Fool proof August garden checklist

Paul Ward reviews our August garden checklist and provides a nudge on the jobs we ignored last month.
garden maintenance - August garden checklist
Mow little and often throughout August.

Feed the bedding plants, trim the hedges and sow the winter flowering pansies and violas. This is a busy month with plenty of things to do. Use our August garden checklist to keep on top of the jobs that need to be done.

  • Keep dead-heading all flowering plants. If you leave them, they start to put all of their energy into seed production and the flowers come to a halt. What starts off early in the season as a
    pleasant novelty becomes a chore at this time of year, but it’s the only way to keep the flowers coming.
  • Prop heavily laden branches of fruit trees, particularly plums, to support the weight and prevent damage. Make a note, mental or written as to which tree/s and branch/es need to be pruned to help the problem. Apple trees in particular can grow their branches   further and further from the trunk with apples only produced at the ends. 
  • Feed bedding plants in the ground or in containers, and the same for crops such as  tomatoes in grow-bags, use a soluble fertiliser as these get to the plant quickest. Once a week at least now especially in containers as most composts contain only a little nutrient and this will now be virtually used up. I noticed my Surfinia Petunias getting a  few pale and yellowish blotched leaves recently meaning I need to increase the dose.
  • Set the mower a little higher than normal if it has been dry and warm where you are. Though this year has been  blessed with lots of rain so far and lawns in general are still looking very green, we can’t assume this will continue. Best to mow little and often.
  • An effective way to reduce a whitefly infestation is by vacuuming. Portable car vacuums are reckoned to be ideal way of doing this, the domestic vacuum may just eat all of your tomato plants at the same time if you’re not careful.
  • If any perennials are particularly badly affected by pests, cutting them back to the ground can be an effective way of revitalizing them. I cut my Delphiniums back last week for instance as the recent warm and generally dry weather meant that they were suffering
    from red spider mite, not normally a problem at all in my garden. I’ve also sown some Delphinium seed in case they don’t all recover.
  • Trim hedges, particularly conifers. Shape any topiary you might have. Use a string line to get edges straight. 
  • Start to plan spring flowering bulbs for next year. Spring flowering bulbs and shrubs

Still to do from July’s list!

  • Sow seeds of winter flowering pansies and violas. These are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed and if started off now will be good strong plants by the autumn and so able to flower throughout the winter period finishing off with a final flourish in the spring. Pansies are strictly speaking perennials and can be kept going, but they are never again as good as they were in the first year, so are best discarded and replaced. One of the main reasons I grow from seed rather than buying them as plants (as well as the satisfaction of growing from seed) is that you can get a bed or group of all your favourite shades and colours.
  • A good time to take cuttings of shrubs. Cut a piece of new stem about 6 inches long and remove all flower buds and all but the end 3 or 4 leaves. Place several of these around the rim of a small plant pot filled with a mixture of sand and compost. Water and place in a shaded place, don’t allow to dry out. Check the bottom of the pot after a month or so and pot up individual cuttings when you see roots sticking through the drainage holes. It’s worth trying with almost anything, maybe I shouldn’t say that but even when I read up how to propagate a plant I usually try this method as well anyway as it’s so simple and will work with lots of plants for most people.
  • Keep watering containers regularly. If you don’t need to water them daily, they should  be checked daily as a hot day, particularly if there’s a drying wind can suck all of the water out of a container. When planting up any containers, then always go for the largest you can afford so  they don’t dry out so quickly. Water, feed and dead-head regularly for the best show.
  • Water autumn and spring planted trees and shrubs during hot dry spells.  
  • Look for “suckers” on roses or grafted trees. These are shoots of the wild-type rootstock that the ornamental foliage is grafted onto and will emerge below the graft union which should be fairly obvious as a knobbly irregular region at the bottom of the stem or trunk. If left, then the rootstock being more vigorous (hence its use as rootstock) will take over the ornamental part of the plant.

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Last modified: August 19, 2021

Written by 8:28 am Gardening