August Gardening Tips
12th August 2014
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General tasks and garden maintenance

The most important thing this month is to enjoy your garden; beautiful scents, glorious colours, an abundance of fruits and vegetables and hopefully more sunshine.!!!(if we are lucky ) What could be more enjoyable and satisfying than surveying the results of your hard work throughout the year?


Remember to water and feed your plants regularly, especially those in hanging baskets, pots or containers as well as climbers and roses growing against a sunny wall. Many a plant will not recover from a drought, so water regularly and do not resort to feast and famine. With the strength of the sun at this time of year and a breeze its amazing how quickly containers dry out and any rain unless really heavy doesnt always get into the container so check over daily .

Water hydrangeas with hydrangea colourant for true blue hydrangeas next year.

If possible, set up an automatic watering system for your vegetable plot, borders and even containers. They are worth their weight in gold and can work on a sensor system that detects how dry the soil is. Once you have one you will wonder why you did not install one years ago. Going on holiday will no longer involve wondering if your precious plants will survive a dry spell or paying someone else to hold a hose!

If it stays warm and dry, water saving strategies include using bathwater and washing up water, provided they are neither too dirty or oily.

Keep your pond topped up, free of pond weed and clean - green algae can be toxic to pets.


Boring but vital. Keep on top of weeds in borders, the vegetable garden and all your pots and containers. Little and often will reduce what will become a major task if left to get out of control.

Weeds not only look messy but use valuable moisture in the ground. The best and easiest way to weed is to use a Dutch hoe which will cut the weeds just below the surface. Weeding on a sunny day will ensure weeds left on the surface dry out and die in the warmth.


Trees, shrubs and climbers


Carry on cutting back perennials and deadhead all dying and spent flowers on annuals, roses and shrubs; not only will your garden look much tidier, but the plant will be prevented from putting energy into the seed and may be encouraged to reflower.

When deadheading roses, cut the stem down with sharp secateurs; just breaking off old flowerheads will leave the rose vulnerable to infection. It's too late to spray roses for blackspot now - once established spraying will not help. Pick off infected leaves and burn; do not put them on a compost heap where the spores will spread the disease.


Trim back lavender and rosemary after flowering without cutting too far into the old wood and summer prune wisteria by shortening wispy sideshoots to about 20cm. Soak the soil with a high potash fertiliser if your wisteria didnt flower very well this year.

Collect seed heads

Save seeds from the seed heads of hardy annuals, perennials, bulbs, rock plants, trees and shrubs. Growing plants from seeds you have collected is really rewarding, but you need to be vigilant; seed heads have a nasty habit of ripening and popping whilst your back is turned. Collect when nearly ripe - just as they are turning brown. Snip them off, put them in a paper bag, label and hang somewhere cool, dark and dry.

Take cuttings

Cuttings of perennials and bedding plants will root well at this time of year and quickly become strong enough to overwinter inside.

Train a long flexible shoot to ground level, cut a shallow sloping slit in it, dust the cut surfaces with hormone rooting powder, peg down to hold in place in soil enriched with a little potting compost and wait for it to root.

Trim hedges

Keep hedges neat and under control for both their appearance and good relations with the neighbours!

Kitchen garden

Keep picking! - and make the most of it. Pick vegetables when they are young small and tender  and some plants, such as courgettes, actually respond to harvesting by producing more flowers and fruits right into the autumn.

Remember - keep weeding and watering. Weeds look unsightly and steal essential water from your plants. Tomatoes need regular watering to avoid blossom end rot (dark patches on their bottom ends) and many vegetables will bolt if allowed to dry out. Damp down the greenhouse floor in the morning to create ideal humid growing conditions. Do not damp down in the evening.

Plant - quick maturing crops including lettuces (this is the last month for sowing salads outside), sorrel and rocket. Also plant onion sets and seeds such as Chinese cabbage, spring cabbage, endive (chicory), radish, fennel, turnips and winter spinach.

Harvest - EVERYTHING! Freeze if necessary or swap with others who are short of your crops and long on ones you haven't grown. Harvest onions, shallots and garlic when their necks collapse and turn brown and papery. Leave to dry until the tops rustle like brown paper before storing.

Continue to earth up celery, putting a layer of paper between the stems and the soil and raise marrows off the ground to prevent them rotting. 'Stop' outdoor tomatoes and remove side shoots from outdoor and greenhouse tomatoes as well as the lower leaves to allow light and air to get to the crop. Feed with a high potash fertiliser. If it is hot and humid beware potato blight; spray with a chemical fungicide if the weather looks ominous.


Harvest - blackberriesraspberriesloganberriestayberries, nectarines, apricots, early apples and pears. You can tell when they are ripe if they come off the tree with an easy twist and there are a couple on the ground.

Prune - summer fruiting raspberries, gooseberries, redcurrants, and blackcurrants.

Plant - new strawberry plants and cut off the leaves of existing plants to within 3” of the crown. Burn the leaves and peg healthy looking runners so they root well.


Sow parsley for the winter, cut and freeze dry herbs and pot up chives and mint for the winter. Lift a clump, divide and pot using multi-purpose compost. Cut back old foliage, water well and wait for your winter crop to appear.


Mow regularly but do not bother to feed or water; it is a waste of time and will promote vigorous growth that may not stand up to the rigours of winter. Come autumn, feed with a high phosphate content fertiliser to promote root growth and strengthen the grass for winter.

If it has grown out of control whilst you have been away cut it first with the mower blades on the highest setting and then on progressively lower settings until back to the usual level – this will train the grass to grow leafily again. If you are planning a new lawn, start preparing the area by digging and clearing weeds.



About the Author

John A

Member since: 27th February 2014

After 30 yrs of experience in the Horticultural Industry building two garden centres from green field sites and a wholesale nursery I thought it time for a change.Although this is a complete change of...

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