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Top 6 Gardening Must-Do’s for July 2024

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How is it almost JULY already?! We hope you’re having lots of fun this Summer – holidays, BBQs, weekend trips, and garden projects! Here are our top must-do’s to keep your plants healthy and happy this month, including tips for water conservation and speaking to local officials about your water.

1. Speak Up About Your Water

As you may have heard, the City of Corpus Christi anticipates moving to Stage 3 watering restrictions in August unless we get more rain in the watershed. We have asked the Mayor, City Manager, City Council members, and the City Water Department to postpone this decision until after hurricane season at the least. One tropical rain system that moves north and sits over the watershed could fill up Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon to 50% or beyond – this is what’s happened in the past.

We have also asked the City to revise the Drought Contingency Plan to include water from Lake Texana, our 3rd source of water. This water, which we are already paying for, is not included in the calculation which triggers the different stages of watering restrictions.

We have also expressed our concern that the Stage 3 ban on outdoor watering for residential water users is excessive. Since we know that residences account for less than half of city water use, and we know that only some of those users water their landscapes, Stage 3 restrictions on watering plants would impact only a small portion of overall water use.

We encourage you to speak up about your water, too! There are 3 City Council meetings in July: 7/16, 7/23, and 7/30. The meetings are held at City Hall at 1201 Leopard St. at 11:30 a.m. You can sign up to speak at the meeting or submit your comments in writing – here’s how. You can also follow these links to contact City leaders directly:  Mayor, Water Department, City Manager, and City Council.

2. Watering:  Think Depth, Not Frequency

Proper hydration happens when you get water down to the roots of the plant. This means watering deeply, not more frequently. Run irrigation systems or sprinklers every other week before 10am or after 6pm per current city watering rules – if there were no restrictions, we’d recommend once a week, but once every other week will keep lawns, most plants, and trees alive through the summer. The key is long, slow, deep drinks! Encourage those roots to dive deeper for water. Even when we get a summer rain, continue to watch your watering and maintain that depth moisture.

3. Mulch to Keep Cool
Studies show that a good 3″ layer of mulch will keep your plant roots more than 20 degrees cooler in summer! Not only that, a good mulch layer also helps retain moisture AND keeps weeds at bay. Healthy plants, less watering, and fewer weeds – that’s a win/win/win! It’s important to use natural wood or pine straw mulch that breaks down over time. As it breaks down, it adds nutrients and makes your soil more workable.
4. Watch for More Bugs in Summer
This is what a mealybug infestation looks like!

Not all bugs are bad, so it’s important to know your bugs before you spray anything, even organics. A few bugs here and there is most likely not cause for alarm. If you do get an infestation, cut the plant back first, give it some fertilizer, then treat for bugs. By pruning first, you won’t have to treat every leaf on the whole plant. We see plants come back better than ever using this method. If you’re not sure about bugs or pruning, we’re here to help.

5. Train Your Plant Sitter

Be sure to have a trusted plant-sitter come water your plants while you’re away on summer excursions! It’s a good idea to spend a little time showing them how you water. Make them a list, draw them a map, and walk them through it. You know your plants and which ones get tired and thirsty the fastest.

6. Collect Cool New Houseplants

Now’s a great time of year to work on your houseplant jungle. The greenhouse is restocked with all kinds of interesting houseplant choices, including lots of new Bromeliad varieties! Keep in mind that constant A/C indoors will dry out plants. Keep an eye on watering (use a moisture meter) and don’t place houseplants near an A/C vent. You might also try experimenting with a humidifier near your plants to help regulate moisture. 


 


 

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