8 August Garden Maintenance Tasks
As the heatwave of summer 2018 continues, there is still plenty to keep us busy in our gardens this month.
August is typically one of the driest and warmest months of the year, and your garden may be looking a little a dry. However, there will still be plenty of life in your plants waiting to burst forth before things start to slow down in preparation for autumn and winter.
Of course, keeping on top of the watering is going to be a priority this month to prevent your garden from drying out and, as always, try to use grey water from sinks and bathtubs rather than taking water directly from your tap.
Once again this month we have compiled a list of tasks – eight, for the eighth month – that you should be looking at getting done to keep your garden looking at its best.
1. Clean Out Your Water Butts
Rainfall during the month of August averages 69mm or 2.7 inches for the entire month. With the warm weather and lack of rainfall, chances are you have used up your harvested supplies of water.
If your water butt is currently empty, you have the ideal opportunity to get in there and clean it out.
Over time, dirt and sediment will settle at the bottom of your water butt and potentially cause blockages. Take advantage of an empty butt to clean out the bottom and prevent this from happening.
Of course, if your water butt is depleted, there are still plenty of environmentally friendly ways of watering your lawn.
Use ‘grey’ water sources, such as the left-over water from your bathtubs, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers.
As long as there aren’t any substances present that can harm your plants, such as bleach, disinfectant or faecal contamination, it’s fine to use and should be your first-choice if your water butt is depleted.
Of course, if you don’t currently have a water butt, there is no time like the present to get one installed. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase and can be installed to catch the rainfall from gutters and downpipes with ease.
2. Grab Some Bargains at Your Local Garden Centre
This one is not so much a garden maintenance task as it is a good tip for this time of the year.
With many of us away on our summer holidays, August is a notoriously slow month for garden centres.
As it is also coming towards the end of the season, many garden centres and nurseries will be looking to shift their summer stock to clear space for new goods for the fast-approaching autumn months.
This means there will be bargains to be had!
Be sure to get yourself down to your local garden centre and make the most of the cheaper prices to stock up on plants.
3. Keep Your Pond Healthy
With the lack of rainfall that August brings, it is important to keep your ponds and water features topped up with sufficient water, ideally from the water in your water butt. Not only is this the most environmentally friendly option, but the nutrients found in this water will also help algae to prosper.
You might also wish to consider installing a water fountain to ensure that your pond contains plenty of oxygen, which your fish and plants need to thrive. If you don’t have a fountain, you can achieve a similar effect by gently spraying water from your hose into your pond – hold it at a height of around 1 metre (or 3 foot), to help oxygenate the water.
Blanket weed and duckweed can be prominent at this time of the year and you should look to remove it, if necessary.
4. Enlist the Help of Friends and Neighbours
August is the most popular month for getting away from it all and jetting off on our holidays.
This means that your garden could potentially be neglected for a full two weeks. To prevent the hard work you’ve put into your garden this year going to waste, why not enlist the help of your neighbours or friends?
Asking them to pop over a couple of times whilst you’re away to water key plants, pick any ripe fruit and vegetables, and keep a general eye on things can prevent your garden from suffering from neglect.
Return the favour by offering to do the same for them when they go on their holidays.
5. Maintain Your Lawn
At this time of the year, your lawn is unlikely to see huge amounts of growth, but it will still require your attention.
Many of us like to keep the grass on our lawns short, but at this time of the year it’s very important to set the blade of your lawnmower a little higher.
That’s because slightly longer grass will help to trap and hold on to any moisture that’s in the air and so help to prevent your lawn from drying out.
If your lawnmower has a mulching kit, now would be the time to use it. A mulching kit will cut the grass up extra fine, and you can then leave the mulch on your lawn to further trap any moisture present.
Weeds can be a particular nuisance at this time of the year and it’s important to keep on top of the weeding to prevent it from spiralling out of control. Weedkillers can be used but, of course, it’s important to be wary of the impact that they have on the environment.
Of course, if maintaining your lawn has become too much of a chore and you’d prefer it to look lush and green – with little effort – all year round, maybe now is the time to consider installing an artificial lawn?
Artificial grass has a host of benefits and, thanks to recent advances in technology, it’s now virtually as realistic as the real thing.
See for yourself by requesting your free samples.
6. Keep Your Greenhouse From Overheating
As August is the hottest month of the year, greenhouses can quickly become very hot, which could potentially cause damage to your plants.
If you followed the advice in our maintenance tips for May, you’ll already have painted your greenhouse with shade paint, which does a great job of preventing the sun from scorching plants. If you haven’t completed this task already this year, then now is the time to do it.
To prevent your plants from drying out, it’s a good idea throughout this month to dampen the floor of your greenhouse, which will increase the humidity.
If your greenhouse is overheating, open doors and windows to keep temperatures from getting too high.
7. Deadhead Flowering Plants Regularly
During August, you’ll need to continue deadheading shrubs and plants, especially roses, to ensure that they continue flowering right into autumn.
Hanging baskets will also continue to require your attention and, again, it is important to ensure that fading flowers are deadheaded immediately. Containers will also need to be regularly watered and fed.
You shouldn’t, however, be removing the flowering heads from ornamental grasses, as this will prevent growth that could otherwise continue through to winter.
Remove fading stems and leaves from geraniums to encourage new growth. Don’t be too snip-happy with this, though, as just a light pruning can have a large impact.
8. Tend To Your Fruit and Veg
It’s a busy time in the fruit and veg garden right throughout August.
If you have raspberries growing in your patch it’s important to prune them as soon as they have finished fruiting and remove the old canes – cut them back down to ground level.
You may also be able to begin harvesting your potato crop this month. You’ll know when they are ready as the leaves will turn yellow and die back.
As you lift your potatoes, bear in mind that this is a great time to sow late season potatoes, which will give you a second crop in October.
Prolong the lifespan of potatoes by placing them in a hessian bag, which will block out light whilst also allowing sufficient ventilation.
Pinch out the climbing shoots of runner beans before they reach the top of the support and continue to harvest them little and often to prevent them from becoming stringy or setting seed.
You’ll also want to pinch out any side-shoots from your tomatoes; the leading shoots will need to be tied to supports.
As mentioned above, if you’re going on holiday ask a friend or neighbour to tend to your garden in your absence and ensure that they pick any ripe fruits or vegetables to prevent them from returning to seed.
It may be coming to the end of summer, but there is still plenty to be doing in our gardens this month.
In August, the weather is as good as it will be all year and it’s important that, as gardeners, we can take a step back and really appreciate our gardens. It’s a good idea to spend as much time as possible this month just enjoying our gardens and the great outdoors.
Do you have any other tips or tasks that we should be doing in our gardens this month? Then why not leave us a comment below and join the discussion?