August Garden Tips
Although beach areas usually experience delightful weather during August most other climatic zones in the San Diego (and Southern California) area are too warm to start major gardening projects this month. It is a good month to sit back and enjoy your garden. You will however have to attend to routine watering, feeding and grooming chores. Watering is especially important during August and there are a few other garden odds and ends to attend to.
Perennials and Annuals:
Take out a few minutes to pick off the old dead flowers on your annuals as well as the spent flowers on perennial plants. A little time spent on grooming the plants will make a big difference in the overall appearance of the garden. By removing the spent flowers the plants will not go into the seed producing stage and should continue to flower longer into the season.
Perennial and biennial plants can be started from seed sown directly into the garden this month or next. Container grown perennials, shrubs and trees can be planted this month.Always take time to properly prepare the soil by mixing generous quantities of quality organic additives with your existing soil.
Spring flowering perennials can be divided and transplanted this month or next. Be sure to do this during the coolest part of the day and water the plants thoroughly after transplanting.
Prune your hybrid roses in late August to promote the most fall blossoms. Remove about a third of the vigorous growth. Any stems that cross each other should be removed as well as those that are in the center of the plant. Weak spindly canes and any damaged by black spot fungus should be removed. Except in colder regions roses should be fertilized through the end of September. Maintain a spraying schedule to control insects and disease.
Since August is usually the hottest month of the year watering is a top priority in lawn care. Water deeply once a week (more often during hotter/drier spells) for an hour at a shot. Raise the cutting height of the mower. Taller grass cools the roots and helps to keep the moisture in the soil longer. Contrary to popular belief a brown lawn isn't necessarily a dead lawn. Grasses go dormant in times of drought but will quickly return to life with the fall rains. If a lush green lawn is important to you (and you don't mind mowing) water it regularly and deeply.
Watering can be the biggest task this month particularity if the weather gets hot. Vegetable gardens, most flowering plants, and the lawn all need about one inch of water every week (NOT every day !!) to keep them green and looking nice. Be sure to water thoroughly and deeply each time you water. Water in the morning or early afternoon (morning preferred) so the soil has a chance to warm up before the cooler evening hours set in. Deep watering will induce the plants roots to grow deeper where they are less likely to dry out as well as the added benefit of anchoring the plant into the ground better. Light surface watering actually wastes water because the water never actually reaches the root zone of the plant and the moisture rapidly evaporates from the top inch of soil. The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a trowel or shovel and dig down a few inches. The soil should be moist at least 3 or 4 inches deep to insure that the water is reaching the root zone of the plants.
Even in mild climates a single heat wave can put the kibosh on your garden if it doesn't receive enough water. Water evaporates quickly on sunny days so water early in the morning to give plants a head start. Make a frequent check of flowers and vegetables for their watering needs. Also - add a light layer of mulch around young plants to help their roots retain water. Be sure to check the hanging baskets and container grown plants every day during hot weather and about every second day on moderate summer days. Don't just check the surface... Push your finger an inch or two into the soil to be sure there is adequate moisture below throughout the root area. Water them thoroughly each time you water but be careful not to over water them
Here are a few tips for extending your growing season - Early in the month plant seeds in the ground for fall and winter vegetables such as spinach, radishes, scallions, carrots, and lettuces. There's still time to transplant greens such as kale and collards, broccoli, cauliflower, and early cabbage. Container plants including perennials, trees, and shrubs can be put in the ground now.
Choose Crape Myrtles:
This is a good time to shop for crape myrtles. Most varieties are into their bloom period and you will be able to select the perfect color for your particular landscaping needs.
Keep up the battle against caterpillars, slugs and aphids. Slugs will tend to be more abundant now due to extra watering; keep an eye on mulched areas (a favorite slug hiding place) and near tender greens. At first notice of aphid's hose-blast them off of leaves or spray them with an insecticidal soap.
Extra watering and hot weather make August a red-letter month for weeds. Expect weeds to germinate and drop their seeds faster; pull them out as soon as they pop up.
Cut back lavender once it has finished flowering.
Pinch back tomato plants for a higher yield.
To avoid giving pests a free lunch pick fruits and vegetables as soon as they're ripe. Garlic and onions can generally be harvested now - pick them when you notice their dry tops beginning to fall over and let them air-dry. Tomatoes and melons should be harvested as soon as they're ripe before pests have a chance to dig in.
Houseplants will need to be watered more often this month especially if they're in a sunny window. Before you head out for your vacation move plants out of direct sunlight - especially those in south-facing windows. Check the undersides of leaves for aphid infestations and spray (we lean toward Neem Oil based ready to use sprays). Flowering houseplants should be pruned after flowers fade; make cuts directly above leaf joints.
Summary Planting Guide:
It is best to wait until late in the month to start winter-spring flowers from seed unless you plant them in pots for later transplanting. You can still plant a few plants of summer flowers this month. These include: Ageratum, Allyssum, Bedding begonia, Cosmos, Dianthus, Dusty miller, Impatiens, Marigold, Portulaca, Vinca rosea
After the middle of the month you can plant seeds for the following vegetables: Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Kale, Lettuce, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, Swiss chard, Turnips.
Anderson's La Costa Nursery is Southern California's Most Unique Nursery. Anderson's La Costa is not your ordinary nursery visit - it is a truly unique garden experience. Browse more than 3000 kinds of plants including annuals, perennials, fruits and vegetables, trees, shrubs, orchids, cactus and succulents, houseplants, and water plants. Anderson's La Costa Nursery is located at: 400 La Costa Ave Encinitas, CA 92024 Tel: (760) 753-3153.You can also see all sorts of Special Offers and Discounts offered here at the Mulch .
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