When feeding on crape myrtles and other plants, aphids secrete honeydew, a sweet sticky substance that falls on lower leaves. It quickly gets covered with a sooty, black mold. Insecticidal soap and summer oils are among the many products available for aphid control. On small crape myrtles a strong blast of spray from a hose nozzle directed upward from beneath the foliage will dislodge many of these pests.
Water Container Plants Often
Container plants need plenty of water in this summer heat. When water is limited flowering will be reduced significantly. Containers in full sun may need water 1 to 2 times a day depending on container and plant size. Here in the hot south it pays to plant in slightly larger pots to provide more soil volume to hold moisture during our demanding summer season.
Control Fire Ants
Fire ants can infest compost piles, turf grass, and even our beloved okra pods. Low toxicity synthetic and organic products are available from local garden centers for controlling these pests. Apply baits late in the day when the ants are out foraging. A good way to tell if they are active is to toss a paper chip or tuna can lid on the ground and check back in 15 minutes. If they are feeding on it, go ahead and broadcast the baits.
Protect Fruit Trees
Fruit trees are setting next year's fruit buds now. Make sure the trees are healthy and have plenty of water to keep them from being stressed. Leaf diseases, insect damage, drought, excessive shading from suckers and watersprouts, and other stresses will reduce next year's fruit crop if not addressed now.
Ready Gardens for Fall
Areas of the garden that have declined can be readied now for fall planting. Rototill a few inches of compost or composted manure into the garden to be prepared for planting cool season veggies or flowers in September, October, and November.