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August Garden Tasks

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August Garden Tasks

The veggie garden is exploding, the grapes are starting to color up, and, thankfully, weed and insect pests are slowing down. For August, we have some advice for you on odd-looking leaves, fruit tree care, and getting ready for cool-season vegetables.
Sun Protection
It is very common this time of year for some leaves to start looking a bit worse for wear. If the majority of the leaves look good, and especially if the new leaves look good, the plant is probably just fine. Just to be sure, let our gurus look over a sample or picture of any leaves you have questions about.

Some trees had too much fruit and that may have stressed or broke branches. If you lost some branches, there is risk of sunburn. Replace some of that missing shade by placing last winter's frost cloth in front of the tree. Also consider tree-safe paint. Our tree-safe paint is water-based, pre-mixed and easy to apply
Stone fruit trees do need and will benefit from summer pruning. Summer pruning manages tree size and encourages better, stronger branches for next year’s harvest. Prune off suckers that grow where the trunk and soil meet to keep your tree strong and healthy. There are suckers that grow above the graft line, called water sprouts, and those also need to be pruned away.

While most fruit trees get significant winter (dormant) pruning, apricots and cherries are the exception. Now is the time for their biggest pruning of the year. By pruning now, cherries and apricots avoid certain diseases they could get from winter pruning.

For citrus trees, there is a “sweet spot” for pruning in the spring. Spring is when the risk of freeze has passed, but well before summer heat. For now, only prune suckers and water sprouts and thin heavy set of fruit to keep branches from breaking.
Winter Veggies in August?
Is it really time for cool-season veggies? Yes! August is the month when you get to start the majority of your cool-season veggies from seeds. They need to grow a lot before it gets cold, so now's the time. See our Vegetable Planting Calendar for more information on what you can do now. Our veggie plant starts begin to arrive at our nurseries in early September.

If winter gardening is just not your thing, we hear you. We recommend cover crops like vetch and clover to keep your soil healthy and alive during winter. Cover crops replace much of the nutrition that demanding summer vegetables took from the soil and they will out compete weeds! Let cover crops do the work of getting your soil ready to roll for next spring.

Other Tasks For August

  • Add mulch where needed to maintain a depth of at least three inches.
  • Keep insect pests and diseases down by harvesting regularly and picking up any fruit on the ground.
  • Take pictures and make notes of your summer garden this month to use as a resource when planning next year's garden.
  • Winter veggies can be started this month! Check out our Vegetable Planting Calendar to find the ideal time to plant by seed or starter plant.
  • Review available rebates for water efficiency upgrades in the home and yard at bewatersmart.info.
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