Horticulture Tips for August

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
Consider the following tips for your hot August landscape:
  • Many gardeners have given up on their vegetables gardens by now, tired of fighting the heat and an especially tough early disease season. Consider a fall garden. Dealing with the heat is a challenge the first few weeks, but after that, it usually gets much better. See OSU Fact Sheet #HLA-6009 Fall Gardening for more information.
  • For those vegetable growers that are still at it, keep a close eye on spider mites, especially on tomatoes. Non-commercial growers have very few good chemical control options for spider mites so it’s especially important to scout and take action early. Non-chemical options include a good blast of water on the underside of the affected leaves to wash the pests off or pruning away the affected parts of the plant.
  • August is a good time of the year to divide and replant iris, daylilies, peonies and many other perennials.
  • If you are composting, don’t forget to water the pile occasionally. The decomposition process requires moisture for best results.
  • If you’ve planted new trees in the last year or two, continue to care for them as if they were a new planting. Their root system has not fully developed and late summer is a stressful time as they work to store energy for winter dormancy.
  • If pesky weeds are a problem in your lawn in the early spring, late August marks the first important calendar date to minimize them. Fall pre-emergence products needs to be applied (and activated with irrigation or rainfall) when we get our first cool spell of the fall season. See OSU Fact Sheet # HLA-6420 Lawn Management in Oklahoma.
  • August is also the month to begin preparing for seeding/reseeding tall fescue. This cool-season turfgrass does best when planted in September or early October so start now if you need to get rid of existing weeds in preparation. An important note concerning preparations for planting tall fescue: avoid aggressive tillage in and around important trees. This is unnecessary for the turfgrass (an aggressive raking or very light tillage will do) while very hard on the tree’s root system.

For more information of this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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