Gardening in August
By Walt Crowder, Lawn Ranger Company Inc.
Weeks and weeks of a long, hot summer can be stressful to the lawn and landscape, as well as to the
person doing the gardening. The fall planting season is still a couple months off, so we have a long way
to go before we have worked through the “dog-days” of 2017. So stay cool, and be wise when working
in the lawn and gardens.
Here are a few tips that may be helpful as you to make decisions about your landscape:
ANNUAL FLOWERING PLANTS
True annuals that were planted earlier in the year might need to be
replaced at this time, unless they are heat tolerant. Hanging baskets of annuals may also be past their
prime and may need to be replanted.
Some heat-tolerant annuals, which generally remain under 2 feet tall include: Blue Daze, Celosia,
Coleus, Dusty Miller, Lantana, Marigold, Mexican Heather, Periwinkle, Portulaca/ Purslane, and certain
varieties of Salvia.
Some heat-tolerant annuals, which may grow to be over 2 feet tall include: Cana, Four-o’Clock,
Hardy Hibiscus (Mallow), Mexican Sunflower, Rudbeckia, some varieties of Salvia (such as Mealy Blue
Sage), Shrimp Plant, and Sun Flower.
When the plants become too leggy and tired, trim them back. Fertilize after pruning to encourage
Watering continues to be important this month. Do not be fooled by quick thundershowers. It
is not a “good rain” unless it produces at least ½” of water. The turf needs a MINIMUM of 1” of water
per week. (Flower beds might need to be watered more frequently.) A good way to measure the
amount of water your lawn is getting is to set out pans or cups throughout the yard, and allow the
irrigation system to run through a full cycle. Every area of the turf must receive an adequate amount of
water –between ½ and 1 inch. Usually, two or three times per week is sufficient – providing a total of at
least 1 inch per week.
Another way to see that the lawn is getting adequate water is the good old reliable “screwdriver
moisture test.” Push a screwdriver into the ground. You should be able to reach a depth of at least 6”.
Anything less than that indicates you are not watering deeply enough.
Just a thought…since drip irrigation is not generally subject to rules relating to water restrictions.
Think about installing a drip system in the flower beds and gardens.
Be on the look-out for chinch bugs in St. Augustine lawns. Hot, dry weather is
conducive to activity by these little pests, and they can destroy a yard in a matter of days. Generally,
the first signs of chinch bugs are seen near concrete, such as along driveways, sidewalks, and curbs. The
grass will turn brown – and die.
Other lawn pests that do not destroy the landscape, but rather irritate people and/or animals, are
fleas and fire ants.
Chinch bugs, fleas, and fire ants can be controlled with proper treatment. The do-it- yourself stores
have products available, or consider calling a reputable, professional company to provide the service.
A fungus, commonly known as “gray spot” (not to be confused with Brown Patch) might also appear.
Treat with a fungicide.
While we are in the middle of the worst part of the summer, it’s time to look ahead to the fall
blooming season and its beautiful flowers. With that in mind, plan on fertilizing and pruning late this
Suggestion: don’t plant or transplant roses this month. Wait for cooler weather. However, late
summer fertilizing is important. The extra nutrition will encourage growth and flowering over the next 3
Black spot continues to be the number one problem. Keep yellow, fallen leaves picked up, and
continue to spray regularly for insect and disease control.
You are invited to send us your questions and comments. We can be contacted at our offices at 281-681-1025, or through our web site: www.LawnRangerCompany.com.
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Voted “BEST OF THE WOODLANDS” 2010-2017