August Garden Tips
If we experience dry weather, water thoroughly and deeply. So far, we’ve had a real mix of weather with quite a bit of rain but things can change rapidly!
If the weather becomes hot, transpiration can occur. Plants may wilt even though the ground is moist. This happens when leaves are losing moisture faster than the roots can take it in. If this is the case, plants should recover in the evening.
Continue to feed annuals in hanging baskets and containers. If any look scraggly, give them a shearing to encourage more growth.
Get soil prepared for planting fall bulbs (spring flowering). Find out more here.
Spreading compost on garden beds now will help plant’s ability to store energy for the fall and winter.
Make sure to keep the compost pile moist for continued decomposition.
Continue to weed the garden! Even though weeds have slowed down a bit, every one that flowers and goes to seed means hundreds more next spring!
This month is the perfect time to expand your garden by dividing and moving iris and daylilies that are done blooming. Different daylilies bloom at different times during the late summer and into fall. You can continue to divide and move them as they finish flowering. Find out more about dividing.
It’s time to stop fertilizing trees, shrubs and roses. This isn’t a good time to encourage new growth that will fall victim to frosts in the fall. In November, when threat of putting out new growth is past, trees and shrubs will appreciate being fed so they can store energy for the winter.
Uneven hedges and deciduous shrubs can be pruned lightly now.
Trees and evergreens won’t benefit from pruning for the same reason you don’t want to feed them. They’ll be tempted to push out new growth that won’t be hardened off before hard frosts come.
If you haven’t pruned spring flowering shrubs, don’t do so now as you’ll likely take off most flower buds that are set for next year.
Summer flowering shrubs can be pruned now as you see blooms fading.
Spring and early summer blooming perennials will have dead stalks that can be cut back now. Also shear those with tired or sparse foliage.
As various varieties of hosta finish blooming during this month, cut stems a few inches from the base of the plant.
This is a great time to take pictures and make notes on your garden. You’ll be surprised at how much this will help you next spring and summer.
Pests & Diseases
Continue to check for spider mites and aphids. If found, a strong spray of water with the hose should be sufficient to remove them from the plant. You may need to do this several times to get them all. Insecticidal soap could also be used.
Caterpillar tents can be seen in some trees at this time of year. They are mostly harmless, especially for mature trees. If you have a particular ornamental you’re concerned about, you can use Tanglefoot. Tanglefoot is a sticky natural substance that goes around the trunk of the tree and prevents crawling insects from passing through it.
Japanese Beetles should be picked off by hand and destroyed.
Continue to watch for powdery mildew and thin plants out where you see it. Identify powdery mildew
Cool weather vegetables can be planted out now in the middle of the month. These include beans, broccoli, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach and peas.
Watch for Blossom End Rot on your cucumbers, tomatoes and melons. Identify Blossom End Rot.
Don’t let up on harvesting vegetables. Dead vines, leaves and fruits will invite pests and disease.
The older canes on blackberry and raspberry plants can be pruned out after they have finished fruiting.
Attend to potatoes, making sure they are hilled up so no sunlight is hitting them. When the vines have died it’s time to harvest them.
Tomatoes should ripen on the vine, not in the house. This gives them the best flavor. Cherry tomatoes can be harvesting before ripening.
Peppers build intensity of flavor the longer they are left on the plant, but can be picked at any point in growing.
Pick herbs before flowering for best taste. This will also keep them growing longer.
Sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch!
Continue to keep your mowing height at 2.5 or 3 inches.
No need to fertilize the lawn now. Fertilization should be done in the fall to help grass plants store energy for the winter.
This is a great time to reduce lawn weeds.