Whether you leave town in August or have a stay-cation planned at home, there is still a lot of Summer left to enjoy! Add fresh color to give early-season containers a new lease on life! Give some extra love to vegetable beds by taking care of peak season plants or replanting blank areas with Fall veggie starts or seeds. And don’t forget to provide large trees and spring-flowering shrubs with a nice, long drink of water.
August To Do List in the Garden
Months of watering, sun, and heat might mean that annuals planted earlier on are now spent.
- Replace tired components of container plantings with colorful Zinnias, Dahlias, and Coleus.
- Grab some blooming annuals like Marigolds, Zinnias, Vinca, and Million Bells to help liven up pots or landscape plantings for the next dinner party or pool day.
PLANTING & MAINTENANCE
For new plantings, pay attention to watering and prevent stress from hot weather:
- Mulch beds with G&B Soil Building Conditioner.
- Provide temporary shade for new and vulnerable plantings when prolonged high temperatures are expected.
- Water with diluted liquid fertilizer like Alaska Fish Emulsion.
Deep water Spring-blooming and established landscape plants for bigger blooms next season:
- Camellias need deep watering this month to develop flower buds for next spring, especially those that bloom in Fall/Winter like ‘Yuletide’.
- Rhododendrons and Azaleas set their spring blooms in the late Summer the previous year, so give them extra water in August.
- Mature landscape trees and shrubs benefit from monthly deep watering during hot, dry weather.
Make watering easy while you’re away and leave clear instructions for any friends or neighbors that are checking on your plants while you’re out of town.
- Move pots and hanging baskets out of the sun and into shady locations where they will need water less frequently.
- Add stakes or flags next to new plantings so that your house-sitter knows what to water.
- Trade out your old hose for a tangle-free Garden Hose Coil to reduce the hassle of rewinding.
Prune trees and shrubs to improve shape:
- It’s a good time to shear and shape broad-leafed shrubs and hedges such as Boxwood, Privet, and Laurel. Be careful of sunburn during extreme heat; protect with shade cloth.
- Lightly tip prune to shape deciduous trees, Japanese maples, and summer-flowering shrubs after they have bloomed.
Check for pests:
- Root weevils in ornamental shrubs and flowers such as Rhododendrons and Hollyhocks—treat with beneficial nematodes.
- Scale insects in Camellias, Holly, and Maples; treat as necessary with beneficial nematodes and/or neem oil
- Caterpillars on vegetables, Geraniums, and Petunias; control with Bonide Captain Jack’s Deadbug or remove by hand.
- Yellow jackets and wasps—control with lures or traps if present near seating areas, but remember that they are beneficial to gardens by preying on caterpillars and other pests.
Bring in leaf or bug samples and photos to the garden center of plants that are not doing well; gardeners on staff can diagnose and offer treatments for most problems.
- Fertilize summer crops such as Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Beans, and Squash for continued harvests with G&B Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer, which is organic and contains microbes for probiotic action.
- Clean up and fertilize your Strawberry bed; add a few new plants to areas where growth is thin.
- Check apple maggot traps and spray apple trees if needed. Also, keep an eye out for codling moths and spider mites—remove by hand or spray with Bonide Captain Jack’s Deadbug.
- Plant a new crop of fall vegetables such as Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Winter Kale, Spinach, Turnips, and Parsnips in beds where early summer greens or Zucchini have faded.
- Add a mid-summer planting of Peas for fall harvest.
- Monitor Potatoes and Tomatoes for early and late blight; remove affected foliage or fruits, and sterilize pruning shears after cutting blighted plants.
- Prune Raspberries and other Cane Berries after harvest; remove the oldest canes entirely.
Lawn Care in August
The optimal time for establishing a new lawn is August through mid-October in the Pacific Northwest. While it’s probably still too hot to start a new lawn from seed, you can begin soil preparation now:
- Test soil pH and add lime, if necessary
- Kill existing weeds
- Measure the square footage to know how much compost, fertilizer, and lawn seed to buy
- Add an early layer of mulch or soil builder to blank areas
Prepare lawn renovation supplies for the arrival of rain in upcoming months:
- Super Sweet Lime
- G&B Soil Building Conditioner
- G&B Organic Lawn Fertilizer
- Lawn seed: Over-seed at a rate of 3.5–5 lbs per 1000 square feet; seed bare ground with 7–10 lbs per 1000 square feet
Indoor Gardening in August
The hottest days of Summer are here!
- Provide air circulation and increase humidity (misting) to houseplants to make up for dry air.
- Continue to fertilize and monitor for pests—wipe leaves regularly for prevention.
- Evaluate repotting needs and plan to repot before growth slows down for Fall/Winter.
- Refresh soil in all houseplants—replace the top layer with a thin layer of worm castings and fresh potting soil.
What to Do for Fun in August
Sit out and enjoy your garden! Read a book (remember those?) or watch and listen to the birds and bees to decompress from the day.
Pick and eat a homegrown feast. Invite close friends over for a garden-to-table dinner and ask them to bring a dish with ingredients from their own garden!
Choose a shady spot, grab a cool drink, and gather friends for craft time. Plant sedums and succulents to create a succulent dish garden for your patio table.