Between the heat of the last few days of summer, and winter looming around the corner, August is a critical month for your plants. In fact, it’s not too early to start preparing your plants for winter. Here are some tips to keep your plants healthy throughout the month of August.
-Finish any touch up pruning at the beginning of august then stop pruning to avoid causing late season growth. (See Pruning 101 - When to Prune Your Plants for more details on your specific plants)
-Do NOT Fertilize now. Fertilizing at this time of year will cause late season growth, resulting in the plants not hardening off/going dormant. Come the first frost this can be extremely damaging to your plants health.
-Replenish or replace mulch – mulch helps the soil retain moisture as well as keep the soil cooler which is especially important when its warm outside. Additionally keeping the soil moist will help prevent weeds from popping up.
-Keep plants well watered through the hot days of august especially keeping an eye on new plantings. The best time to water is the first thing in the morning. It is best to water when the top 6-8inches of soil begin to dry. Established plantings should be mostly self-sufficient and will pull water from deep in the ground, and will no longer needing your constant watering assistance aside from a case of an extended drought.
Late August-Early Fall:
-Inspect your plants for disease or infestations. Remove any infected leaves or branches to reduce the problem for next year. Also make notes and keep track on when pest problems occur throughout the year, so you can better prepare and prevent them in the future.
-Get your soil analyzed in the fall to determine your fertilizing and mulch plan for the following year.
-As the temperature begins to drop, the frequency that you need to water will be reduced. You will want to continue watering until the ground freezes.
-Continue to weed your yard. Weeds can come with unwanted diseases and pests, as well as taking soil nutrients from your plants.