August Gardening Tips
Keeping gardens and containers watered this time of year becomes a daily challenge. Watering early in the day or in late evening will help the water soak into the soil instead of evaporating. Do not water between the hours of 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.
Continue to monitor automated sprinkler systems ensuring they are spraying in the right direction and haven’t gotten clogged. As plants grow taller, they can block the water keeping it from spraying out. Trim theses plants or add a temporary sprinkler extension. When temperatures cool, consider moving these taller plants away from spray heads.
Many perennials and some annuals will now be finished blooming and are now producing seeds. Many perennials will rebloom if the old flowers and developing seeds are removed, a process called dead heading. The old or spent blossoms should be cut off where the flower stem connects to the leaves usually several inches down in the plant. Since dead-heading also removes unsightly, dry flower heads it also improves the appearance of your garden.
Annual geraniums (Pelargonium) in particular need to be deadheaded at this time. They can be removed by following the stalk from the old flowers down to where it joins the stem and breaking it off at this point. They easily snap off by hand.
Letting your lawn grow a little taller to 3-4” will help shade the roots and cool the soil. This helps to keep it greener and healthier reducing water need and stress. Raise your mower deck to mow at that height.
Incorrectly called morning glory, field bind weed is a very pernicious weed. Morning glory is a beautiful annual vine that opens up in the evenings. Field bind weed is a perennial that peaks this time of year. It will begin to spread even more dramatically and flower profusely. This is when it is most susceptible to chemical applications from the organic vinegars and lemon juice products to glyphosate and brush removers. All of these act on photosynthesis not in the soil and must be applied to leaves and stems to work. Spraying, waiting a week, and then pulling as much as you can by hand before it completely intertwines with your other plants is imperative. When field bindweed is in lawn areas a broadleaf or dandelion killer will need to be used.
Take a leisurely stroll through your garden looking for areas that need more color. Visit Red Butte Garden and local nurseries to learn more about plants that bloom late in the season. Many reliable perennials like Whirling Butterflies, Coneflowers, hibiscus, and bluebeard begin blossoming now and continue until fall.
Soil tests can provide a lot of answers and guidance in helping you choose plants, fertilizers, and how long to water. The results provide particle size information helping you learn about your drainage and water holding levels. Current nutritional levels and recommendations are also included. For a small fee our local extension service offers this service through out the state. (Utah State Extension Service)