Garden tips for August
August usually brings plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy the garden, but there are still jobs to be done to keep it looking good!
LOOKING AFTER YOUR LAWN
Raise the blades on the mower before cutting fine lawns. This will help reduce drought stress.
Avoid using lawn weed killers in late summer – they will be more effective in the cooler, damper autumn weather.
Browning of the lawn is common at this time of year. It will green up when the autumn rains arrive.
Prepare sites for new lawns; leave for a few weeks, the area should be level, free from large stones and weeds before seeding or laying turf in the autumn.
IN THE FRUIT GARDEN
Harvest plums, damsons, early apples and pears, blackberries and raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, currants, figs and early grapes.
Keep well watered during dry spells and weeds under control by hoeing.
Cut down summer fruited raspberry canes tying in new canes to supports and removing any spare ones.
If necessary, prune plums, gages and damsons immediately after harvest.
IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
Harvest onions, garlic, shallots, courgettes, cucumbers tomatoes, potatoes, sweetcorn, french and runner beans.
Weeds compete with vegetables for water, and act as hosts for pests and diseases, hoe regularly to remove them.
Marrows should be raised off the ground slightly, to prevent them discolouring.
IN THE GREENHOUSE
Damp down greenhouses on hot days to maintain humidity levels. Use shading if necessary.
Clean up fallen leaves and spilt compost from benches and floors to prevent pests and diseases spreading.
Cut back the foliage and stems of herbaceous plants that have already died back.
Keep deadheading, watering and feeding hanging baskets to help them last until autumn.
Deadhead shrubs and plants such as Dahlia, roses and Penstemon and to prolong colour well into early autumn.
Leave flower heads or ornamental grasses un-pruned for autumn and winter interest.
Hardy geraniums can be cut back a little to remove tired leaves and encourage a new flush of growth.
Trim lavender once flowering is over to maintain a compact, bushy shape.
Prune rambling roses, removing up to a third of stems that have flowered, and tie the rest to supports
Keep early-flowering shrubs such as Camellia and Rhododendron well watered during dry periods whilst the flower buds are forming.
Towards the end of August sow hardy annuals such as Calendula, Flax, Nigella and Poppy directly into borders. They will overwinter and flower next summer.
WILDLIFE & PONDS
Remove faded flowers and damaged leaves from aquatic and marginal plants.
Top up water where necessary in ponds and water features. Aerate the water in hot weather by leaving fountains on overnight.
Continue to remove blanket weed and duckweed using a net or rake.
Allow some flowering and vegetable plants to run to seed to provide food for birds and other wildlife.
Top up birdbaths regularly to ensure there is always a fresh supply of water.