Late Summer Gardening Tasks and Tips

august gardening tips and tasksAs this year’s damp growing season winds down, August is a good time to try and prolong the beauty of late summer’s flowers and begin to prepare for fall. In this post we share some tips and ideas to keep your garden producing right up to the first frost.

Keep the flowers coming

Annuals can still make a good showing in the garden, just continue to remove spent blooms (known as deadheading) if not saving the seeds. Pinch back plants with leggy growth and remove any that are tired and fill in gaps with fast growing bedding plants.

If it will complement your garden scheme, pick out some new plants in vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red to mirror the heat of late summer and help the transition into fall.

Some good varieties of old favorites are:

  • Blanketflower (Gaillardia x grandiflora ‘Dazzler’)
    blanket flower for august planting
  • Sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’)
  • Mum (Chrysanthemum ‘Mary Stoker’)

Prep last year’s holiday plants

Stop pinching chrysanthemum leaf tips so flower buds develop for fall. Dig out last year’s holiday amaryllis bulbs and let them dry out to prepare for this year’s display.

august garden bulb planting

Continue watering

Continue to water hanging pots daily. Pay special attention to watering trees, shrubs and vines planted less than a year ago. These, along with the lawn still need one inch of water per week.

Make sure that flower beds are mulched. Keep the beds weeded and don’t let weeds go to seed. Using a pre-emergent weed control will prevent fall germination, but also other self-sowing plants.

Good plant keeping punch list:

  • Give roses, perennials and shrubs their last dose of fertilizer before they go dormant in colder weather.
  • Stake late blooming perennials like dahlias, hardy asters, gladiolas, and tall lilies. When hollyhocks finish blooming, cut them to the ground. Prune and train any straggling vines.
  • Harvest everlastings like globe amaranth, celosia, statice and straw flowers for dried arrangements and crafts. Harvest and dry herbs for winter use.
  • Take cuttings of impatiens, begonias, coleus and geraniums. They will happily root indoors in some water in bright but indirect sunlight.
  • Keep an eye out for fungus due to the rainy humid weather. Remove all affected leaves and remember pathogens can survive the winter on fallen leaves, and stem and soil surfaces.
  • Start preparing houseplants for the move indoors for the winter. Pinch them back to encourage fullness and a pleasing shape. Gradually move pots to shadier locations so they can adjust to indoor lighting.

August vegetable gardening tasks

USDA Zone 7 weather provides enough growing days for mature vegetables before frost. Buy and plant cool season transplants like beets, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and cabbage for autumn harvest.

august vegetables cabbage

Sow vegetable seeds like cooking greens and salad plants, which can be planted in succession every few days or weeks. And lastly, sit back, relax and review garden catalogs for spring bulb and fall shrub selections!

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