August Garden Tips
from Al Krismer Plant Farm
Dear Plant Enthusiast,
Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.
- Michelle L. Thieme, August's Crown
Gardening tip sheets Need gardening help? Having deer or snail
problems or how to care for that hanging basket?
here for our tip sheet library
August Garden Tips
Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs:
Take out a few minutes to pick-off the old dead flowers on Marigolds,
zinnias, snapdragons and other annuals. Spent flowers on perennials
should also be removed. Just a little time spent on grooming the plants
really makes a big difference in the appearance of the garden. Also,
once a plant flowers and goes to seed, it will usually stop the
development of additional flowers, so by removing the spent flowers the
plants should continue to flower longer into the season
Oriental poppies can be safely planted, transplanted, or divided this
month. Plant these hardy, long-lived perennials in well-drained soil in
Are your irises and daylilies getting too crowded? Late August is an
ideal time to dig up and divide both plants. Dig up daylilies with a
spading fork, wash excess dirt off the roots with a strong stream of
water, and pull the roots apart. Replant as soon as possible.
For more info
Do not allow phlox to go to seed. Seedlings do not come true to parent
color and may overtake your planting, giving the impression that the
parent plants have reverted.
The best time to buy chrysanthemums is in late summer as soon as they
become available. For a longer blooming period, choose plants that are
just coming into bud instead of those already in full bloom.
For more info
Vegetable and Herbs:
Late August is a great time to plant vegetables that like cool weather,
like peas, lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and
For more tips on fall veggies
Many herbs self-sow if the flowers are not removed. Dill produce seeds
that fall around the parent plant and come up as volunteers the
Savory can be used as a salt substitute in vegetable dishes.
Gather herbs for drying as they mature. Pinch the stems of basil
regularily to prevent flowering. Harvest about once a week.
For more info
Plant a final crop of beans in mid August. Sow the seeds in a six-inch
wide row, 1-2 inches apart. Cover with one inch of soil. Keep soil moist
until beans germinate
Watch your tomatoes for the tomato hornworm, at the first sign of damage
spray with BT (Bacillus thurinigiensis). Cracking of tomato fruit is
generally caused by uneven watering, whether it is from rain or
For more tomato tips
Keep tomato moisture constant. With rainfall somewhat reduced and the
tomato crop coming in, prevent blossom end rot by keeping the moisture
fairly constant. Use a thick layer of mulch and water the plants deeply
once a week.
Apply plenty of mulch.Don’t allow it to touch tree trunks or plant
stems, but apply it deeply—up to six inches—in the blank spaces between
plants, where the sun would otherwise hit the ground and dry it out.
Around trees, angle the slope of the mulch so that water runs toward the
Pay attention to watering! Watering in August is critical for three
reasons: First, the summer heat dries the soil out quickly--a 90 degree
summer day can bake about two inches of moisture from the soil surface.
Second, August is the time when woody plants that bloom in the spring
(azaleas, rhododendrons, dogwoods, lilacs, pieris and others) set their
buds for next spring's blooms. If they don't get the moisture they need
in August, they may look OK now, but not bloom very well next spring.
Third, the latter part of August is when most plants begin storing water
for winter, so watering now once a week is very important.
If the soil in containers dries out and begins to pull away from the
sides, water slowly and repeatedly, pushing the soil back in place as it
To know how much water your sprinklers are applying, use this method.
Place several tuna cans on the lawn. Time how long it takes to
accumulate 1 inch of water in the cans. That's how long you should leave
the sprinkler running each time you water the lawn. An inch of water
applied slowly encourages deep rooting, helping to make the grass more
tolerant of heat and dry weather.
REPLENISH MULCHES - To cool the soil and conserve water, apply a fresh
layer of organic mulch around landscape plants, flowers and vegetables.
Continue spraying roses that are susceptible to black spot and other
For tips on controlling black spot
Shrubs and Trees:
Use drought-tolerant plants.Many annuals, perennials, ornamental
grasses, and shrubs do well with little watering. Check with your local
garden centers or Extension service for lists of these plants.
For list of drought tolerant plants
Withhold fertilizer from roses for the rest of the growing season so the
plants can toughen up for winter.Make last application of fertilizer to
roses by late August.
For tips on rose care
Try to finish all shrub shearing prior to the end of August. This will
allow newly stimulated growth to harden off before winter.
Shade trees showing fall color in August may have root or trunk damage.
Inspect the tree for damage caused by digging near the tree, injury from
soil fill placed over the root zone, chemicals in the soil, excess water
(or too little water), and girdling roots growing across others or
cutting into the trunk; all can be serious problems.
Azaleas, rhododendron, and other ericaceous (acid-loving) plants need to
be fertilized one more time before the end of August using an acid-based
soluble fertilizer containing iron.
For more info
Mid-August starts the fall grass reseeding season. August 15 to
September 15 is the best time to seed lawns in the Cincinnati area, so
take a look at your lawn now and plan ahead. For more info
In late August repair problem area in your lawn. Many brown spots are
not the result of summer dormancy due to drought but rather injury
caused by white grubs. Talk to the experts at your local garden center
for advice on proper treatment. This is also the time to reseed severely
injured areas, keeping newly seeded lawns moist and mulched.
For more info
Watch out for yellow patches, leaf curl or poor growth. Increase
watering if you notice any of these signs.
