Monthly Gardening Advice – August

Monthly Gardening Advice – August

AUGUST

Lawncare

  • Raise the mower blades before cutting fine lawns. This will help reduce stress.
  • Lawns on thin soils may benefit from a high phosphate feed; this will help toughen roots for the winter period.
  • New areas of grass, sown or turfed in the Spring, will need extra water to keep them going through their first summer so when using a sprinkler use a jam jar in the middle of the lawn as a measure. Once the jar has 10-13mm (½ in) in the bottom the lawn has had sufficient water.
  • During dry periods cut the lawn a little longer and invest in a mulching mower to help the lawn retain moisture.
  • Dig over areas which are due to be grassed later on in the year, leave for a few weeks so any weed can re-emerge and spray off with weed killer or hoe off so the area is weed free before sowing or laying new turf.
  • Avoid using lawn weed killer in late summer; they are far more effective in the cooler damper autumn weather.

Houseplant Care

  • Many indoor plants benefit from being placed outside on the patio during the summer.
  • Ventilate and shade sunrooms and conservatories to prevent scorch damage to leaves.
  • Freely water, feed as necessary (as per manufacturer’s instructions.) Try and water early mornings or late evenings to avoid evaporation and scorch.
  • Cyclamen that have been rested over the summer can be started back into growth for winter blooms. Water and carefully replace the top layer of compost.
  • Hyacinths, ‘paperwhite’ daffodils and freesias can be planted in bowls to flower for Christmas.
  • Check plants for red spider mite, glasshouse white fly, mealy bug and scale insect on a regular basis.

Jobs To Do In The Garden

  • Water tubs and new plants if dry and liquid feed.
  • Deadhead faded flowers to encourage more and prolong flowering period.
  • Prune wisteria.
  • Hebes and lavender can be lightly pruned after flowering.
  • Pick over and cut back alpines.
  • Make sure early flowering shrubs like camellia and rhododendron are well watered during dry periods to ensure good flower bud development.
  • Set traps to protect dahlia blooms from earwigs.
  • Take cuttings of pelargonium and osteospermum as soon as possible.
  • Start collecting seed from your favourite plants.
  • Cut back perennials (stems and flowers) on plants looking tired or already starting to die back..
  • Give hedges their final trim.
  • Prune climbing and rambling roses, which do not repeat flower or produce hips (once flowering has finished).
  • Check for first signs of vine weevil damage.
  • Check for black spot on roses. It is very common this time of year – spraying may not work, remove fallen leaves and burn them to prevent the disease spreading to other roses.

Jobs To Do In The Greenhouse

  • Remember to ventilate your greenhouse on sunny days and on the warmest days you may need to damp the flooring down to increase the humidity.
  • Give plants more space as they grow to help avoid pest infestations.
  • Check for vine weevil larvae in containers.
  • Use shade paint on outside of greenhouse or blinds to stop temperatures soaring
  • Check plants regularly for water especially on tomatoes to stop blossom end rot.
  • Regularly inspect plants for pest and disease.

The Vegetable Garden

  • You can still sow quick maturing crops like rocket, lettuce, radish, turnips and fennel.
  • Carrot fly is still around so check crops carefully.
  • Change to high potash feed for container grown fruit.
  • Continue consistent supply of water to help avoid diseases, disorders and bolting.
  • Water tomatoes and peppers regularly to avoid blossom end rot.
  • Watch out for potato blight and tomato blight.
  • Don’t delay summer pruning restricted fruits (fans and espaliers).
  • Hang wasp traps in apple, plums, damsons and gage trees.
  • Lift and pot up rooted strawberry runners.
  • Continue to harvest onions, garlic, sweet corn, figs, beans, carrots, potatoes, salads, raspberries, blackberries, courgette, cucumbers, tomatoes cherries, strawberries, early grapes, blueberries, gooseberries, red and white currants.
  • Hoe off weeds in dry weather.
  • Continue to cut out old fruited canes on raspberries.
  • Treat apple scab.
  • Pinching out the top of broad beans once the lowest flowers have set will help prevent aphid attack.

Wildlife & Bird Care

  • Avoid deadheading hip bearing roses.
  • Keep birdbaths and ponds topped up with water.
  • Plant marigolds around veg patch to attract hoverflies.
  • Start building a hedgehog hibernation box.
  • Use wildlife friendly slug pellets if chemical control is needed.
  • Trim hedges less frequently to encourage wildlife to shelter and feed.
  • Make sure your pond is more wildlife friendly (by planting around the pond and creating a shallow edge so wildlife can access the pond safely).
  • Annual meadows do not need mowing.
  • Allow seed heads to develop on some plants for a source of food.
  • Plant annuals and perennials to attract insects
  • Watch for adult frogs and toads leaving ponds.

Any Other Advice

  • Collect grey water for watering containers and baskets.
  • Hang yellow card sticky traps in greenhouses and conservatories.
  • Feed soils with green manures.
  • Don’t forget to remove faded flowers on marginal, aquatic plants and cut back any tatty leaves.
  • Don’t neglect hanging baskets – keep watering and feeding as well as deadheading.
  • Good regular watering of fruit and vegetables will help to avoid disease and splitting especially in the drier weather.

Enjoy your garden and don’t forget to take time and stop and stare at the wonder of nature. Happy gardening!