August is here, and gardening is probably not at the top of your to do list. However, fall is right around the corner so here are a few tips to get you through the scorching heat of August.
Water, Water, Water…August is one of the driest months of the year. Lawns and shrubs need about 1” of water per week in the summertime. You can use a rain gauge to measure the amount of rain you are actually receiving. It’s best to water early in the morning.
Mulch…This is a great way to reduce the soil temperature, and conserve water by preventing excess evaporation. Unmulched soils can reach 100 degrees. This is hot enough to kill the root. Shredded bark, wood chips, lawn clippings and decomposed compost are ideal for mulching.
Lawn Care…Use a broadcast spreader to fertilize your lawn with a slow-release 15-5-10 fertilizer. A regularly fertilized lawn will maintain its rich, green appearance through December. Healthy grass will be more resistant to insects, disease and weed infestation. Keep an eye out for pests to spot problems early, and treat accordingly. Insects such as chinch bugs and sod webworms tend to be a problem this time of year. Three commons signs to watch for are (1) birds are flocking to your lawn (2) patches of discolora- tion in the grass (3) inspection of the discolored areas may show chewed-up leaves. You can treat issues such as these with products like Diatomaceous Earth and Bayer Complete.
Vegetables for fall…In mid August plant things like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauli- flower, collards, and summer squash. Peppers and tomatoes planted earlier this year will not likely set fruit during the summer heat. If the plants remain healthy, they will produce fruit once the temperatures begin to drop below 90 degrees. Remove old plants that have stopped producing to eliminate shelters for in- sects and disease organisms.
Other odds and ends…
Humming birds are here. Keep feeders clean and filled to encourage visitors. You can make your own nectar by mixing 4 cups of boiling water with 1 cup of granulated sugar, stir until dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool before filling your feeders.
Potted outdoor plants may need to be watered daily to prevent wilting. Frequent watering will leach out nutrients, so be sure to fertilize regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer.
A later-summer pruning of rosebushes can be beneficial. Prune out dead canes and any weak, brushy growth. Cut back tall, vigorous bushes to about 30”. After pruning apply fertilizer and water thoroughly.