As the end of summer draws near, seasonal changes require do-it-yourselfers to adjust their gardening to-dos, to keep up with their harvests, maintain their full, lush flower beds and simply enjoy their favorite growing time of the year! As with any circle of life, the care of plants shifts slightly to keep them happy and healthy. With that in mind, consider the following end-of-summer to-dos this August:
- Water deeply and well, rather than shallow and often. Light daily sprinkles of water draw a plant’s roots closer to the surface, making them more vulnerable to disease. This is especially true of tomato plants. Watering early in the day allows plants to absorb moisture before the hot sun dries the soil and ensures that the foliage dries before nightfall, which protects them from fungus. Check water needs of hanging baskets once or twice daily.
- Change the water in bird baths or water features more regularly, so the stagnate water does not become a breeding ground for mosquito larvae and other insects.
- Prune summer blooming shrubs for shape, after they have finished flowering.
- Plant new evergreen trees and shrubs, so they can have several months to grow new roots, watering every week until the ground is frozen.
- Now is also the time to plant late flowering plants and shrubs such as Rose of Sharon, Hydrangea, Butterfly Bush and shrub roses, as well as ornamental grasses such as Japanese Maiden Grass, Fountain Grass or Switch Grasses.
- Go easy with fertilizing roses now — studies have shown that keeping your roses a little “hungry” helps them over-winter better.
- Continue to deadhead flowers on annuals and perennials so they continue to bloom longer into the season. Apply fertilizer to annuals once every two weeks for continued flower production. If perennials need to be rejuvenated, cut them back, give them some fertilizer and enough water, and watch them re-bloom. However, let some of the flowers go to seed now, to reseed for next year.
- Cut back and divide rhizomes by lifting the entire clump with a rake or spade and discarding the oldest, bloomed-out middle sections, then replant.
- Sprinkle spring-flowering perennial seeds such as forget-me-nots around your garden for an attractive under planting for bulbs such as tulips in the spring.
- Make note of blank spots in your garden, then buy late summer bloomers and plant them to add color, making sure they get the water they’ll need during the hot, dry weather to become well-established.
- Plant fall and winter vegetables, including green onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, radishes and winter cauliflower. Toss overgrown or rotting produce on the compost heap, and remove infected plant matter to prevent attracting diseases and pests.
- Harvest herbs and dry them in a cool, airy and shady place, or freeze.
- Prune and fertilize Halloween pumpkins for big results. Start by taking off all but one or two pumpkins from the vine.
- Mow your lawn more often to defend against weeds. Grass also goes dormant this time of the season, so water brown lawn regularly and deeply.
Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next gardening project. From landscaping tools to fertilizers tree spades, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.