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DOUG’S GARDEN BLOG – August Garden Tips

By Doug Hensel
Doug's Blog

IT’S TIME FOR A MID-SUMMER GARDENING REPORT

First, let’s recap the month of July. I think I can accurately describe the month of July in one word “UGH”!!! What a hot and dry month July turned out to be this year. 21 straight days of 90 degrees or better. Not a record. The record was set in 1995 with 27 straight days of 90 degrees or better. Does this make you feel better or make you cooler? Not me.

September and the “FALL IS FOR PLANTING” season is fast approaching. August is an important month with preparation in gardening.

Are you planning to do some planting this fall? If so, August is the month to prepare your ideas on design and plant selection. Do your homework now in order to take advantage of the fall planting season. Fall is the best time to transplant and install new shrubs and trees because roots can get more established before next summer’s heat arrives again.

LAWN CARE

For most of us, lawn care in the fall is a big deal. Now is the time to start to get ready.

  • I can’t stress enough the importance of having a complete soil analysis made for your lawn. You can contact your local county extension service for more information. Below are some phone numbers for our area. For your convenience, we have plenty of soil test kits here. Stop by and ask for one. The kits are free.
    • CHESTERFIELD COUNTY — 804-751-4401
    • HENRICO COUNTY — 804-501-5160
    • POWHATAN COUNTY — 804-598-5640
    • HANOVER COUNTY — 804-752-4310
  • August is a good month to thatch or rake hard with a rake to remove debris and dead grass
  • Aerate  –  best to do core aeration whereby plugs of soil are pulled up during the aeration process. Aeration will help loosen the compaction of the soil. Right now I think I can safely say that our soils are hard and compacted because of the heat and dryness.
  • Know your pH  –  Ideally, you would like the pH of the lawn soil to be no less than 6.5. August could be a great month to apply some lime in order to improve the pH before you start seeding and fertilizing in September.

OTHER IMPORTANT AUGUST GARDENING TASKS

  1. Give your roses their final feeding of the season.  Roses put on quite a floral show in the fall when we have some cooler days.
  2. Fall garden seeds are arriving.  Now is the time to select your seeds and plan your fall vegetable garden.
  3. I don’t recommend any pruning on evergreen shrubs after August.  Pruning encourages new growth.  You need to give this new growth time to harden off before turning cold.
  4. Stay on top of watering all the newly planted annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees.  Be sure to concentrate your watering right near the base of the plant.  This is where the majority of the roots are located.
  5. August is a good month to consider dividing your iris and peonies.  When you re-plant be sure to add ESPOMA BULB TONE or PLANT TONE in the hole at the time of replanting.

HAPPY GARDENING and ENJOY AUGUST!!!!

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6 thoughts on “DOUG’S GARDEN BLOG – August Garden Tips

  1. I have a 3-in-1 apple tree that I purchased from the Great Big Green House. This year it has been sending up shoots from the root. I don’t want a bush, how and when should I deal with these shoots?

    I don’t want to harm the tree.

    BTW I had several apples on the tree this year, but the squirrels beat me to them.

  2. Marva,
    Good to hear from you. You can remove these unwanted “sucker” shoots anytime, even now. You just don’t want them to develop because these shoots are only taking away energy from the tree itself. Let me hear back from you if you have any further questions. doug

  3. Doug: I have Bermuda grass, nimblewell and oxalis in my turf. Im going to try to dig out the Bermuda, apply tenacity to the nimblewell and not sure about the oxalis. Any suggestions? And if i apply any herbicides, when can I safely reseed?

  4. When/ how do I divide bleeding heart plants? I have several very large plants that are beautiful in the spring but now the leaves are fading and have taken over large portions of my garden. I’d like to divide them into more manageable size plants for next spring.

  5. Daniel,
    Good to hear from you and thank you for taking time to send me your questions. Your timing is perfect. August is the month that you want to get your lawn ready for the upcoming seeding / fertilizing season that starts in September. With most all herbicide spraying you will want to wait three weeks after the spraying before you can safely put seed down on the lawn. It is possible that Tenacity could kill the oxalis. Try and see if it does. If not, then a general broad leaf weed killer will do the job. Let me know if you have any further questions. Doug

  6. Paulina,
    Good Morning. This is a good timely question. Fall is the time to dig and divide most all perennials, including the Dicentra, Bleeding Hearts. It is interesting that your plants are still in leaf. By July, my Bleeding Hearts have died back to the ground and have gone dormant. Let me know if you have any further questions. Doug

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