As we head into August we’re moving towards ‘late summer’ (where did the year go!). In some ways your gardening tasks are getting more manageable; the summer bedding is in place, and the major weeding is done as the spring and early summer growing period is passed.
On the downside, especially in dry summers, by August much of your planting may look tired, straggly or just plain thirsty. Here are some august gardening jobs to help keep your garden looking fresh and attractive through later summer and into the early autumn.
Table of Contents
Prepare the flowers
- Remove spent flowers from dahlias and other perennials to keep the plants blooming steadily.
- This month, give your camellias and rhododendrons a good watering. This will help next year’s buds develop well.
- If your Hardy Geraniums are looking a little tired, you can give them a quick trim to remove any old leaves and encourage new growth. Just be careful not to cut back too much, or you’ll damage the plant.
- After the lavender finishes flowering, give it a trim to keep its compact, bushy shape. Avoid cutting into old wood though.
- August is the time to cut back your herbs to encourage a new flush of tasty leaves before the frost sets in.
- After the flowers have wilted, cut back climbing and rambling roses that do not produce repeat blooms or attractive hips.
- Water your pots and hanging baskets regularly to keep the flowers blooming, and add tomato feed to the water every two weeks.
- As the autumn days grow shorter and the chill of winter sets in, take some time to collect the ripened seeds from your favourite plants.
- Tender perennials such as Pelargonium and Osteospermum can be propagated by taking cuttings. A cool, sunny windowsill is ideal to help them thrive until they’re established.
- Be on the lookout for signs of ‘clematis wilt’, like black discolouration on leaves and stems. If you see any infected plants, cut them out and throw them away in your household trash.
- Mow or trim areas of wildflower meadow to help the plants disperse their seeds.
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Get ready for the vegetable garden
- Keep an eye out for early signs of blight in tomatoes and potatoes, as affected plants should be removed immediately to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Water your sweetcorn plants regularly and give them high-quality tomato food to get the tastiest cobs.
- Pinch out the tops of outdoor tomatoes, as further flowers are unlikely to produce fruits that have time to ripen
- It’s important to thin parsley in order to help it establish a strong root system before winter sets in.
- Harvest onions and shallots when their tops wilt, then allow them to dry in the sun.
- To encourage more bean growth and prevent your plants from getting too tall, pinch out the tips of the runner beans once they reach the top of their support.
- If you want to enjoy winter picking of hardy crops, sow land cress, rocket and corn salad.
- The time has come to harvest your spring-sown carrots and beetroot. These vegetables can be left in the ground to continue growing, but if you’re ready to enjoy them now, go ahead and dig them up!
- On a sunny day, go out and collect seeds from herbs such as dill, fennel, caraway, and chervil. Dry them in a warm spot out of direct sunlight.
- If you’re growing brassicas or leafy greens, keep an eye out for cabbage white butterfly eggs. These pests can do a lot of damage to your crop, so it’s important to squash any eggs you find.
Deal with the fruits
- In August prune the apple trees, whether they are free-standing or trained.
- If you have any plants that are fruiting in containers, make sure to give them a high potash liquid feed in order to keep them healthy and productive. This will help them grow strong and remain fruitful.
- Plant your strawberry runners into new garden beds.
- Keep the blackberries and raspberries protected from birds by using netting or fleece.
- Once August hits, don’t forget to give your lemon tree (and other citrus trees) a special fertiliser designed for them. This will help them stay healthy and produce lots of fruit!
- Now is the time to harvest your fruit trees! All varieties of cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots should be ripe and ready to pick.
Don’t forget the greenhouse
- Be on the lookout for glasshouse whitefly, leafhopper, red spider mite, mealybugs and scale insects in your conservatory or greenhouse.
- Give your houseplants a drink when they seem thirsty. A general rule of thumb is to water them once a week, but be sure to check the soil before watering to make sure they actually need it.
- If you’re going away on vacation, it’s important to set up a watering system for your plants. A simple way to do this is to use capillary matting.
- To keep your plants healthy and free of pests, open the vents and doors on your greenhouse on warm days. This will help increase humidity and deter red spider mites.
- To ensure a bountiful Christmas harvest, store your potato tubers in large tubs in a greenhouse or cool porch. By keeping them at a consistent temperature, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious potatoes all season long.
- To keep your greenhouse from overheating on sunny days, install blinds or apply shade paint to the outside.
- One way to increase the humidity in your greenhouse during hot weather is to pour water over the floor every morning. This will help to reduce stress on plants during periods of drought and also save on mains water use.
- One way to help identify which flying pests are causing problems in your home is to set up some sticky traps.
- To prevent diseases tidy up all fallen leaves and debris.
- It’s time to give your dormant cyclamen a little drink to get them going again after their summer break.
- Tomatoes, cucumbers, and chillies need to be harvested regularly if you want more of them to grow.
Take care of the lawn
- It’s very common for lawns to brown at this time of year. Try not to water the grass unless it’s necessary, as the autumn rains will help it green up again.
- To get a clean cut on your lawn, make sure to raise the blades on your mower before mowing. That will help the grass cope.
- If you want your lawn to stay healthy throughout the autumn season, don’t feed it with a high-nitrogen fertiliser now. This will stimulate new growth which is more susceptible to damage from autumn weather conditions.
- Now that autumn is here, it’s time to start thinking about planting a new lawn. If you want your lawn to be in tip-top shape for next spring, now is the time to start preparing the area.
- It’s time to get your lawn in shape! Start by recutting any lawn edges.
Other gardening jobs in Autumn
- If you want your laurel hedges to stay healthy and look their best, make sure to cut them with secateurs rather than a hedge trimmer. This will avoid half-cut leaves that turn brown.
- It is important to water plants thoroughly when they need it, rather than just giving them a little bit of water every day. When plants are properly watered, they can stay healthy for up to two weeks. However, if you only wet the surface of the plant, this will not be enough to keep it healthy and might actually harm the plant.
- Before weeds have a chance to establish themselves, clear them out of cracks in paving and driveways.
- If you see any white powdery mildew on your plants, it’s important to remove the affected parts and spray with a fungicide to prevent further spread.
- Lily beetles can be a problem for lilies. Check for them regularly, and remove any you find by crushing them. Also look for the brown larvae, which can be found on the underside of leaves.
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