Last updated on March 22nd, 2022
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August is that wonderful turning point from summer into autumn, and it’s also the time to cut back plants like strawberries, add extra water when possible, and pay particular attention to trimming and lawn care to prepare it for winter.
Jobs for August
- As August is usually the warmest month, keep an eye on watering, especially containers.
- Water rhododendrons and camellias to make sure they’re buds form properly for the following year.
- Continue deadheading summer bedding and free-flowering perennials.
- Deadhead Lillies to make sure they make good plants next year.
- Give your Lavender a trim – learn more about pruning Lavender here
- Watering the lawn is needed and consider raising the height of your lawnmower to keep the grass slightly longer and help retain moisture.
- Trim hedges and shred the clippings and mix in a compost bin.
- Prune back summer flowering shrubs after flowering.
- Harvest vegetables when ready and sow new salad leaves.
- Harvest sweetcorn.
- Prune Wisteria – learn more about pruning Wisteria in this guide.
- Collect seeds from flowering plants to sow the following year.
- Cut down old fruit canes from raspberries.
- Remove runners from strawberry plants and pot up runners to grow new plants.
- Keep weeding to remove the competition for nutrients and water.
- Feed the soil with green manure.
Take care of potted plants
August is the month when you have to pay particular attention to your potted plants. If the weather is sunny at the start of August always give your containers extra water. It isn’t raining much in most areas so they won’t get enough water to reduce your responsibility. Not yet anyway. At least once a day you should thoroughly soak any plants you have in patio containers because they will be well-rooted by now.
Near the end of August, it’s time to add a controlled-release fertiliser to your compost or feed with a liquid fertiliser to give them one last push before winter. As your plants start to run out of steam this regular feeding can help them.
Along the lines of help, you want to continue deadheading any flowers you have. This process will help to remove spent flower heads before they focused on converting them into seeds. Doing so will also free up your plant to send energy into new flowers or prepare for dormancy.
Raise the length your lawn slightly
Keep an eye on your lawn. This is the month when drier weather tends to turn the grass brown very quickly. Even if you have brown spots, it’s not the end of the world. Increase the height of your lawnmower blades so that your grass is allowed to grow a little bit longer. The longer it grows, the more moisture it can store and that will go a long way towards compensating when the weather is dry in August. Additionally, when it rains, or if you add a little extra watering here and there, you might see those brown spots disappear.
Trim your hedges
The middle of summer is when most people start removing the newer growth on hedges, as that’s usually when we’re outside long enough to notice. If you are using a hedge trimmer always start at the bottom of your hedge on either side and trim upwards using smooth and continuous motions. The top of your hedge should be saved for last.
If you want to really expedite this chore, put out a plastic sheet around your hedge before you start clipping, that way you can catch everything without having to rake up the clippings later. More importantly, even if you do rake up the clippings, there are always stray leaves and debris that can leave the hedge area looking a bit untidy. Consider shredding hedge clipping with a shredder and composting them.
If you have strawberries, August is the time to cut back the new runners. Chances are your strawberries have finished fruiting and they are putting most of their energy into spreading runners. You want to take out any weeds in your area, apply some mulch, and remove those runners. You might see new strawberry leaves appear after you have pruned and that’s perfectly fine. You can also pot summer runners up to grow new plants.
If you have veg you have planted and not yet harvested, now is the time. Remember that the extra matter you collect when harvesting can be added to your compost if you have a compost heap.
If you are going to replace your recently harvested vegetables with something new, these are the months to add some new salad leaves, beets, carrots, lettuce, spring onions, and even garlic.
Remember that as you get ready for the summer to come to a close, keep an eye out on weather patterns so that you can add extra water where necessary, especially if you have planted new crops for autumn because these are particularly susceptible to heatwaves or sudden and significant drops in temperature.