AUGUST GARDENING THOUGHTS!
August is the time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor - fresh tomatoes and basil, perhaps, or a
beautiful bouquet of flowers, or a lovely shady place to read a good book. If you feel the urge to garden, try to
do most of your gardening in the cooler hours of the morning or early evening - it's better for you and your plants.
Mid-August starts the fall grass reseeding season. August 15 to September 15 is the best time to seed lawns so take a
look at your lawn now and plan ahead.
If your lawn is weedy and you plan to reseed, apply broadleaf weed killers now. . If your lawn is more than 60% weeds, it's easier to kill the entire area with a non- selective weedkiller. You can then seed about a week later.
If your lawn is infected with Poa annua (Annual Blue grass)it is extremely difficult to get rid of. It is on the increase and can be seen in many lawns. I use a product called "Dimension" by Dow Chemical and used in early Fal September and April it will kill the seeds. It should be applied around September 15th and then again two weeks later. Do the same around April 15th and two weeks later. It is a preemergent so, if you use this product you will not be able to do any seeding that year. It is no guarantee, but it seems to be working for me.
I try to water and keep the lawn healthy with proper applications during the year. This thickens up the lawn and helps keep it in good shape. Water about 1" per week.
AROUND THE GARDNE
Pay attention to watering! Watering in August is critical for three reasons: First, the summer heat dries the soil out quickly--a 90 degree summer day can bake about two inches of moisture from the soil surface. Second, August is the time when woody plants that bloom in the spring (azaleas, rhododendrons, dogwoods, lilacs, pieris and others) set their buds for next spring's blooms. If they don't get the moisture they need in August, they may look OK now, but not bloom very well next spring. Third, the latter part of August is when most plants begin storing water for winter, so watering now once a week is very important. And don't forget perennials that you planted this year either. They're still establishing their root systems and need a little extra TLC.
Slow, deep watering is better than frequent shallow watering because it encourages a deep root system to develop. That root system will help protect it from future droughts and winter damage. Early morning is the best time to water. It helps plants to store water for the day's heat. Morning watering also helps prevent fungal problems from developing. Of course, if you come home form work to find plants wilted, it's better to water them than to have them continue to be stressed by lack of water. But in such cases, water at the base of the plant as much as possible, keeping water off the leaves.
Going on vacation? Move your potted plants out of direct sunlight so they won't need to be watered so often. Ask a neighbor to check on them and to do some watering if necessary.
If you need to apply insecticides, fungicides or fertilizers, resist the urge to apply them when the temperature is above 80 degrees - you may do more harm than good. Spray only in the early morning or evening, when the temperature is below 80 degrees and plants will have a chance to dry before the temperature reaches 80 degrees. Also, make sure plants are well watered first - don't apply fertilizers or pesticides to plants that are already stressed by lack of water.
There are several reasons to plant this month: summer blooming shrubs and perennials are more widely available when they're in bloom, spring blooming plants may be on sale because they're out of bloom, or you may have spots where you want to replace annuals that died or aren't looking great. Newly planted shrubs and flowers need a little extra help when planted in the dog days of summer. If we're having a particularly hot spell, wait til it passes. Plant in the evening or on a cloudy day when temperatures are cooler - you and the plant will both be happier. Be sure to keep newly planted shrubs and flowers watered well. Even drought tolerant plants need some help until they get established.
Continue to deadhead annuals and perennials (cutting or pinching off dead flowers) for a longer bloom.
Are your irises and daylilies getting too crowded? Late August is an ideal time to dig up and divide both plants. Dig up daylilies with a spading fork, wash excess dirt off the roots with a strong stream of water, and pull the roots apart. Replant as soon as possible. Dig up bearded irises the same way, but cut apart the individual rhizomes (fleshy roots) with a sharp knife. (Make sure there's at least one growth spot on each rhizome). Discard any parts that are soft or show signs of iris borer. Plant iris high - the top edges of the rhizomes should be at or slightly above the surface of the ground. Mulch daylilies, but not irises.
Now's a good time to take stock of your summer perennial garden. Note any plants that don't quite work where they are because they are taller, shorter, bushier or a different color than you thought they'd be. As a general rule, move spring bloomers in the fall and fall bloomers when they come up in the spring. Even if you're not ready to move them now, make notes while their appearance is fresh in your mind. Also note any of those floppy plants you wish you'd put plant supports around when you still could. The best time to install plant supports is when plants are small enough that you don't think they're going to need support.
THE EDIBLE GARDEN
Late August is a great time to plant vegetables that like cool weather, like peas, lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and oriental greens.
Plant some fresh basil plants to take you through the fall, especially if yours are beginning to get woody or have flowered. If your basil is just starting to flower, keep pinching off the flowers. Once herbs flower, the flavor of their leaves tends to change, becoming bitter or tasteless.
For more tips and information go to the Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter at:
Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter