July was a whirlwind of activity for this gal, looking forward to the leisurely pace of August! With the help of friends and family there have been no vacation plant casualties…actually I came back and the garden looked better than when I take care of it…sigh. I haven’t had nearly enough time to do my beverage research…I got as far as different flavoured Mojitos.
But what we did do was make up some awesome flavoured waters after our lunch at Chopped. Anything that makes us drink more water is a good thing. Experiment with your own flavoured waters, chop up some fruits, veg or herbs…preferably ones that don’t have sprays and toss them into a jug of water in the morning and refrigerate. They really start to taste good by evening and some…like my experimental watermelon and mint water was really spectacular the second day. So enough playing…here is your list!
Water restrictions are in full swing, don’t panic over lighter coloured lawns; just reduce traffic if you can. Mother Nature has helped with some rain here and there. Mowing has really slowed down. Take a peek at your mower blade to make sure it’s still sharp. Take note of any uneven ground and make a plan to top dress in fall if needed. Later in the month is a good time to turf or seed…provided you are done with your holidays. Do hold off if we are expecting a scorcher of a week, it will make your life easier and you still have September!
Continue deadheading and take note of any bare areas. A photo journal is handy…don’t panic if you’ve just started now, it will really help you plan additions in Fall and next Spring. A little clipping here and there will be helpful especially if you have some plants overtaking your garden…like I do. Weeding is really rewarding this month because most weeds are slower to rebound! Add mulch if you have dry areas or have some stressed plants.
Trees and Shrubs
Still a small window to do some light pruning especially on fruit trees. Remember no greater than the width of your finger and no more than 1/4 of the total amount in summer. Summer pruning is to slow growth and winter pruning speeds up growth. So summer pruning is great for fruit trees that are mature and have more than enough fruiting branches.
Dead, damaged and diseased branches of trees and shrubs can be pruned off at any time. Do remember to water your trees, especially street trees. We do carry Tree Gators. These are re-usable plastic water holders that are wrapped around your tree. Fill them with water and they will seep and weep water for 2-3 days.
When you are allowed, leave the hose on a trickle for about a half hour, 1-2 times a week. If planting any new trees and shrubs in August, make sure you water regularly. Keep it deeply watered 3-4 times per week for about 15 to 20 minutes and avoid root disturbance when moving it into the planting hole.
Pots and hanging baskets
Continue to water, deadhead and fertilize annuals. Trim back any overgrown sections and don’t be afraid to pull out anything that isn’t working for you. You can fill in the space with a new plant that will take your container into the fall, or a glass vase filled with beads and flowers from your garden, or a lantern (though you might want to switch up the candle for a LED version to make it safe) or a stone or water bowl or anything else that grabs your fancy.
Remember you can soak your hanging baskets in a tray of water if they dry out a bit. When you have to retire a hanging basket…trim off the greens and save the hanger and basket and the soil and roots of the annuals, they’ll act like that green Styrofoam oasis you get to stick plants in…you will have use for it in the fall when you fill it with gourds and hay and corn husks and then later with greens and Christmas lights.
Pests and Bugs
Pay attention to the bugs in your garden, it’s a great time to critter watch, though my teenagers think it’s gross. Don’t panic if you see critters eating leaves.
- Step 1 identify the pest and learn the lifecycle.
- Step 2 Identify the critters that will eat the pest.
- Step 3 – determine the acceptable level of damage. If you’ve said zero, carefully roll up your local newspaper, including the flyers and give yourself a good wack with it until you come up with a reasonable number.
- Step 4 – Based on your new knowledge of the pest or problem and knowing the lifecycle…interrupt the lifecycle if needed.
If you are not sure you can come in or give us a call and we can help you. Most times it involves spraying with the hose (aphids), squishing (scale and caterpillars) or just plain waiting until fall and then bagging and removing the leaves. We are happy to help you come up with an identification, a solution or even to just exchange bug and plant disease war stories!
Harvest, weed and water. Fertilize as needed. Plant some fall crops now, such as spinach and broccoli and Brussel sprouts. New fall crop seeds are in.
Fruits and Berries
Between now and end of September trim off spent raspberry and blackberry canes. Clean up strawberry beds. Trim up grapes and allow the sun to ripen existing clusters. Remove any diseased branches now while it’s dry, especially on cherry and plum trees. Harvest, harvest and harvest. If fruit drops on the ground rake and remove immediately. You will prevent a huge number of pest problems by doing this, and I don’t just mean insect pests!!
With your pond, continue to monitor plant and fish health. Skim dead leaves, trim excess growth. Ensure you have adequate surface coverage to prevent algae growth. Stock up on aquatic plants as they are usually available at a great price in August!
That ought to do for now. If I give you too much it will cut in to your summer reading, outdoor fun and camping time!