August Lawn and Garden Tips

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-Don’t forget to water dry plants and lawns this time of year. Give a thorough soaking when you water shrubs, flowers, or lawns. Frequent, shallow sprinklings can do more harm than good. When watering shrubs during dry periods of summer and fall, be sure to apply enough water so moisture will move downward to the root system. It is helpful to make a 3-4″ mound of soil about 18-24″ outward from shrubs. Let water flood inside mound and soak downward to roots. If you use overhead irrigation on shrubs apply water at some time other than late afternoon because prolonged moisture on leaves overnight encourages disease growth.

-Mulching of shrubs and young trees can be very important in hot, dry weather. Shallow roots are protected from the sun, moisture is conserved, and weeds and grasses are controlled with a good mulch. A 3-4″ layer of pine straw, leaves, pine bark or hardwood mulch will help grow strong, healthy plants.

-August is a good month in which to transplant iris and daylilies. By doing so now, new transplants will have time to become well established before cold weather. Be sure to water well after transplanting.

-Don’t Prune Shrubs or Trees! Late summer pruning should be avoided. It can stimulate new growth which will not have sufficient time to harden off before cold weather. February is the best time for major pruning, but dead or diseased wood may be removed at any time of the year. If you must cut back a tree or shrub, prune as little as you can and do major pruning next February.

-Fall Vegetable Garden – Growing a productive fall garden requires thoughtful planning and preparation. Now is the time to remove any previous crop residue and weed growth. Prepare the soil by tilling or spading to a depth of at least 6” to 8”. If the spring crops were heavily fertilized, you may not need to make an initial pre-plant fertilization. Otherwise, 1-2 lb of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 may be applied per 100ft 2 of bed space. An organic fertilizer can be used as well but be careful with fresh manure as it may contain herbicide residue which will stunt your crops. Thoroughly incorporate the fertilizer. Plant your fall crops between the middle and late part of August for a fall harvest. Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lettuce,
and Kale are all great fall/winter crops. Chose varieties that will be harvested in 50-70 days to beat the extreme cold.

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
Japanese Beetles/White Grubs-Late July/early August is the optimal time for control with soil insecticides since grubs are still small and are close to the surface. Applying at any other time of year will not give you the same control. For organic control begin applying Milky Spore to build up the bacteria in the soil. You will need to do this for several years to get a colony started.

Borers – Spray peach, cherry and plum trees for borers this month using an orchard spray soaking the trunk and soil around the base of the tree.

Mosquitoes— Unfortunately, there is no easy solution for managing mosquitoes. The most effective way to reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes is to find and eliminate their breeding sites—standing water. There are plenty of potential places in which mosquitoes can develop. A neglected bird bath, swimming pool, or clogged rain gutter can produce hundreds of new mosquitoes in just a few days. Mosquitoes prefer to rest in protected sites during the day.
Yards with lots of trees, shrubs and dense vegetation are their favorites. Consequently, removal of tall weeds and overgrowth is part of an integrated mosquito management program.