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AUGUST GARDENING AND LANDSCAPING CALENDAR
It is hard to get excited about gardening or landscaping tasks this time of the year, but it is time to put on a hat and suntan lotion to protect you from the hot sun and get busy!
If you want tomatoes this fall, the transplants must be put in the garden early this month. Find the Heat Wave variety if you can and supplement it with at least one of the following selections: Celebrity, 444, Jackpot, Carnival, Bingo, or Whirlaway. Tomatoes need full sun to produce well. Mulch over the roots, place the plants in a tomato cage, and use drip irrigation for the most success. Later this fall you can plant green beans and the cool weather crops like carrots and broccoli. Prepare the garden by tilling in compost.
Did you enjoy the wildflowers last spring? Bluebonnets did well early in the spring but were overcome by the grassy weeds. The taller flowers such as poppies, larkspur, and coreopsis did great. Obtain and spread the seed in August so it will be ready to sprout when the fall rains begin. Your favorite nursery has wildflower seed or visit local seed producer Douglas King Seed Company on their website at www.dkseeds.com. They can also be contacted by phone locally at (210) 661-4191 or toll free at 1-888-DK-SEEDS. You can also try Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg. You can visit their showroom or their website at www.wildseedfarms.com. You can also contact them by phone toll free at 800-848-0078. The key to successful wildflowers is to pick the right site for plantings. Most wildflowers require full sun and the seed must make contact with the soil. Do not plant them in sod or mulched areas. The best site is a hot piece of ground that dries out enough in the fall that there is bare ground showing. A little rock is no problem either.
If you did not prune your roses lightly in late July, do it early in the month. Apply one cup of slow release lawn fertilizer to every plant and restart your spray program to control black spot fungus and insects. Funginex and orthene work well or try sulfur, neem oil, and pyrethrins if you prefer an organic control program. The roses will need water each week and do best when well mulched. The fall bloom period is often better than the spring blooms here in South Texas.
Winter weeds in the lawn were terrible last year. Late August is the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide like Amaze or XL to control them. Water the lawn based on the SIP recommendations provided by the Texas Cooperative Extension and SAWS. It is not too late in the season to sign up for your personalized email or phone message every week on your watering day. Sign up on the SAWS website at www.saws.org.
August is the last month when Bermuda or buffalo grass seeding is recommended. It will germinate in September if it stays warm, but you do not have much time to develop a root system. Sod has fewer limitations.
August is a key month for fruit trees. If the trees dry out, there may not be a good bloom next spring and more split fruit on peaches will occur. Provide one deep watering every two weeks if it does not rain. Your pecan nuts will also benefit if you can provide them one or two waterings this months. The larger paper shell varieties are especially prone to not fill out if it is dry all month.
The seed and insect eating birds are in good shape this year because of the spring and summer rains. Seeds and insects are in good supply. A water source is important, however. A birdbath rinsed and filled daily or every two days will bring them into your yard for easy viewing. The firebush, vinca, pentas, salvias, and lantanas should be blooming now to provide nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. Add a sugar water feeder with four parts water and one part sugar by volume to the patio to attract the hummingbirds. They are fascinating to observe for young and old.