July is our hottest month of the year. The average temperature on the Westside of the Central Valley  is 98 degrees. 

We gardeners need to pay special attention and walk our gardens for 10 minutes every morning. This will allow us to troubleshoot problems, check for weeds, and look for annuals and perennials that need dead heading. It also gives us time to check for plants and trees in distress due to the need of deep watering or insects and/or fungus. 

Don’t forget, however, to admire the results of all your hard work.

July also means enjoying the first tomatoes and other tasty summer vegetables and fruits from your edible garden. 

Here is a nine-step plan of action for your garden during July:

1. Most important, continue deep watering for your ornamental and edible garden. 

2. Begin shaping stone-fruit trees; this allows for easier harvesting and allows air circulation and light. 

3. Prune blackberry and other berry canes. Add organic fertilizer and compost. 

4. Check for ants on your fruit tree trunks and add tanglefoot. 

5. Continue to deadhead annuals and perennials. Collect seeds from annuals and pull the plants if spent. 

6. Start thinking about planting new annuals for fall colors. 

7. Don’t forget to give organic fertilizer and compost to all plants and trees. 

8. For insect infestation use safer soap with neem oil. 

9. When watering lawns, water deep.  Apply monthly fertilizing and watch for sod webworm damage. 

If you have a question for the Garden Guru, Mark Koehler, email it to mark_koehler@yahoo.com. He might answer it in a future column.