Sweet corn has never been sweeter, watermelon never as refreshing as those eaten in August. This is the month to sit back and enjoy the bounty of your garden. Being the beginning of the harvest season, it’s a time to "put things up" for the coming cold months. Don’t forget to harvest cut-flowers and herbs as well. However, it’s a hot month too and you will most likely have to work at keeping things watered. Following are some tips for your August gardening calendar:
- Perennials, Annuals, & Bulbs
- Keep after the crabgrass and other weeds that want to invade your lawn and garden. Avoid letting weeds go to seed letting them be an even bigger problem next year. If you want to use chemical control, be sure to select the appropriate herbicide for the location of your weeds and always follow label directions.
- Purchase fall blooming perennials for this year's garden such as anemone, sunflowers
- (Helianthus spp.), goldenrod (Solidago), sedums and toad lily (Tricyrtis). There are some fantastic sales on unsold perennials in August which can beautify your garden this year and next. Take advantage of price cuts and shop early for the best selection.
- If you have the space, sweet autumn clematis will brighten up any landscape from mid-August to frost. The perennial vine grows on a trellis or covers a large ground area in full sun.
- Plant some fall blooming crocus bulbs and if you haven’t already, order your spring flowering bulbs now to be planted this October-November.
- If using liquid fertilizer, continue to fertilize annuals and container plants.
- Be sure to keep garden mums well fertilized until buds show color.
- Sow Wildflower seeds.
- Shrubs & Trees
- Avoid pruning trees and shrubs, particularly hedging plants such as boxwood,
- hemlock and hollies since doing so this late in the season can stimulate new growth that will not harden off in time for the cold winter weather ahead. Delay pruning until the end of the dormant season early next spring.
- Azaleas, pieris, mountain laurel and other ericaceous (acid_loving) species need to be
- fertilized one more time before the end of August using an acid based soluble fertilizer containing iron.
- Spray against sap feeding lacebugs. Spray the underside of leaves with an appropriate insecticide, insecticidal soap or a summer oil.
- Fertilize roses to encourage last new growth and hardening off before frost.
- Fruits & Veggies
- Dig potatoes after the tops have died down.
- For late crops of beets, bush beans, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, peas, spinach, turnips, kohlrabi, and onion, continue sowing seeds until August 15th. Transplants can still be planted of broccoli, early cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale and onions as well.
- Make the second application of fertilizer on new plantings of June bearing strawberries. Apply 3 lbs. of 10-10-10 per 100 feet of row.
- After the last raspberry harvest for the year, prepare for next year while also avoiding diseases by pruning out old flowering canes leaving only 3-4 young canes per foot of row. Wait until spring to prune back shoot tips.
- Lawn Care
- Fertilize your tall fescue and bermuda lawns in late August using a high nitrogen fertilizer of a 5:1:1 ratio. If the lawn is needing extensive renovation and aeration, wait until early September when the “springtime of lawn care” has arrived.
- As Japanese beetles return to the soil late in the month, treat again for grubs with milky
- spore disease or beneficial nematodes. This will reduce winter mole destruction on your
- During dry spells, continue to mow high.
- Hummingbirds migrate in August so keep feeders full.
- Photograph your garden to help yourself remember what you did and did not like
- this year. See what works, what doesn't, and when the time comes to add or remove plants, you will be able to see what needs to be done when you analyze the photos this Winter. You will know what plants you need to mover, remove, or add.
- Change the water in your bird bath regularly, and keep it filled. Standing water is less healthy for the birds, and may become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.
- Continue to aerate and moisten compost pile to speed decomposition.