It's hot, but garden needs help

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August is an awful month. It's so hot I can barely stand to go outside. The flowers, those still among the living, look faded and sad. And everything needs watering as mosquitoes feast on me, laughing at my deep-woods bug spray.

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A long, hot and dry summer can leave plants looking wilted.  Sandy Hodson/Staff
Sandy Hodson/Staff
A long, hot and dry summer can leave plants looking wilted.

Unfortunately, there are chores that need to be done. All I managed to do last week was to water and cut back the jasmine that's conspiring with the kiwi vines to take over a poor old dogwood.

In the spirit of the first of the month, and in the hopes fall comes sooner than later, I thought it would be good to consult a couple of sources to come up with my to-do list for August.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, thanks to the master gardeners' sensei, extension agent Sid Mullis, has this terrific monthly guide that is focused on our area. The Gardening Calendar is free and available from the extension office.

I also looked at Month-By-Month Gardening in Georgia , another excellent source, written by two of my heroes, Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener.

Here's a list of chores to consider tackling this month:

- One of the few good things about August is that you can start your fall garden from seeds. Cabbage, collards, beets, broccoli, beans, Chinese cabbage, turnips, kale and mustard are on Mr. Mullis' list. You can also still transplant more summer vegetables.

- It's time again to treat for white flies. You know you have them if your plants' leaves look like they are covered in black mildew. That's honeydew, which is way too nice of a word for white fly poo.

I used the Bayer Advanced All-In-One in the spring and it worked wonders against the flies. You can also make a trap by using paper or plastic that is bright yellow. Paint it with sticky oil and you have a white fly trap.

- It's also time to fertilize the lawn again, UNLESS you have fescue or centipede.

- While it's a terrible time to try to plant flowers or shrubs, it is the time to divide and replant iris bulbs.

If you thought your irises didn't put on much of a show this year, it might be that they were too crowded. When you replant, be careful just to barely cover the rhizomes.

- As for the perennial flowers and shrubs, leave the fertilizer alone. Water so that you are putting down an inch of water every week.

- Even if the rose bushes have stopped flowering, you need to continue spraying for black spot and insects. Or you can take my approach: Let cypress vines cover them up.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

Join the growing conversation with the Garden Gnome at blogs.augusta.com.

IN THE GARDEN

In the Garden is a roundup of gardening events, club meetings and seminars. Send listings to sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com, or post on the Garden Gnome at blogs.augusta.com.


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