August Landscape & Garden Tips
These tips apply to those in USDA Zone 8 of Georgia but may apply to other regions in the southern United States.
August is usually one of if not the hottest and, in some regions, the muggiest months of the year...what some call the "Dog Days of Summer." Even so, there's lots that we can be doing in the landscape and gardens.
August Planting Tips
1. Seperate Iris This Month After using a spade to dig up and separate the plants dip the tubers (base of the Iris) in a solution of 1 part Clorox to 9 parts water to kill any diseases that may be present before transplanting elsewhere in the garden.
2. Plant A Lawn If you want to plant a Bermuda lawn this year with seed or sod, or a Zoysia or Centipede lawn with sod, August is the last month of summer to safely do so allowing enough time for the seed to germinate or the sod to establish a good root system before the cool season sets in. When planting a Bermuda lawn from seed make sure to use a turf-type Bermuda seed as common Bermuda is best suited for pastures. Turf-type Bermuda grasses display excellent overall turf quality similar to that of Tifway Bermuda 419 sod.
3. Plant Perennials! - Many types of summer-flowering perennial plants are starting to wind down in August and that means you can usually find some great deals on them at local nursery and garden centers. Summer flowering perennials planted now will establish a good root system before going dormant in fall or early winter. Then, when soil temperatures begin to warm next spring plants will re-emerge and grow to twice the size by summer or spring-planted perennials.
In case you didn't know, "perennials" are plants that come back year after year. Some are evergreen while others will lose their foliage or die back to the ground when winter arrives. Perennials are great because they can be useful to add vibrant splashes of color and texture anywhere in the landscape and/or can be mixed together in "perennial gardens" of various types: butterfly gardens, hummingbird gardens, cut flower gardens, English gardens, shade gardens, rock gardens and the list goes on and on. The flower and foliage colors and textures of perennials are endless and there are so many varieties you can have something blooming at all times of the year, even winter!
Whatever the situation or need, there is a perennial plant that fits! There are sun-loving perennials and shade loving perennials; wet soil perennials and dry soil perennials; butterfly attracting perennials and hummingbird attracting perennials. There are spring flowering perennials, summer flowering perennials, fall flowering perennials, and even winter flowering perennials. And then there's long blooming perennials that bloom from spring to frost. Got deer? No problem. There are many deer resistant perennials that deer turn their nose up to. There are fragrant perennials for adding sensory appeal to your garden, and cut flower perennials you can use for fresh or dried flower arrangements. Need to fill the gaps between stepping stones or pavers, there are creeping perennial plants to fill them. See, we weren't kidding. There's a perennial plant for every situation!
4. Plant Shrubs and Trees! With warmer air and soil temperatures, July is a good time to plant all types of shrubs, trees, grasses, vines and other types of ornamental landscape plants. New plants will root in fast this time of year provided they have ample water. If you need some help with landscape design, check out Do-It-Yourself Landscape Design Tips & Ideas, or consult with one of our professional landscape designers at Wilson Bros Landscape. You can check out many of the shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, roses and more that we carry at the Nursery on our online store at WilsonBrosGardens.com.
NOTE: Due to shipping, handling and packaging costs, the prices for plants in our online store are higher than at the nursery in McDonough. Also, we carry many, many more plants at the Nursery than are listed in our online store, and a few of the plants in our online store, such as Bamboo, are not available at the Nursery. Call us to confirm availability. (770)954-9862
5. Transplant & Relocate Southern Magnolia August is usually NOT a good time for transplanting and relocating trees from one area of the landscape to another. Most trees should be transplanted when they are in dormancy, during the winter. However, August is a good time to transplant a Southern Magnolia. Trees over 8 feet in height will be very difficult for the average gardener to successfully transplant using a shovel. Larger trees are best handled by a reputable landscape contractor who has the necessary equipment.
