August has finally arrived, and with it comes some very unpredictable weather; sunshine? Rain? Snow? Your guess is as good as ours. Nonetheless, your garden should still be blooming, and full of plenty of life and colour this month!
This means that you can continue to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour for a little while longer, though you’ll still need to be carrying out general maintenance, such as regularly watering your plants and weeding your borders. As it’s humid, you should continue to top up your ponds (ideally with water from a water butt), as well as adding liquid to your compost; this can get really dry.
Any fruit you’ve been growing will also be ready, so make sure you pick it and either eat it or jam it!
It’s also important to remember that as we’re nearing the end of summer, autumn will soon make an appearance. To get a head start on your autumn gardening, now is the perfect time to start preparing your lawn for it. In fact, you can even start planning your winter hanging baskets and borders.
Ready to put your gardening gloves on? Neil Gallagher from our grounds maintenance division shares his top tips on what to do in the garden in August…
Prepare the lawn
With the temperatures still being relatively high, you should continue to be mowing your grass at least once or twice a week to ensure a tidy finish. However, as the weather in August can be unpredictable, remember to adjust the blades of the mower a little higher if conditions are very dry and hot; this will reduce drought stress.
If you’re removing your grass clippings after each grass cut, your lawn may seem tired at this time of year. To keep your lawn looking good, apply a balanced summer fertiliser with a high nitrogen content as this will help to green up your lawn and build resistance against pests and disease. In the dry periods, do continue to irrigate your lawn also, and remember that it’s best to irrigate in the morning and evening to avoid moisture evaporation. Just 5 minutes a day can make a huge difference!
Deadhead flowering plants
Last month, we advised cutting back perennials as they’ll be approaching the end of their lifecycle and may have already started to fade; this helps to keep them looking tidy and healthy. Now that we’re in August, you should continue to deadhead your flowering plants to extend their flowering even further.
Plants that benefit from deadheading include bedding plants, such as pansies and petunias, as well as geraniums, roses, bulbs, and shrubs.
To deadhead your plants, simply use your finger and thumb to break the stalk and remove the flower. However, if you’re working with stringy or tougher stems, then you might need to cut the stalk with a knife or a pair of scissors.
Also, don’t forget to start collecting seeds if you plan to start planting next year’s in the green house!
Look out for aphids!
Aphids (also known as greenflies, blackflies, and plant lice), are sap-sucking insects that weaken plants by stunting their growth, and encouraging the growth of black sooty moulds. Most active in the garden in spring and summer, there’s more than 500 aphid species in the UK that affect different plant types.
As well as black sooty moulds, plants affected by aphids may also have curled leaves. Additionally, you may even be able to see the white cast skins of aphids on the surface of the plant’s leaves.
Usually, aphids can be removed from a plants’ leaves by spraying them with a jet of water. If they keep returning, however, you should treat your plants with a chemical insecticide, though you should avoid spraying plants when they’re in flower.
Remove Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed is one of the most invasive plant species in the UK, and it can cause great damage to the structural component of buildings. Because of this, you’re legally required to prevent Japanese Knotweed from spreading from your grounds and into the wild.
With July’s heatwave, Japanese Knotweed has been growing more rapidly than ever, so you’ll need to keep checking for any new stems and removing them. This can be done by treating the foliage/stems with a Glyphosate-based weedkiller, cutting the stems, or digging the Japanese Knotweed out of the ground.
Should you need a quote or advice from PHS Greenleaf, please contact our experienced sales staff.