August Garden Tips

Aug 4, 2023

Water thoroughly and deeply. When the weather is hot, transpiration can occur. Plants may wilt even though the ground is moist. This happens when leaves are losing moisture faster than the roots can take it in. If this is the case, plants should recover in the evening. 

Continue to feed annuals in hanging baskets and containers. If any look scraggly, give them a shearing to encourage more growth.

Prepare soil for planting fall bulbs (spring flowering). Find out more here. 

Spread compost on garden beds now as this will help a plant’s ability to store energy for the fall and winter. Make sure to keep the compost pile moist for continued decomposition. 

Continue to weed the garden! Even though weeds have slowed down a bit, every one that flowers and goes to seed means hundreds more next spring!

Divide daylilies and iris. This month is the perfect time to expand your garden by dividing and moving plants that are done blooming. Different daylilies bloom at different times during the late summer and into fall. You can continue to divide and move them as they finish flowering. Find out more about dividing.

Stop fertilizing trees, shrubs, and roses. This isn’t a good time to encourage new growth that will fall victim to frosts in the fall. In November, when threat of putting out new growth is past, trees and shrubs will appreciate being fed so they can store energy for the winter.

Prune uneven hedges and deciduous shrubs very lightly at this time. Trees and evergreens won’t benefit from pruning for the same reason you don’t want to feed them. They’ll be tempted to push out new growth that won’t be hardened off before hard frosts come. If you haven’t pruned spring-flowering shrubs, don’t do so now as you’ll likely take off most flower buds that are set for next year. Summer flowering shrubs can be pruned now as you see blooms fading.

Cut back spring and early summer blooming perennials that have dead stalks. Also, shear those with tired or sparse foliage. As various varieties of hosta finish blooming during this month, cut stems a few inches from the base of the plant.

Document your garden. This is a great time to take pictures and make notes. You’ll be surprised at how much this will help you next spring and summer. 

Pests & Diseases Continue to check for spider mites and aphids. If found, a strong spray of water with the hose should be sufficient to remove them from the plant. You may need to do this several times to get them all. Insecticidal soap could also be used. 

Caterpillar tents can be seen in some trees at this time of year. They are mostly harmless, especially for mature trees. If you have a particular ornamental you’re concerned about, you can use Tanglefoot. Tanglefoot is a sticky natural substance that goes around the trunk of the tree and prevents crawling insects from passing through it. Japanese Beetles should be picked off by hand and destroyed. 

Continue to watch for powdery mildew and thin plants out where you see it. Identify powdery mildew

Edibles Cool weather vegetables can be planted out now in the middle of the month. These include beans, broccoli, carrots, kale, lettuce, spinach, and peas.

Watch for Blossom End Rot on your cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons. Identify Blossom End Rot. 

Don’t let up on harvesting vegetables. Dead vines, leaves, and fruits will invite pests and disease. 

The older canes on blackberry and raspberry plants can be pruned out after they have finished fruiting. 

Attend to potatoes, making sure they are hilled up so no sunlight is hitting them. When the vines have died it’s time to harvest them. 

Tomatoes should ripen on the vine, not in the house. This gives them the best flavor. Cherry tomatoes can be harvested before ripening. Peppers build intensity of flavor the longer they are left on the plant but can be picked at any point in growing. Pick herbs before flowering for best taste. This will also keep them growing longer. 

Sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch! 

Lawncare Continue to keep your mowing height at 2.5 or 3 inches. No need to fertilize the lawn now. Fertilization should be done in the fall to help grass plants store energy for the winter. This is a great time to reduce lawn weeds.