August Gardening Checklist
- Begin stocking up gardening supplies before they are removed for the season from retailers' shelves. Preen Garden Weed Preventer, pots, potting mixes and fertilizers and other products may be harder to find later in the season.
- Going on vacation? Hire someone to water or rig up a timer and sprinkler (or drip-irrigation system) for while you’re away. In-ground plants usually can tolerate a week without water, but your baskets and pots can die with just a few days without water in summer.
- If any patches of annual flowers have petered out in the heat or been eaten by bugs or animals, hide the bare spot by moving a flower pot over the space. This also works in spots where you’ve got plants that go dormant in summer, such as bleeding hearts, Virginia bluebells and spring bulbs.
- Keep newly established shrubs, trees, perennials, ground covers and grass well watered during dry spells. New plants should receive an inch of water every seven to 10 days.
- Don't fertilize woody plants now. It stimulates green growth that will not have time to harden off before winter.
- Scout for pest problems and treat as needed. August is prime time for bagworms on evergreens, budworms on annual flowers, a second generation of scale on euonymus, webworms on fruit trees, spider mites on spruce and other evergreens, scale on magnolia, and lace bugs on azaleas and pieris.
- Pull any straggler weeds that pop up in beds and lawns, and reapply Preen Garden Weed Preventer to ensure a weed-free autumn.
- Now’s the time to do one last shearing of the evergreen hedges. Growth will be tapering off soon, and they probably won’t need attention again until next spring. Don’t prune them in fall so you don’t risk encouraging new tip growth that’s susceptible to browning when the temperatures dip below freezing.
- Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting. Store in cool, dry place. Plant in late fall and early winter.
- Sow seeds for biennials, such as hollyhocks or foxgloves, or transplant seedlings for blooms next year.
- Complete fall vegetable planting by directly sowing seeds of carrots, beets, kohlrabi, kale and snap beans early this month. Lettuce, spinach and green onions can be planted later in August and early September. Thin seedlings as required.
- Pick beans, tomatoes, peppers and squash often to encourage more production.