August Gardening Tips
The extreme heat of August can stress plants and people. A cool tip to help our green friends make it through until fall is mulching around the roots. Mulch keeps the root zone cooler, conserves moisture and keeps weeds down. Cedar mulch is the best to use around trees and shrubs; because of its fibrous nature it stays in place well.
The soil may be mulched and moist but plants can still tip burn and wilt. Heat and wind can take moisture out of the leaves faster than roots can return it. This is especially true of new plantings. The spring and early summer heavy rains created an issue with too much water, but now plants accustomed to all that moisture need consistent watering even more. Another common issue can be assuming a lawn sprinkler system is giving shrubs and trees enough water. So it is always best to check soil moisture around plants before watering.
Extend the vegetable growing season by keeping existing plants healthy. Fertilize with a light organic fertilizer like Nature’s Source. Continue spraying for diseases and insects if you’ve had problems. Many vegetables will produce into the fall months if properly fertilized and sprayed.
Another way to lengthen the season is by planting a fall garden. Vegetables which can be planted now for fall harvest include: beans, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, carrots, kale, potatoes, lettuce, mustard, radishes, spinach and turnips. Use granular ferti•lome Gardener’s Special lightly when planting. Plant seeds a little deeper to keep them from drying out or start them in containers in a cooler spot.
Cool-season grasses are also struggling now. Watch for dry areas and adjust sprinklers to insure good coverage. Another solution is to apply Hydretain to your lawn. Hydretain is a root zone moisture manager that is effective in reducing water use and combating drought stress for up to 3 months.
If your lawn is getting enough water, but is still turning brown, grubs may be at work. Dig under the green grass next to the brown areas and you’ll find these ‘C’ shaped beetle larva. They are small and easy to control now. Apply an insecticide like Dylox, contained in Bayer Advanced 24 Hour Grub Killer Plus, and water in well.
August is the time to start fall lawn renovation if you need to get rid of bermudagrass. Water and even fertilize the grass to make it healthy so it will absorb the herbicide better. Spray Hi-Yield Super Concentrate KILLZALL on the bermudagrass. KILLZALL is non-selective so it will eradicate all the grass in the targeted area. After 1 week, mow down short and water to green up anything left alive, then 10 days to 2 weeks later spray again. You may need to repeat the process and spray a third time. Once the bermudagrass is dead you’ll be ready to seed fescue in September. Ideal preparation would be to aerate and apply Natural Guard Top Dressing, followed by several deep waterings.
Euonymus Scale — this insect was especially bad in spring; it looks like small white flecks all over the stems and twigs of euonymus. The second generation hatches in late August so be prepared to spray then and two weeks later with Natural Guard Horticultural Oil, Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Spray or ferti•lome Broad Spectrum Insecticide.
Webworms — these insects form unsightly webs around the ends of branches and feed on the leaves inside. Isolated webs can be pruned off. To spray, first rip open the web then use Natural Guard Spinosad or Hi-Yield Indoor/Outdoor Broad Use Insecticide.
Rabbits / Squirrels — if entire plants are dug up or branches are disappearing, you could have a larger pest problem. One single repellent doesn’t seem to work for everyone, but the newer the product the better because the animals are unfamiliar with it. Bonide Repels-All is both a scent and taste repellent that, once dry, won’t wash off; although you will have to re-spray new foliage.
Printable Tip Sheets