Garden and Gardener's tips of the month - August.

August is usually one of the hottest months of the year - making watering even more essential. As water butts may be running low, try to use ‘grey water’ wherever possible. Don’t forget to enlist the help of friends and family to look after the garden if your planning a summer holiday. Keep ponds and water features topped up.

Deadhead flowering plants regularly to lengthen their flowering cycle but don't cut off the flower-heads of ornamental grasses. These will provide a valuable winter interest. Deadheading plants such as roses, penstemon and dahlia, should prolong their display and colour well into early autumn. Remove tired leaves and encourage a new flush of growth in plants such as hardy geraniums. Cutting back the foliage and stems of herbaceous plants that have already died back (e.g. Dicentra) should become one of this month’s priorities and don’t forget that wisteria. Trim back those ‘way-ward’ shoots. Prune climbing and rambling roses that do not produce attractive hips or repeat flower once the flowers have finished.

Most perennial weeds will grow especially well when other plants are struggling during a hot August. They are best dealt with when in active growth by applying a weedkiller containing glyphosate. Remember not to spray when the conditions are unsuitable, avoid wind-drift.

Feed the soil with green manures but stop using high nitrogen content lawn applications and weedkillers on lawns as they are more effective in the cooler, wetter months. Also, raise the blades on the mower before cutting fine lawns as this will help reduce drought stress. However, summer meadows may need mowing now if they have past their season of interest. Feeding containers and tired border perennials with a liquid tomato food each week will encourage them to bloom into the early autumn.

Planing for next season is a must this month. Buy or order spring-flowering bulbs. Collect and store seed of hardy annuals and perennials for sowing later in the autumn. Good plants to try include Calendula, Nigella, Cerinthe, Papaver, Aquilegia and hardy Geranium. Finally take advantage of the dry weather to apply preservative to fences, sheds and other wooden features.

Clean up patios and hard surfaces to get rid of moss and algae. Doing this job now will prevent them becoming slippery during the winter.

Kevin. Acer Garden Services.

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Garden & Gardeners
Tips August

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