Gardening in August

Late crops in the garden like squash and cucumbers need fertilizer, even as you harvest, to keep producing.

Early corn could be showing signs of earworms, treat if you prefer or hand pick. Seldom are all parts of an ear damaged; earworms mostly feast on the silks at the tip of the ear.

Long hot days require attention to watering. Avoid summer stress on new trees with deep watering. The first summer is the most difficult for new trees and shrubs. Good soil and mulch help reduce water needs.

If you plan to install a lawn in September, this is a good month to get started with soil preparation and irrigation. Perfect germination weather is often too wet to grade and till.

In the garden, this is prime harvest time. Pick ripe fruits and vegetables to encourage more production. Fertilize producing crops, but avoid too much on tomatoes.

Seeds can be planted this month for over-wintering crops: turnips, radish, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and onions.

Moderate pruning of trees, including new growth on fruit trees, will lessen the winter chores. Pruning now reduces the total height without stimulating quick re-growth as often happens in the spring. Also, pruning wounds heal much faster in warm weather. This is especially true of junipers, which should never be pruned during wet weather.

Trees and shrubs new this year to the landscape should be watered deeply. Often new plants fail among old plants because the increased need is not observed until too late.

Start planning for fall planting. August is a great month to find bargain plants at nurseries and garden centers. Containerized plants are safe if their water needs are met. Place in the shade and water well 3 or 4 times a week.


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