Garden tips for August
ESSENTIAL JOBS CHECKLIST FOR AUGUST
- Take cuttings of shrubby herbs and tender perennials
- Water all containers every day and feed regularly
- Trim hedges
- Treat vine weevil with biological control
- Pinch out tomato sideshoots
- Prune raspberries and gooseberries
- Mow the lawn before going on holiday
TOPICAL TIPS FOR AUGUST
- Take cuttings of tender perennial, such as verbenas, argyranthemums, fuchsias, salvias and pelargonium ’ s. Dip the cuttings into a hormone rooting compound before inserting them into small pots of half and half peat and perlite or peat and silver sand. Water in well and keep the cuttings in a cold frame or even on warm windowsill out of direct sunlight. They should root within eight weeks and can then be potted up in Multi-Purpose compost and overwintered in a heated greenhouse or on a bedroom windowsill
- Trim lavender bushes once the flowers are past their best. If you like to attract wildlife to your garden you may prefer to leave the seed heads as goldcrest adore the seeds and may visit in early autumn
- If you have camellias, azaleas or rhododendrons water them well in dry weather otherwise the flower buds for next year may not develop properly. To boost growth feed them with Scotts Liquid Ericaceous Feed. If you have lime in your soil you may find that the foliage of these particular plants is turning yellow. The lime in the soil stops the plants taking up trace elements, particularly iron. You can alleviate the condition by applying sulphate of iron. In severe cases it is probably better to grow lime-hating plants in containers using Westland Ericaceous composts.
- Late-flowering bulbs such as nerines, agapanthus, schistylis and sternbergia will appreciate watering at this time of year. .The reason is that all these plants come from parts of the world with summer rains. If they go dry they may not flower well
- This is the month to plant the lovely, but temperamental madonna lily. It prefers limy soil and should be planted not more than 5 cm (2 inches) deep
- Pests and disease are often a problem in the summer months when trying to avoid using chemicals, placing broken egg shells around plants will help prevent damage from slugs and snails.
- Placing jam pots at ground level with beer will also attract slugs and snails to a slow but merry death.
- Stop feeding roses now. Feeding will encourage soft growth that won’t have a chance to ripen before the winter. It will then be prone to diseases.
- Rambler roses that have finished flowering can be pruned now. Cut the long old stems that flowered this year, but leave non-flowering shoots as these should bloom next year
In the Greenhouse
- Vine weevil has become a common pest in greenhouses and containers in recent years. The adult weevil is dull dark grey in colour, slightly mottled. It comes out at night and chomps away at the margins of leaves. But it is the larvae that cause the real damage by burrowing down into the compost and devouring the roots of plants. By the time the gardener spots that the plant is not flourishing it may well be too late. If you see wilting leaves remove the plant from its pot and have a look. The grubs are about 1 cm (1/2 inch) long, curved and creamy white in colour with brown heads. They should be destroyed on sight. Biological control by nematodes is now available and should be used this month. Follow the instructions carefully.
- Continue to mist plants and check shading
- Continue to feed tomato plants each weeks with Liquid Tomato Feed
- Before you go on holiday try and arrange for a friend or neighbour to come round and water your containers. If they can’t come every day, take steps to cut down on watering requirements by moving all containers and hanging baskets out of the sun as far as possible. Clay pots can be stood on trays filled with wet gravel. If you have a very elaborate summer display with window-boxes and hanging baskets, you should consider installing an automatic watering system controlled by a timer.
- Pick courgettes regularly while they are small
- Pinch out the tips of the climbing shoots of runner beans once they reach the tip of their supports
- Sow lettuce, winter spinach, spring cabbage and Chinese cabbage out of doors
- Continue to take cuttings of woody herbs including hyssop, lavender, rosemary, curry plant, rue and sage. Dip the cuttings into hormone rooting compound before inserting them into small pots of equal parts peat and silver sand or peat and perlite.
- It’s a good time of year to divide congested clumps of chives. Dig them up and divide in small clumps of about five or six bulbs. Replant with a handful of multi purpose compost.
- Fruit Garden
- Plant rooted strawberry runners now to ensure a good crop next year. If you leave this much later the crop will be severely reduced
- Continue to prune raspberries and tie in new shoots
- Prune gooseberries, shortening the main stems and side shoots to five leaves