August Garden to do List

Planting

  • Plant wildflowers and continue planting ornamental annuals.  They will still have time to mature and bloom before the first freeze.
  • Begin planting your fall garden seeds if you are going to transplant.  Many of your coll weather plants can be seeded directly into the soil later in August.
  • Transplant established spring-flowering bulbs such as iris, daylilies, daisies, and peonies.
  • Divide your spring blooming plants now.
  • Continue to overseed turf grasses as needed
  • Warm-season annuals

Fertilize

  • Continue to foliar feed your plants with compost tea or one of the commercially available organic liquid fertilizers.  Don’t forget the potted plants still in your house.
  • Apply organic fertilizer to all of your landscape.  Humus is a good dry alternative to broadcast at a rate of 10lbs per 1000 square feet. 
  • Late in August, top dress your turf with at an inch of good organic compost. Mix in some dry molasses and worm castings for an added boost.
  • In late August, apply corn gluten meal to help control winter weeds such as bluegrass, dandelion, henbit, ryegrass, and others.

Pruning

  • Any dead or misshapen growth.  Pay particular attention to your roses.  If they appear strange, check out Rose Rosette Disease.
  • Dead and damaged wood in trees should be removed carefully.  Don’t flush cut and don’t paint the pruned area.
  • August is a good time to work on your established trees with root flare problems.  Don’t prune more than 20% of the surface roots.

Watering

  • Turf – Water as needed.  Remember that deep, slow infrequent watering is better than short duration watering on a regular basis.  Turf should only be watered when needed, not on a regular schedule.
  • Water potted plants and landscape plants as needed.  As temperatures warm, potted plants need more water.  Bedding plants may need extra attention as temperatures rise and stay high during the night and evenings.  Make sure to check the soil frequently and water only when needed.

Pests and Diseases

  • Aphids – Spray with water to wash the aphids from plants.  A mixture of compost tea and garlic will work even better.  Releasing ladybugs can be a help.
  • Chewing and sucking insects – Spray with Garrett Juice plus garlic-pepper tea.  Plant oil products can be used as needed.  Two ounces of orange oil mixed with one gallon of water is a good choice.
  • If fleas and ticks begin to appear, apply diatomaceous earth in dry weather and beneficial nematodes anytime.  Control chiggers with elemental sulfur at about four pounds per thousand square feet. 
  • Watch for caterpillars and loopers.  Trichogramma wasps can help or spray bacillus thuringiensus (Bt) to help with controlling these.  Remember that you may also be attacking the caterpillars the produce the beautiful butterflies like the monarch and swallowtail so be careful.
  • Webworms in your trees may make an appearance this time of year.  Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) may be helpful if sprayed on the worms.  Spinosad may also be effective, but remember that it is an indiscriminate product.  Keep its use as minimal as possible. 
  • Lacebugs may continue to appear on azaleas or sycamores.  Spray garlic pepper tea or horticultural oil as a control.
  • Mosquitoes, especially with all the rain, will start to appear.  Mist or spray plants with horticultural oil products;  add granulated garlic to potted plants and under bushes where mosquitoes are known to congregate.  Clean up your landscape and remove anything that can hold even a teaspoon of water.
  • IF your trees are showing signs of chlorosis (yellow leaves, dark green veins on the newest growth), See our Organic Tree Maintenance program.  Chlorosis is usually a sign of a nutrient deficiency.  Many recommend treating with iron, but iron may not be the only nutrient that is in short supply.  Use greensand to provide a wider range of trace nutrients.  Remember that it’s healthy soil that makes this nutrient available to the plant, so the goal is to feed the soil, not the plant.

Odd Jobs

  • Mow as needed.  Raise your mower as grass thickens.  Leave the clipping to feed the soil.
  • Turn your compost pile
  • Continue to spot spray weeds with a 10% vinegar and water solution
  • Mulch any bare soil in your landscape
  • Feed and water the birds

DON’T!

  • Till your soil
  • Scalp your yard
  • Spray any synthetic man-made pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer.

Links and Resources

For more information about organic gardening, lifestyles, and living, visit our website at West Texas Organic Gardening.

If you found the information here helpful, you might also find these articles on our website of interest.

Organic Growing Myths

Toss Your Tiller

Mulch

If you have more specific questions or problems, you can contact us using the contact form on our website. You can also post your question to our community forum at this page; West Texas Organic Gardening Community Forum.

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