor trays.


1. Fertilize potted plants every 1-2 weeks with a diluted solution of water-soluble fertilizer.

2. Correct iron deficiencies by applying iron or sulfur products to affected plants.

3. Avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers on lawns during hot weather.

4. Look for signs of pests and disease and treat appropriately, using methods that have the least environmental impact.

5. Continue to mulch landscape beds to reduce water evaporation.

6. Inspect sprinkler systems to ensure water reaches all plants.

7. Divide and transplant iris in August or September.

8. Pull weeds before they go to seed.

For answers to your horticulture questions, call the Texas AgriLife Extension, Hood County at 817-579-3280 and speak to a Master Gardener or visit