MOW GRASS ONLY WHEN IT'S DRY. Mowing grass when it's wet usually
produces a very uneven cut. The wet grass clippings can also clump
leaving a mess on the lawn and underneath your mower.
Check for sod webworm damage. The most severe damage usually shows up in
July and August when the temperature is hot and the grass is not growing
vigorously. In fact, most sod webworm damage is mistaken for heat and
drought stress. Sod webworm-damaged lawns may recover slowly, without
irrigation and light fertilizations. These thin turf areas allow weeds
to establish in the lawn making it unsightly.
For more info
Houseplants can still use fertilizer during August, but like the plants
outdoors, they will slow growth in fall and winter, and shouldn't
receive much fertilizer once days get dark and short.
Feed houseplants with a good quality indoor plant food such Osmocote
Continue to pinch and shape foliage plants and other indoor plants such
as poinsettias to shape them. Poinsettias should be given their last
pinch by late August. There will be tips next month to show how to
prepare the plants to flower for Christmas.
Before adding new fish to a pond, it is a good idea to keep them in a
quarantine tank for at least 2 weeks, to make sure that they are
healthy, before placing them in the pond with your existing fish.
If you have a pond or water garden, remember to fertilize lilies and
lotus twice monthly during the growing season.
To prevent a large sludge build-up in your pond, remove dying foliage
from plants before it has a chance to fall into the water and decay.
Feed fish once a day what they can eat in three to five minutes. Use a
high protein formula.If you have an over population of fish you are
directly contributing to higher levels of ammonia and nitrate in your
pond. It is better to feed your fish smaller meals more often than it is
to overfeed them with a large daily meal.
br> For more info
Sunblock for Your Koi Koi are not immune from sunburn, especially in
shallow ponds that get direct sunlight. Provide shade such as water
lilies or a rock overhang. Even a beach umbrella will do in a pinch.
For more info on koi and other other pond fish
Insect and Disease Control
Be prepared for yellowjacket season. In late summer their numbers build
and they are attracted to picnic foods - soda, hot dogs, hamburgers and
juices. Yellow jackets are about 1/2 to 3/4 inches long with alternating
black and yellow bands on their abdomens. Yellowjackets can sting
repeatedly. Their nests can hold over 10,000 insects. For control, apply
Sevin dust at or near the nest opening at dusk. Insects will bring Sevin
into the nest as they exit and enter. Outdoors in picnic areas, keep
food covered and garbage cans tightly sealed. Control is only necessary
when the yellow jackets are in people frequented areas.
For more info
Check for carpenter ants.Carpenter ants are found in old trees or trees
with hollows or old wounds. Carpenter ants build nests in the moist,
decaying wood inside the tree. Carpenter ants do not attack the living
tissues in the tree. Just because a tree has ants, removal is not
required. Carpenter ants will not move from a tree into a house unless
there is moist , decaying wood in the house.
Check for red spider mite damage which occurs more often during hot and
dry weather. Plant leaves become speckled, as though covered with
hundreds or thousands of pale yellow dots giving a rather ill-looking
and "dusty" appearance. Heavily infested plants may become covered with
fine webs. The red spider mites themselves are eight legged animals less
than 1mm long and can be difficult to see. For more info
If you have problems with bagworms, the only effective way of getting
rid of them by now and by hand picking the cocoons and destroying them.
Chipmunks can be pests, it's true. You could try one of the commercially
formulated rodent repellent sprays, or a home made one based on garlic.
Spray the mixture on the plants and soil and reapply periodically. You
could also try placing wire mesh such as chicken wire, hardware cloth,
or screening on the soil surface in between the plants to make it more
difficult for the critters to dig.
Skunks, raccoons and other animals are attracted to grubs and may tear
up lawns in search of them. Cayenne pepper and rags soaked in ammonia
can be placed in the affected area. Another option is to mix eight
ounces of dish soap, a handful of chewing tobacco and water in a lawn
sprayer and spray on the affected grass area.
For more info
Change the water in your bird bath regularly, and keep it filled.
Standing water is less healthy for the birds, and may become a breeding
ground for mosquito larvae.The best way to keep mosquito numbers down
and reduce the risk of West Nile disease is to clean up any areas where
mosquitoes can breed. Mosquitoes need water, especially stagnant or
still water that's rich in organic matter for mosquito larvae to feed
Butterflies are easy to please. They like to sunbathe, so a large flat
rock exposed to the sun is a must. They also need mud baths, so set up
"butterfly puddles" where they can get required salts and minerals. A
dish of cut-up, overripe fruit always hits the spot, and paste
Hummingbirds are migrating through gardens now. Hummingbirds, for
example, are attracted to red flowers, such as bee balm, although you
also may wish to fill a hummingbird feeder with a sugar-water mixture.
The food is available commercially, or you can make your own. Use only
pure, white sugar and not honey, however, as the latter is lethal to
these tiny birds
Monthly Garden Tips are sent out by Al Krismer Plant Farm during the year.
Look for the Tips and the expanded e-news before the 10th of the month.
Quick Links below
The purpose of the website links and other news articles is to provide
information to the reader and in no way implies a particular endorsement
or recommendation of that particular website or any content or material
within the website
Previous monthly tips and e-news archives
Ohio State Fact Sheets
Garden Smart TV Info and Clips