6. Start Planning For Fall Planting August is a good time to start planning for Fall planting - With Fall just around the corner August is a good time to start thinking about what types of fall planting you'll do. Fall garden mums will begin arriving in September at nursery and garden centers in the South. Mums are a great way to add outstanding splashes perennial color to your landscape. Pansies and other cool season annual plants will be in stock at nursery and garden centers soon as well; usually around the middle of September. Fall is perhaps the best time of year to plant shrubs and trees as they will not require nearly as much attention to watering and will "root in" to their new environment before winter, then being there to benefit from the major root flush next spring. If you haven't done so in the past, you might also want to consider planting a fall vegetable garden. You can save lots of money on the grocery bill and, besides, some of the most desirable vegetables can be grown in fall: Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Kale, Lettuce, Mustard, Onions, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips
About Fall Garden Mums - Coming Soon
Fall Vegetable Gardening In The South - Coming Soon
Why Fall Is The Best Time To Plant Shrubs & Trees - Coming Soon
August Fertilizing & Watering Tips
1. Provide Supplemental Water When Necessary During the "Dog Days of August" temperatures are usually at their hottest of the year in Zone 8 of the South. If we are experiencing a dry spell during this time, it may be necessary to provide supplemental water to newer plantings and even established trees and shrubs growing in the landscape and gardens. And don't forget the lawn. Keep an eye on your plants and if you see foliage wilting, curling or turning a lighter color, these could be signs they could use a good deep soaking. To water larger trees or shrubs suffering from lack of moisture, lay a water hose on the ground that encircles the outer perimeter of the branch system and deeply soak for several hours once a week, or as needed. Keep in mind that the root systems of larger trees and shrubs usually extend 20 percent beyond the diameter of the canopy. Check container gardens once or twice a day and deep soak these as well when needed.
To help conserve and moisture in the soil, maintain a two-inch thick layer (no thicker) of shredded wood mulch or pine straw mulch around the plants and trees landscape beds and container gardens. Avoid piling up mulch against the trunks of trees and shrubs as this can cause bark rot.
NOTE: It's always best to water during the morning hours than at night, which can lead to development of foliage diseases.
2. Fertilize Warm Season Lawns If your Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia or St Augustine lawn is looking a little less green than you like, August is a good time to apply a lawn fertilizer. An application of slow-release lawn fertilizer, or a non-burning natural fertilizer such as Nitroganic, should supply enough food until fall, when you will apply a fall feed fertilizer. If your Centipede lawn is light green or yellow, apply a dose of Hi-Yield Iron Plus for quick deep greening. Continue if necessary to provide enough supplemental water to the lawn to reduce stress from heat and drought and to keep it healthy.
3. Fertilize Annual Flowers If the annual flowers growing in flowerbeds or in containers are looking pale and not flowering well provide a dose of a good flower fertilizer or food. If your annual flowers have become leggy you can cut them halfway back or so to encourage new growth and more flowers. When cutting plants back make sure to leave some leaves on the stems.
4. Fertilize Vegetable Plants When cared for properly, many vegetable plants will continue to produce fruit through the rest of the summer and well into fall. If you haven't fertilized your vegetable plants lately do so now for the final application of the season. When growing plants that will provide produce that ends up on the dinner table, we always recommend using an organic fertilizer.
5. Fertilize Perennial Plants If your perennial plants are looking a little pale and not flowering like they should, fertilizer them now with a good flower fertilizer or natural or organic plant food. If you're unsure as to the nutritional needs of a specific type of plant don't hesitate to ask us any questions you might have when you're at the Nursery, or contact us here.
6. Fertilize Shrubs And Trees If any of your shrubs and/or trees are looking a little pale fertilize them now with a well-balanced shrub & tree type fertilizer, such as Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food, or a "goof proof," non-burning natural plant food such as Nitroganic Organic Fertilizer. Follow application instructions on the product label.
7. Correct Chlorosis On Plants Or Lawn Grasses - If your Centipede lawn or the foliage on some of your shrubs and trees is looking a little light-green or yellowish-green, there are minerals you can apply to green them up.
Lawns - Ever wonder how sod farms deliver that lush, dark green Centipede sod that looks like Fescue at its prime? Answer is: they apply extra doses of iron. If your Centipede lawn has yellowed, or is not green enough for your liking, apply granular iron with a broadcast spreader. At Wilson Bros. Nursery, we recommend Hi-Yield Iron Plus because it contains a whopping 16% Iron and 13% Sulfur for deep greening. Other iron products often contain much smaller amounts.
Shrubs & Trees - For shrubs and trees you can apply Iron Plus, Soil Sulfur, or Aluminum Sulfate. Make sure to always follow instructions found on product label.
8. Apply Pelletized Lime to Lawns If you have had trouble growing a healthy and beautiful bermuda, bluegrass, fescue or zoysia lawn it could have to do with the pH of the soil. Bermuda, bluegrass, fescue or zoysia lawn grasses thrive in soil with a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7. When the pH is acid (between 4.5 and 6.5) the root systems of these types of grasses cannot uptake nutrients and the grass will suffer. Application of lime can be applied to adjust the pH. On the other hand, centipede and St Augustine lawns prefer an acid soil.
