August Yard and Garden Tips

Watch out for:

Lawns

  • Lawn diseases - continue watching for problems with brown patch and dollar spot in warm season grasses, especially if you had problems with one of them last year.  See Brown Patch Disease of Lawns and Leaf Diseases of Lawns for more information.
  • Chinch bugs - watch for chinch bugs in your warm season lawn.  See Chinch Bugs for more information.
  • White grubs - the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis does a nice job on them, but it does take a little time to build up in the soil.  See White Grub Management in Turfgrass for more information.
  • Mole crickets - inspect warm season lawns for mole crickets this month.  Eliminating these critters requires diligent work in June, July, and early August.  See Mole Cricket Management for the Home Lawn for more information.
  • Spittle bugs - watch for spittlebugs in warm season lawns and on hollies.  See Two-Lined Spittlebug for more information.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Bag worms - bag worms can kill a tree if it is heavily infested.  Inspect your trees periodically - bagworms seem to like juniper, arborvitae, and pines, but they are will attack many broadleaf shrubs and trees such as rose, sycamore, maple, elm, and black locust..  Hand-picking light infestations works well; applying  the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis will also take care of the problem.  See Bagworms for more information.
  • Oakworms - these pesky little critters will strip the leaves from a 5 foot tall oak tree in two to three days.  Spraying carbaryl (Sevin, etc.) will take care of them quickly.  (you cannot effectively treat a large tree, but if you see them on lower branches and can safely spray them that will certainly not hurt).  Observe all label precautions on mixing and use.  Do not use dusts due to the problem with application - a spray made using the liquid form of the product will work fine.  See Oak Diseases and Pests for more information.
  • Webworms - fall webworms should be appearing in pecan trees in mid- to late-August.  Controlling the bottom 1/3 of the tree will be quite effective, even though we cannot reach the upper areas.  Carbaryl (Sevin, etc.) is a good product for this.  Observe all label precautions on mixing and use.  Do not use dusts due to the problem with application - a spray made using the liquid form of the product will work fine.  See Web-spinning Caterpillars for more information.

Vegetables

  • Garden insects - keep an eye out for cucumber beetle, and squash vine borer in the garden.  See Cucumber, Squash, Melon & Other Cucurbit Insect Pests for more information.
  • Blossom end rot - check your tomatoes for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to from.  This is usually an indication of a calcium deficiency.  Place a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to prevent this.  Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray will also help alleviate the problem.  Nothing will "heal the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them.  See Tomato for more information.

Things to do:

Fruits

  • Spray fruit trees - continue spraying your fruit trees with a fungicide (Captan, etc.) every 7 to 10 days to provide the beautiful fruit you look forward to.  Do not use any insecticides on the trees until less than 10% of the blooms remain - you certainly do not want to hurt your bee pollinators.  The fungicide will have no effect on them.  After the blooms have fallen you may begin to also spray malathion insecticide.

Lawns

  • Lawn Fertilizer - you should apply a complete fertilizer to warm season lawns this month.  See Fertilizing Lawns for more information.
  • Fire ants - if you have not yet broadcast fire ant baits apply your first treatment any time this month.  Be sure to apply fresh bait, and do it at the correct time of day (fire ants only forage actively when the ground temperature is between 70 and 95 degrees F).  See the Fire Ant Management in the Home Lawn and the State Fire Ant website for more information.
  • Aeration - fall is a great time to aerate cool season lawns such as fescue.  Warm-season lawns (centipede, zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine) should be aerated in the spring and summer.  See Aerating Lawns for more information.
  • Irrigation - your irrigation cycle is till going strong.  See the Home and Garden Center's irrigation publications for more information.  One inch per week is the appropriate amount for most lawns and vegetables (except sweet corn and yellow squash, which may require up to two inches depending on growth stage).  Include rainfall in this amount, and see How Much Water to determine how much water you are actually applying.  And make sure that you adjust your water applications with plant growth stage and time of year - one size definitely does not fit all for the entire year.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Pruning - now is another good time to prune most trees and shrubs.  July and August are the months to prune azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud and rhododendron.  They should be pruned after they bloom, but before bloom set in the fall.  Oakleaf hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars might also be considered now.  Avoid any pruning in the spring and fall if at all possible.  See Pruning Trees and Pruning Shrubs for more information.
  • Plan ahead - if you plan to plant some trees or shrubs this year, begin thinking about which plants you would like now, and find retailers that carry those varieties.  You have plenty of time, but you certainly do not want to miss your favorite at the last minute.
  • Pecan Weevils - pecan weevils are those little critters that make holes in your pecans.  Start treating for pecan weevils the first week of August, and continue treating once per week for 6 weeks.  Place 5 ounces of liquid carbaryl (Sevin, etc.) in 10 gallons or more of water and spray the entire area under the tree, from trunk out to dripline.  Repeat this for each tree.  You will need to do this 2 years in a row to get rid of the pesky critters (they have a 2 year lifecycle).  See Pecan Weevil for more information.

Vegetables

  • Garden clean-up - half the tomato disease battle in a vegetable garden is sanitation.  As tomatoes end their production remove them from the garden and take them to a landfill.  Many diseases will over-winter on old infected leaves and stems.  (A good practice for any plants you have had disease problems with this year).
  • Make a note - sketch out where you planted various vegetables in your garden.  This will come in handy next spring when you plant, so you can rotate your crops to help prevent disease.
  • Vegetables - Some planting times for more common vegetables (See Planning a Garden for a full list and planting depths and spacings):
    • Collards - Jul. 1 - Aug. 30
    • Snap beans - Aug. 1 - 15
    • Half-runners - Aug. 1 - 15
    • Lettuce - Aug. 15 - 25

For more information for August, see This Month in Your Garden's August installment.