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August To Do List

window screen to shade new plants

Plant: ornamental & wildlife

  • Not a great time to plant. If you must, shade newcomers and water daily if soil is dry.

Plant: food crops

Prune

  • OKAY to prune red oaks and live oaks until February. Spray immediately with clear varnish.
  • No need to apply pruning paint to other trees
  • Dead head flowering plants
  • Late August to early September: lightly prune perennials and roses to encourage fall blooming
  • Cut stalks of plants like coneflower to the rosette

Fertilize

  • Foliar feed flowers and vegetables with liquid seaweed
  • Container annuals
  • Citrus with high nitrogen fertilizer like Citrus-tone. Fertilize every few weeks through growing season.

Insects

  • Watch for aphids and spider mites. It’s easy to spray them off with a hard blast of water. Be sure to get the undersides of the leaves.
  • Aphids and other insects can plague crape myrtles and other trees in summer (“raining trees” are due to the honeydew secretions).  Blast with water hose on regular basis.
  • Aphids and other insects can create sooty mold on plants, a fungus that develops from their secretions (honeydew). Wash off the culprits and the leaves. Remove damaged leaves to the trash (not the compost pile).

Lawn

  • Keep that lawn mower setting on high. Keep the roots cool by leaving the grass long. Don’t remove more than 1/3 of the top at a time. Leave clippings on the lawn to naturally fertilize.
  • It’s very important to keep the grass high in August. If September brings cooler weather and rain, weed seeds will start to germinate.

Prep

  • Start planning the fall garden. Clean up debris in the vegetable garden. Apply compost and mix in organic slow-release granular fertilizer to get ready for fall plantings
  • Explore native wildlflower seeds to plant this fall
  • Think about next spring and the perennializing bulbs to add this fall  

Other tasks

  • Solarize areas where you want to kill grass or weed pests for future planting
  • Collect seeds from summer blooming plants. Clean off the chaff and let dry indoors. Store in jars, envelopes, or paper bags (not plastic) to plant next spring.
  • Deeply water new plants. Even if rain comes, check the soil to 3” deep to make sure their roots have water.  A brief shower doesn’t mean it penetrated to the roots.
  • Keep a garden journal to note bloom times and insect habits.

Tips

  • Prune herbs often to encourage new growth
  • Water fruit and nut trees deeply to avoid fruit drop-off
  • Accept August! Plants are hunkered down, like we are. They’ll perk back up soon.

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