Garden Tips for August
- Start fall vegetable garden: sow lettuce, broccoli, carrots, beets, peas, and garlic. Keep soil moist until seeds germinate.
- Continue to mulch plants to control weeds and conserve moisture.
- Cut off spent flowers for continued bloom of perennials and annuals. However, minimizing deadheading now will allow seed-bearing plants to form seeds and attract birds.
- Fertilize begonias, annuals, and container plants.
- Fertilize chrysanthemums until the buds start to open.
- Pull up spent summer vegetables and toss them into the compost bin unless they look diseased. Diseased plants should be put in the green-waste bin.
- Dig and divide overcrowded irises when the foliage dies off.
- Deep-water landscape trees during heat waves. Pay special attention to young trees with more limited root zones that dry out more quickly.
Pest and disease control
- Check tomatoes for fusarium wilt, evidenced by leaves that are yellowing or wilting after watering. Toss infected plants into the green-waste bin. To avoid this soil-borne fungal disease next year, select disease-resistant tomato varieties (marked with an F on their plant tag) and don’t plant tomatoes in the same spot next year.
- Finish pruning apricots now to avoid Eutypa fungus. Protect limbs from sunburn by not over-pruning. Avoid pruning during the rainy season.
- Address fire blight: Any apple or pear tree branches that exhibit symptoms of blight missed earlier should be removed one foot below visible disease. Be sure to clean tools with a 10% bleach solution between cuts.