Hard to believe August is here. I don’t know about you, but the time seems to be flying by. I hadn’t gotten used to it being July and here we are in August. This is a busy month in the garden. The following are a few tips.
- The Japanese Beetles seem to finally be waning. Keep looking and get the last of them in a container of soapy water. Every time I get 2 mating, I know it means they won’t be laying eggs for next year.
- Some areas have had more rain than others. If you haven’t gotten enough rain don’t let up on the watering and remember your trees and shrubs need water too. However, the grass doesn’t. It might go dormant but will come right back with the next rain.
- It’s better to water for a long time once a week than a little every few days. The water needs to get down where the roots are. In this heat more than one inch a week may be necessary.
- Check your plants regularly for signs of insect or disease. I have noticed some fungal disease showing up. Determine the cause, and if any action is necessary, BEFORE you arbitrarily spray a pesticide or herbicide. Remember pesticides kill ALL insects, and herbicides kill ALL plants, the good with the bad. Always look for a nontoxic product.
- A few holes in your leaves are not necessarily a disaster. Beneficial insects have to eat too. Remember butterflies and moths come from caterpillars so they are not necessarily the bad guys.
- Spiders are more common in fall. People don’t like spiders but keep in mind they are your friend! Spiders are one of the best predators of harmful insects in your garden.
- By early August, discontinue fertilizing all plants except annuals. Perennials, trees and shrubs are starting their slow down into winter dormancy. They need to rest, not try and push out new growth.
- A good way to prevent seeded annual weeds is by cutting them back and removing the seeds, before they are disbursed. If you don’t have time to weed at least you can cut off the seed heads.
- This technique works for perennials as well. If you don’t want your black-eyed- Susan’s, coneflowers, or asters (just to mention a few) to reseed cut the seed heads back. If you don’t mind the spread leave the seed heads up to feed the birds during the fall and winter. I love watching the chickadees on the seed heads in the winter.
- Mid-August to mid-September is ideal for starting grass seed. However, if this hot and dry weather continues, wait a while. Grass seed germinates better in cooler weather.
- If you have some bare spots or thinning turf, you can over seed during the cooler time. Simply scatter some seed right over the existing grass and bare spots. If the bare spot is larger than a few inches, it’s best to loosen the soil a little with a hand cultivator so the seed makes good contact with the ground.
- When buying grass seed make sure to match your sight requirements (amount of sun, moisture and soil pH) to the type of seed.
- If you want to take cuttings of annuals to winter over, now is a good time. Cuttings need to be taken while the plants are in their prime not after they start to fade. You can get good instructions online. Take cuttings early in the day before the sun hits the plants.
- Dividing and transplanting perennials is ideal once the weather cools down and we get consistent rain. Hopefully, it will cool down by mid-month, if not hold off as there is plenty of time and the plants will transplant much better. Keep in mind, plants that are overcrowded are prone to fungal disease. Transplanting things in late summer allows the roots to set in before winter and saves time in the spring.
- The basic rule is things that bloom in spring should be moved in fall. Fall blooming plants should be moved in spring. However, most fall things can be moved in fall after they are finishing blooming. It’s best not to move any plants in bloom as they have to spend too much energy keeping their flowers going and don’t set roots as well.
- If you have oak trees be aware there is a new pathogen, Oak Wilt that can be deadly to oaks. To hep prevent the disease don’t prune any oaks until they are dormant. The insect that spreads the disease lays it’s eggs in newly cut wood when the sap is still active.
Master Gardener Fall Classes: The classes will be presented via Zoom and the cost will be $15.00/ class or $40 for all three classes. Mark your calendar and plan to attend any or all of the following: Tuesday, September 15, 6:30 - 8:00 pm Carol Ann Harlos will present Bulbs and Tubers and Corms, Oh, My! Learn what’s new just in time to plant for a spring show.
Wednesday, September 23, 6:30 - 8:00 pm Peggy Koppmann will present Fall Propagation. Autumn is a great time for home gardeners to propagate plants. Learn how to take cuttings of shrubs and overwinter them. Phyllis Lobbins will discuss the popular Winter Sowing technique for starting perennials. Gather your milk jugs now.
Saturday, September 26, 6:30 8:00 pm Linda Mayer will, present Happy Healthy Houseplants. Houseplants are the fastest growing area of gardening with new and unusual varieties appearing in nursery centers everywhere. Learn how to keep them happy and healthy. Register at: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/2020_FallGardeningClass_214
Lessons from Nature: Don’t forget to contact me for a garden consult. I can help improve your garden and gardening practices and help you become a more sustainable and successful gardener. This is an ideal time to plan changes for next season.
Lyn Chimera Lessons from Nature 170 Pine St. E. Aurora, NY 14052 firstname.lastname@example.org 652-2432