Donna’s Garden Tips for August
Treat bothersome yellow jacket nests at dusk if possible. These bad-tempered insects return to the nest in the evening so a more complete kill will take place. Spray with a generic wasp and hornet spray taking care to stand well clear of the nest. Occasionally a second application will be needed.
If you are planning to sow your lawn this fall, kill any weeds that are present at this time. Most herbicides require a waiting period before new seeds can be planted. Read the directions on you weed killer before spraying. Be sure and make note of the temperature guidelines. The effectiveness of most herbicides is determined by the temperature.
If your blueberry bushes are too tall for convenient harvest, now is the time to prune off the tops of your plants. Additional thinning in February can also be beneficial to mature plants.
Fertilize strawberries during August for next year’s harvest. Apply 1 1/2 lbs. of ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row. Brush fertilizer from leaves to prevent burn.
Get fall transplants such as cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts in the ground. Keep them well watered.
Watch for large numbers of yellow ring necked caterpillars on blueberry bushes. Although the numbers can be alarming, the damage is minimal. Spray with liquid Sevin or spinosad or prune out the limbs with caterpillars and plunge them into a bucket of soapy water
For control of grassy weeds in ornamental shrubs and flowers use a product containing Sethoxydim. This product kills grassy weeds such as wire grass but won’t harm most ornamentals. It can be found as Poast, Ornamec Over the Top, Bonide Grass Beater and Fertilome Over the Top. Read the label for list of ornamentals that it can be used with.
Black spot on roses has been pretty bad this summer due to the frequent rain. Keep fallen leaves raked and bagged. This disease can over-winter in leaves that lie on the ground all winter.
Frequent rainfall make regular mowing difficult. But, don’t wait too long to mow. The taller the grass gets, the more difficult the job becomes. When mowing tall grass you have two options: Set the blade high and mow more than once or attach a bagger and bag the tall clippings.
Refrain from working in the garden when foliage is wet. You can inadvertently spread diseases from one plant to the other in the water on your hands and clothing.
Continue to harvest vegetables regularly. This insures continued production of your crops.
Check mature tomato plants frequently for tomato hornworms. They’re difficult to spot but eaten leaves and excrement are pretty obvious. Pick off and kill unless they have been parasitized. Parasitized hornworms are beneficial and quit eating once they have been parasitized.
Continue to water and fertilize squash and cucumbers and they will continue to produce through the fall.
Trim leggy petunias and impatiens and then give them some liquid fertilizer such as Miracle Gro. They’ll look fresh and new in a couple of weeks.
Refrain from mowing grass during dry spells. A little height on the lawn shades grass crowns during very hot and dry periods, preventing sunburn.
Clean up fallen fruit from underneath fruit trees and grapevines. Many diseases and insects overwinter in dropped fruit.