August Gardening Tips
General Gardening Tips
- Plants and trees that provide color in the month of August include crape myrtles, Pee Gee hydrangeas, viburnums, hypericum and butterfly bush. Visit the nursery and see these beautiful plants in bloom.
- Plant ornamental grasses such as miscanthus, pennisetum and hardy pampas grass for motion and contrast.
- Fall mums are in - plant now for a colorful autumn.
- Check all plants, especially newly planted ones, for water on a regular basis. Water deeply and thoroughly as needed. Pick up a copy of our free brochure, Proper Planting & Watering Instructions.
- Gator bags provide a great way to keep trees watered during hot and dry months. These bags, which can hold up to 20 gallons of water, are secured to the trunk of the tree, where they release the water slowly to the root ball over the course of 15-20 hours.
- Spruce up your summer landscape with beautiful color in containers and hanging baskets. Our staff can assist you in selecting combinations of annuals, perennials and shrubs that work wonderfully together. We have a tremendous selection of window boxes, hanging baskets and planters. Be sure to use Merrifield Potting Mix when planting and a water-grabbing polymer such as Soil Moist to reduce the frequency of watering.
- It's a great time to add a water feature to your landscape that you will enjoy not only this summer, but all year round. The experts at Merrifield can design and build creative water features that will allow you to enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of water. Creative pools, fountains and waterfalls are on display at both Merrifield Garden Center locations. Stop by and speak with our water garden experts and pick up informational literature about proper pond care.
- Clear pond water can be achieved with proper plant balance. If the pond is in full sun, 50-70% of its surface must be covered with foliage such as floating heart, water hyacinth, water poppy, water lily, or lotus.
- Underwater grasses produce oxygen, helping to maintain D.O. Levels. Grasses will improve water clarity by using Nitrate. Following are some easy guidelines to know when trying to figure out how many grasses are needed:
- 1 clump of grass per 1 sq. ft. of surface area for ponds less than 25 sq. ft.
- 1 clump of grass per 2 sq. ft. of surface area for ponds greater than 25 sq. ft.
- Time to fertilize all water lilies and lotus once a month to keep the plant blooming continuously throughout the season.
- Lotus are great plants for container water gardens on a deck or patio. Whiskey barrels make a perfect container for these types of water gardens.
- Tropical water lilies make a spectacular show of color for any water garden. Whereas hardy water lilies bloom only during the day, tropical varieties, which are considered annuals in this area, include day and night bloomers. This makes it possible to enjoy the bloom in the late afternoon and evening. Day blooming tropical water lilies bloom heavier than hardy lilies. The flowers stay open longer each day and they bloom much later into the season. Night blooming tropical water lilies open their flowers at approximately 5 pm and do not close until the following morning around 9 am. This is perfect timing for those evening barbecues and parties.
- Time to switch from spring fish food to summer fish food since water temperatures have risen above 70 degrees. At higher temperatures, fish metabolize at a faster rate, thus creating a need for a diet higher in protein, which the summer food contains
- Various pest problems can occur in August. If you have plants that are having a problem, bring in a representative sample to our plant clinic at either of our stores and speak with one of our plant specialists. We will diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate control. Listed below are some of the problems that can appear this month along with the proper controls.
- Use Diatomaceous Earth to control crawling insects such as cockroaches, ants, slugs, silverfish, earwigs, fleas, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and carpet beetles. Use indoors and outdoors.
- Time to control aphids, lacebugs, birch borer, fall webworm, obscure scale, oystershell scale, euonymus scale, pine needle scale, rhododendron borer, apple tree borer, spider mites. Stop by Merrifield Garden Center's plant clinic with a representative sample and our staff will instruct you on the proper control measures.
- Use Round-Up to kill weeds and grasses in brick patios and walks. Stop birds from making a mess on your patio or automobile finish by placing our inflatable owls or inflatable snakes in your garden. This also works to protect fruit from bird attacks.
- Spray roses with Ortho Rose Pride or Immunox Plus to keep black spot and other problems under control.