August Pruning & Mowing Tips
1. Raise The Deck Height On Your Lawn Mower August can be a tough time for lawn grasses in the South, especially if the lawn is not regularly irrigated during a drought. Mowing higher can help the grass blades to conserve moisture. On the other hand, scalping the lawn too low robs moisture stored in the grass blades, which stresses the lawn grass. This is especially true regarding fescue grass, which can be burnt out and killed by cutting it too low during the hot summer months. Avoid this problem simply by raising the deck of your mower by an inch or more. We recommend cutting fescue no lower than 4 inches in height during summer, and Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede at 3 inches or so in height. Never remove more than 1/3 the height of the grass during a mowing.
SEE: Lawn Mowing Tips
3. Deadhead Annual And Perennial Flowers Keep your flowering perennials, annuals, roses and other flowering plants tidy by snipping or pinching off spent flowers. Doing so will also encourage a fuller, healthier plant that produces more flowers throughout the season.
4. Deadhead Flowering Shrubs And Trees During the hot summer you don't want to do any heavy pruning on ornamental shrubs and trees. That said, you can always snip a stray branch here or there that is spoiling the shape of the plant or remove damaged or dying branches. Too, you can deadhead spent flowers on summer flowering shrubs, many of which are excellent for dried flower arrangements, such as hydrangea, and others such as crape myrtles that will often rebloom when deadheaded.
SEE: All Pruning Articles
5. Remove Sucker Growths From Trees Suckers are those pesky shoots that emerge from the base of many types of trees. Because they can rob valuable energy from the tree, make sure to cut them off at their base with a sharp pair of hand pruners as soon as you see them.
6. Harvesting Summer Vegetables To keep your vegetable plants producing fruit, continue to harvest your summer vegetables during the month of August.
Pre-Planning For The Fall Season Summer is a great time to start planning and designing plantings that will be installed in the upcoming fall season.
Keep An Eye Out For Damaging Insects If there's been a lot of rain and conditions are humid, insect pests can be a problem during August. That said, the vast majority of bugs that visit our landscapes and gardens do no harm. Some, such as ladybugs, are actually beneficial because they eat or run off the bad bugs. And, of course, there are the beautiful pollinators such as butterflies that we want to keep around.
This time of year it's a good idea to keep an eye out for damaging insects and take steps to control them as quickly as possible. If the leaves of your plants are curling or discoloring, or something has been chewing on them, this is an indicator that damaging insects might be present. When inspecting your plants, make sure to look on the undersides of leaves because this is where common types of insects such aphids and lacebugs like to hide out during the day. Other insects, such as scale and mealybug are easier to see.
If insects are found, make sure to positively identify them before spraying with an insecticide. If you're unsure about the type of insect you're seeing either take a picture and send it to us for identification or bring a specimen to the nursery. Just make sure it's in a sealed jar or plastic bag! We'll be happy to identify it for you and, if necessary, provide the best suggestions for methods of control.
TIP: When using an insecticidal control, if possible, use the safest insecticide you can find, such as organic neem oil, and spray during the early morning or late evening hours (just before dark) when the beneficial pollinators aren't active.
Watch For Fungus On Plants And In The Lawn During hot and rainy summers the chance for fungal development and other diseases on plants increases. If expanding brown patches or circular rings of a light gray ash-like substance are forming in your lawn, this could indicate the presence of a damaging fungus. If so, broadcast a granular lawn fungicide or spray with a liquid fungicide. If you see a powdery white or orange substance develop on the leaves of plants, this could be powdery mildew or rust. These common diseases can be effectively controlled by spraying with a solution containing Neem oil. If you cannot identify a disease, bring a sample to the nursery and we'll be happy to identify the fungus or disease and provide a good remedy.
Get Control Of Those Weeds! When weed preventers are not used, weeds can get out of control and take over lawns and landscape and garden beds during the warmer summer months. If you don't pull or spray to kill weeds, and allow them to flower and produce seeds, the seeds will scatter and sprout. It's never too late to get a weed preventer on the ground but once weeds have sprouted they either have to be pulled or sprayed, unless you want to live in a weed jungle:-)
If you know of another good tips for us to add to this list please use the Contact Us form to let us know!