August is a wonderful month for
gardening--and if you do the following, your yard will stay colorful
and productive. Don't let the hot sunny day drive you into the house
to sit in the air-conditioning--get out into the yard early in the
morning and then enjoy time at the beach, by the pool or even at the
golf course. These twelve easy chores will keep your neighbors
wondering where you got all your gardening skills this summer...and
they may even ask you for advice.
#1 If you have any of the
summer-flowering Spiraea like 'Anthony Waterer' with pink flowers,
'Gold Flame' with golden foliage and pink flowers or even 'Little
Princess' with its wonderful mound of small pink flowers--and they
have finished flowering for you, it's time to wake them up for a
second flowering period. The summer-flowering Spiraea for most of you
has finished flowering by late July, but if you take your hedge
shears and cut them back by about 3 inches, remove all the faded
flowers from the plant and feed them with Dr. Earth Shrub Fertilizer
with Pro Biotic or Plant Tone, they will come back into bloom in
about 3 weeks and have as much as 75% of the flowers they had during
the early summer. Prune them now for great late summer color.
#2 Butterfly bush is another plant
that will bloom all summer and right up to frost if you keep removing
the faded flowers from the plant. The first flowers made will grow up
to 10 inches long before they fade, but if you remove them, the plant
will make two new flowers to replace the one. Within a couple of
weeks a flower bud will form on each side of the bud you removed and
they will grow to 6 to 8 inches long. When they fade, remove those
two faded flowers and 4 new flower buds will form in their place.
They will be smaller 4 to 6 inches but there will be 4 of them to
keep your plant colorful and attracting butterflies to your garden.
Just keep removing the faded flowers and the plant will keep
#3 Do you have blue hydrangeas that
are getting too tall for the garden? Well, now is the time to
cut back any of the non-flowering branches to a height you would
prefer. If you cut back the plant now--even by as much as 1/3--it
will help to control the height of the plant and encourage additional
new growth for next year's flowers. The newer varieties like 'Endless
Summer' will also make additional flowers for early fall for you on
the new growth they will be making. So get out the hand pruners and
reshape your plants--one branch at a time.
#4 Rose of Sharon is one of the best
summer-flowering plants we have but if the summer gets hot and humid,
it is possible your plants could develop a problem with "spider
mites," insects that will prevent some of the flower buds from
opening. Early in the morning before it gets too hot out, spray your
plant with Bonide All season Oil or Mite-X spray or Fertilome Triple
Action Plus or Spider Mite spray. Do it now and your summer will stay
colorful and problem free!
#5 If you're noticing a lot of
Japanese beetles flying around your garden and your lawn is in full
sun this is the time to think about applying Grub-X down to prevent
possible grub problems this fall. Japanese beetles will lay 50 to 100
eggs each in a nice sunny lawn and these grubs will eat only the
grass roots, not the weeds like crabgrass, clover, dandelions--just
the good grass you have worked so hard to grow and keep green all
year. Get it down now, and water it in to activate the product so it
will kill the grubs.
#6 August is the month to start
planting your fall vegetables like peas, beans, lettuce, spinach,
broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. As soon as you pull out your spent
vegetables replant for a wonderful fall crop that will last into
October. Keep fertilizing your peppers, tomatoes, squash and root
crops as August heat will help produce wonderful produce and help the
crop ripen more quickly.
#7 By mid-August, pinch back every
tip of your tomatoes to stop them from growing and encourage the
plant to ripen what it has growing on the plant at that time. Any new
fruit that forms on the plant after mid-August will not have time to
grow and mature in time to ripen (if you really like green tomatoes,
you can wait a bit longer). Keep the water on the plants to prevent
the tops of your tomatoes from cracking from the hot and dry weather.
Also be on the lookout for tomato hornworms, as they are due any day
now. Treat plants with the new organic and natural Spinosad
insecticide, it works like a charm, and it will keep your plant from
being eaten by these big green worms that will grow to 4 inches long
in just a few days.
#8 Now is the time to cut down all
your Japanese bamboo to the ground along with its energy source, the
foliage. The plant will now develop all new foliage and make small
clusters of white flowers to signal that all the reserve energy is
now being used to replace the foliage and begin the flowering cycle.
When you apply a product like Kleen-up, Kills-All or Round up to the
foliage and flowers at the end of the month the plant will not be
able to block the chemical from getting down to the roots and you
should expect to kill as much as 75% of the plant this year. Next
year repeat the process and you should be able to destroy it
permanently. Two applications a week apart should do the trick.
#8 August is also the best time of
the year to spray your Canadian hemlock to protect them against the
"woolly adelgid," a small insect found under the new growth
of the plant near its tips. This white cottony-looking pest is laying
eggs now for next year and the fall applications of Tree and Shrub or
Bug be-Gone will keep your trees safe for the next year. These
pesticides are systemic and are mixed in a watering can and applied
to the base of the plant. Use one ounce of product per inch of
circumference of the tree at chest high and this pest will die out.
#9 This is also the "best"
month to kill poison ivy and poison oak growing on your property. Use
those nice sunny days of august, when there's no rain in the
forecast, to apply Kills All, Kleen-up, or Roundup to wipe out this
toxic weed in just a few days. In large established areas, check back
in a week or so and add a second application to plants not killed by
the first application. Bittersweet is another vine that can take over
quickly but the same application will destroy this plant before it
climbs to the top of your trees and kills them.
#10 Roses need to be fertilized and
treated for insects for the last time this month. Roses should never
be fertilized after August. This will help the plant prepare for the
arrival of fall weather in September. No food in September will
toughen up the plant for the winter ahead of us and keep the plant
strong. Use Bayer All-In-One Rose and Flower care products early in
#11 This is also time to apply step
3 of your fertilizer program to help keep the grass strong during the
heat of summer. Water it in well to activate the product and raise
the height of your lawnmower blade to help relieve stress on the
grass and help keep it green. Keep the lawn mower blade sharp so the
cut grass has a nice clean and sharp edge to it to prevent lawn
#12 August is also the best time to
fertilize your fruit trees, and other flowering trees as they are now
making flower buds for next year color and fruit. Rhododendrons,
azaleas, mountain laurel, along with forsythia, lilac and bridal
wreath are also making flower buds, so feed them now and do not prune
them, as the flower buds are made on the new growth made this
year--do your pruning when the flowers begin to fall from the plant
in the spring.
#13 Sit back
in your favorite yard chair with a cold drink and enjoy your yard,
it's August and the summer is getting short now. Get out and enjoy
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