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July Garden Maintenance Jobs

This is a good month to trim conifer hedges to keep them under control, being careful not to disturb nesting birds. Conifer hedges have received a bad press recently, mainly because of the notorious Leyland cypress. It can grow very tall very quickly and is too vigorous for a small garden; if neglected, it can quickly become a nuisance. As with all conifer hedges it needs trimming at least once a year, preferably twice to keep in check. If you start doing this while hedges are small, long before they reach the height and width you eventually require, you will have built up a good thick layer of leafy growth over the surface of the hedge.

a womain trimming a box hedge with shears


Harvesting continues in the vegetable garden: onions and shallots should be ready this month. Before you do this, bend over the tops to allow for maximum sunlight. After lifting, spread out under cover and dry completely before putting into store.

onions growing in a vegetable patch


Prune wisterias by cutting back the whippy growths made during the summer so they are within five or six buds of the main stem. This encourages the formation of flower buds for next year. The second prune should be done in February.

purple wisteria flowers


Deadheading plants that have finished flowering continues all summer. Deadheading roses encourages the display last longer. Don’t just take off the flower head. If you want to continue the display into autumn, you must prune down to a bud in a leaf axil lower down the stem. This encourages strong new shoots. Prune to an outward-facing leaf to keep the centre of the rose bushes as an open shape (this helps protect from disease.) Don’t deadhead Rosa Rugosa as they produce attractive hips in the autumn which help to feed birds in winter. Roses are greedy plants so after deadheading give them a feed using a fertiliser specific to roses.

rose hips

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