July Gardening Checklist For Austin and Central Texas

July Gardening To-Dos

Spider Mite Infestation - July Gardening To-Dos

Spider Mite Infestation

July is a daily reminder that you live in Central Texas and not Vermont. Newcomers start to wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into and veteran residents launch their summer heat escape plans. Believe it or not, fall garden planning starts this month and intrepid vegetable gardeners will be setting up shade cloths to protect tender new transplants of tomatoes and peppers. See below for other things that should be on your July gardening to-dos.

Things to Do in the Garden for July


Cease fertilizing perennials since most are in their summer dormancy. Add fertilizer to annuals if needed, but be sure to water deeply. Over-fertilizing in summer is a common plant killer. Excess fertilizer (especially nitrogen) can burn plants in dry weather. This happens because the salts in fertilizer draw moisture out of plants that they are not able to replenish from soil moisture or retain due to evaporation on hot days. Lack of moisture results in scorched leaves resembling fire damage, or “burn”.


Irrigate deeply and as infrequently as possible to encourage deep root growth.


Mulch all bare soil. Clean up spring planting beds and add a layer of compost, then mulch.


Mow only enough to remove one-third of the leaf blade each time you mow and follow recommended mowing heights. Leave the clippings on the lawn to replenish organic matter. Monitor for take-all patch. Maintain cycle-and-soak irrigation practices as infrequently as possible.


Spider mites thrive in dry, hot conditions and the warmer days will make aphids prevalent on stressed plants. Remove both with blasts of water to the underside of leaves.


Flowering plants will bloom less starting this month due to the heat, do not apply fertilizer as it won’t help. Some plants, including tomatoes, will stop producing fruit or flowers when the nighttime temperatures are consistently above 76°F. Prune vigorous shoots from fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Safely remove shoots from live oaks, but be sure to paint the wound. Prune back new blackberry canes to encourage side shoots. Pinch back by one-third fall blooming asters to promote branching and more blooms in the fall. Stop pruning woody, spring-flowering vines like Carolina jessamine so that they have plenty of time to set blooms over the summer. Watch container plants for wilting – it may be a sign that you are over-watering. Check soil moisture before the next scheduled irrigation. Browning foliage anywhere in the garden may indicate lack of water.


Pumpkin seeds should be planted this month if you want to grow your own jack-o-lanterns, just be sure to keep the seedlings moist. You can still plant southern peas, okra, and sweet corn this month if you keep the soil moist while they are establishing deep roots. Travis County Master Gardener Patty Leander recommends early or fast-maturing varieties of sweet corn such as ‘Ambrosia’ or ‘Sugar Buns.’ Providing shade cloth also helps protect tender plants from afternoon sun. Fashion a temporary covering using shade cloth, old screens, umbrellas, etc. It’s even a good idea to shade the soil for a couple of weeks in anticipation of planting. While most lettuce, chard, and kale greens have turned bitter, tasty summer greens like Malabar spinach, sweet potato leaves and amaranth will still produce in the heat. Prepare for tomato, pepper and eggplant late July or early August transplants by watering and mulching designated planting areas. See the full Vegetable Garden Planting Guide (Español, 繁体中文) and Vegetable Varieties for Central Texas.


Daphne on CTG - July gardening to-dosAs a contributor to Central Texas Gardener (CTG), Daphne Richards, County Extension Agent-Horticulture, answers questions and shares knowledge on new and tried & true plants for Central Texas.  Check out some of our favorites for July!

CTGHardscape around trees|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener
CTGCan plants sunburn|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener
CTGMoldy mulch | Daphne Richards |Central Texas Gardener
CTGShading plants |Daphne Richards |Central Texas Gardener


Get Growing!

Aristotle, 384-322 BC, Greek philosopher and scientist, wrote, “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” This handy reference will help you make your own garden marvelous and serve as a guide for what things to do in the garden each month: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

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