The windy, windy month of August…blows winter out the backdoor and new beginnings, fresh growth and warmer days in the front. So let’s shake those winter blues, get cracking, get planting and get fertilising – spring is right around the corner!
August is an in-between month and the weather is unpredictable. There is still the possibility of a cold spell, so be cautious with removing frost cover from tender plants.
Days are warming up and tend to be very dry and windy. Stake standards, young trees and climbing plants and check and replace old stakes to prevent wind damage.
This is the perfect time to tidy up and cut back dead branches and frost damage on shrubs and climbers. Prune and shape shrubs, climbers and hedges that have finished flowering or will flower after mid-summer on new growth. Wait until the second half of August to prune frost-sensitive plants.
If you haven’t pruned your roses yet, do so during the first week of the month. Fertilise with 3:1:5 or Ludwig’s Vigorosa, mulch well and water thoroughly.
Divide perennials like Agapanthus, Hemerocallis and ornamental grasses if you didn’t do so in autumn. Cut back leaves and replant in freshly composted soil. Fertilise with an organic 5:1:5 or 2:3:2 and water well.
The watering needs of plants will increase. Mulch, mulch, mulch with bark chips, nut shells, peach pips, leaves or a good ground cover; anything that will keep moisture in without damaging the soil. Adjust irrigation systems according to plants’ new needs.
In late August give your lawn a ‘spring cleaning’ to ensure a healthy summer lawn. Click |HERE| to read about Spring Lawns.
Remove weeds as soon as the little pests appear. Apply a thick layer of compost on all beds. It will help to suppress weed growth, provide the nutrition needed for strong and healthy growth and also serve as mulch.
Winter annuals will be in full bloom now. Feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser of your choice and pick out all dead flower heads to ensure that their colours brighten up the garden for as long as possible. Remove spent plants and fill gaps with new seedlings or colour bags.
Apply an organic 2:3:2 fertiliser and vermicast according to the recommended dosage to all beds, new plantings and pruned plants to promote strong new growth.
Summer flowering bulbs should hit the shelves at the end of August. Grab your favourites as soon as you can and plant them for a spectacular summer show. Feed spring flowering bulbs and bulbs that have completed their flowering with bulb food or an organic 3:1:5 fertiliser to ensure a successful season next year. Don’t remove the leaves on bulbs that have finished flowering, as they need these to produce food for the developing bulb. For more on correctly fertilising plants, click |HERE|
Acid-loving plants that are showing signs of chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) should be given an application of Iron Chelate according to instructions. After a fortnight, give a them dose of Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salts) and apply a foliar feed of your choice. Mulch with acid compost or Eucalyptus bark.
Re-pot indoor plants or fill up with fresh potting soil. Increase watering as days get warmer and feed with a liquid fertilizer every 3 weeks. Clean the leaves with a soft, damp cloth.
See our pick of the 12 Trendiest Indoor plants by clicking |HERE|.
Fruit and Veggies
Thoroughly plan and prepare beds and planting for spring and summer veg and herbs. If it’s a new bed, remove all weeds, stones and large clots. Dig in a generous layer of quality organic compost into all beds and allow to rest for a while until you’re ready to plant. Avoid losing the plot (so to speak…) by carefully preparing a planting plan for successive plantings before things get really busy in the veggie patch.
Plant spring herb and vegetable seedlings that are available on the shelves at Lifestyle. Spread an organic snail bait around the young plants to deter snails and slugs.
Sow beetroot, radish, carrots, bush and runner beans and a last batch of peas directly.
Sow green peppers, aubergines, capsicums, lettuce, Swiss chard and tomatoes in seed trays and keep well protected. Transplant when all danger of frost has passed. Learn how to sow seeds |HERE|
Growing your own potatoes is very rewarding. Seed potatoes will be available at Lifestyle towards the end of August. We also stock a very handy and convenient Potato Bag and Potato Pot for growing your spuds.
Fertilise citrus trees now with organic 3:1:5 and a cupful of Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate) spread along the dripline of the trees. Water in well. Spray with a kelp solution to provide trace elements. Start an organic preventative treatment for psylla, if needed.
Feed deciduous fruit trees with an organic 3:1:5 fertiliser and water every 10 days. Apply a layer of mulch around all trees to help with moisture retention during the dry, windy months. Your trees should start flowering this month.
Cut back autumn fruiting berry bushes and canes and plant new berries as soon as available for harvesting in autumn. This is also a good time to plant new grape vines.
Winter scale can be a problem on fruit trees and berries. A good product to use for this is Biogrow Pyrol or Oleum. Our Plant Doctor section in-store is the best place to find every sort of insecticide, food, fertiliser and fungicide under the sun- be sure to enquire with our knowledgeable staff should you need any assistance at all!
So, a busy busy month, except, of course, for Friday, the 9th of August, when all the ladies will, we hope, relax and simply enjoy their gardens. HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!