Summer Maintenance for a Healthy Garden

By William Moss

Garden Clean-Up

  • Cut back foliage of spring bulbs once it begins to yellow.
  • Prune broken, dead, and diseased branches.
  • Deadhead shrubs and perennials to focus plant energy on root growth instead of seed production.
  • Deadhead annuals to promote more flowers.
  • Clean tools after each use.


  • Annuals, vegetables, and container plants need regular applications throughout the summer.


  • Apply mulch to conserve water and reduce weeds.
  • Good options include wood chips, pine needles, straw, cocoa shells, compost.

July Planting for Late Summer and Autumn Bloom

  • Tender perennials: potted begonias, dahlias, canna lilies
  • Hardy perennials: mums, Japanese anemones, asters

Caring for Lawns

  • Raise lawnmower blade to a height of 3 inches because longer grass is healthier and shades weeds.
  • Don't fertilize turf in the heat of summer unless it's routinely watered.

Visiting Public Gardens

  • Visit gardens, parks, and forest preserves to view summer displays and get ideas.
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