August


 

Prune:
Cut dead palm fronds and remove damaged branches from trees. Trim overgrown climbers. Plectranthus and Chrysantemum can be cut back after flowering.

Fertilize:

  • Fertilise all your shrubs and trees at the end of the month with a good general purpose fertiliser like 2:3:2 and water it in well.
  • Lime-rich soils can cause iron deficiencies, resulting in yellow leaves (chlorosis); which is especially common in plants which prefer a more acid soil, like yesterday-today and tomorrow and gardenia.
  • Plants with yellow leaves can be treated with iron chelate; followed by a dressing of Epsom salts two weeks later.
  • Spraying regularly with a trace element mixture like Trelmix is also beneficial; as well as mulching all your acid loving plants with acid compost.

Lawns:
A beautiful lawn needs regular care throughout the year but especially in spring and summer; so if you want a gorgeous lawn this summer you need to start prepare now.

  • Lawns like Kikuyu should be mowed extremely short and scarified with a hard rake or broom to remove the dead mat (use the rakings to mulch your garden beds or add them to the compost heap).
  • Spike the entire area with a lawn-spike or do it manually using a garden fork, driving it into the soil about every 30cm.
  • Please note that the above procedure only applies to runner-type lawns like Kikuyu, and will damage tuft forming grass varieties like shade lawn and evergreen mixes.
  • Kentucky Blue and subtropical grasses like Berea, which is also called LM or Durban grass can be spiked and dressed but should not be cut too short.
  • Dressing runner type lawns in early spring with agricultural lime at +-200g per square meter, followed by a feeding with a good organic fertiliser like Blade Runner once all danger of frost is over will help to suppress aggressive weeds because the agricultural lime will improve the uptake of nutrients; making the grass grow so vigorously that most emerging weeds are smothered before they have a chance to establish themselves and set seed.
  • If necessary, top-dress with a good quality weed-free lawn dressing but do not dress with more than 3cm of soil.
  • Use the back of a metal garden rake to spread the lawn dressing over the area; this will even out any hollows.
  • Start feeding your lawn once all danger of frost is over; water thoroughly a day before fertilising and then spread a good organic fertiliser like Blade Runner OR Wonder 7:1;3 over the entire area and water thoroughly again.
  • For a perfect lawn all summer it is essential to feed every 4 to 6 weeks; to mow and water regularly; and to remove weeds as soon as they appear.

 

Flower Beds:
Apply 3:1:5 SR (N) or 8:1:5 for roses and flowers every 4-6 weeks.

Veggie and Herb Gardens:
Apply 2:3:4 every 4-6 weeks, for good roots. If you are planting leafy vegetables like spinach, use a fertiliser high in nitrogen like 7:1:3, every alternate month.

Containers and Indoor Plants:
Feed every 4-6 weeks with a water- soluble fertiliser, or use a specifically formulated food for plants like African violets, orchids and ferns. You can also use a granular fertiliser like 8:1:5 in single specimen containers.

 

General to do List:

August may be a windy month, and can still get miserably cold, but it is also the month when you really start reaping the rewards of your carefully planned winter and spring flower garden; and as the month progresses the displays will just get better and better – banishing even the worst of the winter-blues.

  • Because Augustis known as the windy month, ensure that all your standard plants and young trees are securely staked.
  • There are many different types of tree stakes and ties, and different staking methods are used, depending on the size of the tree.
  • Small trees can be secured to a wooden stake with a soft material like pantyhose or raffia, but larger trees will require very sturdy wooden or steel stakes and stronger ties.
  • When securing your ties, ensure that they are not too tight, or they will damage the bark.
  • Check the ties regularly during summer to ensure that they have not become too tight, causing damage to the trees.
  • To encourage the formation of new flowers continue to feed your winter and spring flowering annuals, and remove the spent blooms regularly.
  • The more you pick sweet peas and Iceland poppiesthe more they bloom, so pick them often to brighten up your home and office.
  • Try alyssumageratumasters, amaranthus,cosmoscandytuftcelosiacleomebedding dahliasgaillardia,lobelia, lavatera, phlox, marigolds and California poppies.
  • Grouping your seedlings together in the garden according to their watering requirements and mulching.
  • Check all your bulbs, but especially your clivias, agapanthus and amaryllis, for early signs of lily borer.
  • Tell-tale signs are clusters of tiny eggs underneath the leaves.
  • Later the voracious zebra-striped caterpillars appear and start eating the leaves, working their way right down to the heart of bulbs themselves.
  • Spray regularly with garden Ripcord insecticide.