- Spray for bagworms on arborvitae and other evergreens. Use Sevin or Eight.
- Spider mites can be controlled on Alberta spruce, hemlocks and other plants using Bonide Systemic Insect Control or Bayer Advanced 3 in 1 Insect, Disease and Mite Control.
- Lacebugs can be controlled on azaleas, andromeda and other plants now with Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed, or Bonide Systemic Insect Control.
- If necessary, treat dogwoods for borers with Borer Miner Killer.
- To treat hemlock woolly adelgid, euonymus scale and other pests use Bayer Advanced 12 Month Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed and/or Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil.
- Fruit trees should be on a regular spray program. See our Fruit Tree Spray Program bulletin.
- Control slugs and snails on hosta and other plants with Bug-Geta or Deadline (if you have pets, you should use barrier tape or Sluggo instead of these products).
Merrifield Garden Center has free informational bulletins on the following pest problems, with specific control recommendations.
- Gypsy Moths
- Spider Mites
- Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
- Japanese Beetles
- And more
Fruit and Vegetable Gardens
- Fertilize fruits and vegetables as needed with a good quality, slow-release vegetable food such as Merrifield Flowering Plant Food or Osmocote.
- Stake tomato plants, or use Merrifield's custom, 2 piece tomato cage to support large plants.
- If necessary, spray tomato plants and other vegetables to control diseases. See our staff for advice.
- Merrifield Garden Center has free informational bulletins on many different types of gardening topics.
- If your lawn is in bad shape due to drought stress, insects, weeds or other reasons and you are considering a total renovation, August is the time to get started. Consult one of our lawn specialists if you are planning a total lawn renovation. We can either teach you the steps for renovating the lawn or our crews can do the work for you.
- August is the best time to control grubs in the lawn. Apply Dylox and water it in thoroughly.
- If you want to prevent broadleaf weeds such as chickweed and henbit next spring, but you would still like to seed the lawn this fall, apply Portrait weed preventer in early August. By applying this product now, you will be able to seed in late September or early October (seeding can be done 45-60 days after you apply the Portrait).
- If needed, apply a fungicide to the lawn to control turf diseases such as brown patch, dollar spot and others. Use Bayleton or Immunox.
- Apply Perk-Up to the lawn to keep it nice and green throughout the summer months. This product contains 10% iron, which gives added color without excessive growth.
- Fertilize zoysia lawns for the final time this season with Merrifield Premium 26-4-12.
- If needed, apply a weed control to the lawn to kill actively growing weeds. Use Bonide Weed Beater or Speed Zone.
Tips on applying weed killer:
- Do not apply weed controls on newly seeded areas.
- Do not apply weed controls on windy days.
- Do not apply weed controls near or on the edge of waterways.
- Do not allow children or pets to play on lawns freshly applied with weed controls. It is best to wait one week.
- Do not apply weed controls when temperatures are above 85 degrees F.
- Always follow the label directions.
- Continue to feed houseplants with a good quality indoor plant food such as Jack's Classic (water-soluble powder) or Osmocote (slow-release granular).
- If needed, re-pot root bound houseplants to a larger pot. Merrifield stocks a full line of containers, including terra cotta, wood, concrete, ceramic and plastic. Use Merrifield Potting Mix when repotting houseplants.
For more information to help you garden more easily and successfully, stop in the garden center and pick up a copy of the following bulletins:
- Summer Lawn Care
- Crape Myrtle Varieties
- Butterfly Gardens
- Fruit Tree Spray Program
- Tomatoes and other Vegetables
- Pest Appearance Timetable
- Proper Planting Instructions
- Water Gardens
- Our fall seminars and decorating classes begin in September, so pick up a full schedule and make plans to attend these classes.
- Visit our display gardens at our Fair Oaks location to give you ideas and inspiration.
- Tune in to "Merrifield's Gardening Advisor" television program, which airs every Saturday at 8 am on NEWSCHANNEL 8. This interesting and informative program provides you with great gardening ideas and answers.