August in the FloridaGarden
August is one of Florida's hottest months. The wise Florida Gardener will spend most of his or her time inside in the air conditioning or sitting in the pool sipping iced-tea! If you do decide to venture outside some things that will need to be attended to in the garden. Pest control is one of the top priorities. Look out for and be ready to control ants looking to make their way into your dwelling, sod webworms, mole crickets and chinch bugs intent on gobbling up your lawn, scale insects sucking the life blood out of your fruit trees and ornamentals, and aphids massing on the new growth of your citrus.
There is so much to learn about gardening in Florida. Even those who have been doing it for years learn new things almost daily. That is why this month is so great as it is an excellent time to stop doing and spend some time learning. Unfortunately, no single book (nor website) can answer all of your gardening questions, but there are a number of very good ones out there with tons of excellent information to help you along your way.
This month, make sure you continue to fertilize since Florida's sandy soils do not hold nutrients well and your plants (especially palm trees) may begin to show signs of nutritional deficiencies. Heavy rains and consistent watering help to leach away the foods plants need to do their best. If you are anxious to plant a traditional vegetable, herb or annual garden this month (better to wait until September) these are your best bets:
Bedding Plants: The hottest days of summer limit planting now to heat tolerant Asters, Balsam, Begonias, Black-Eyed Susan Vine, Blue Daze, Cat's Whiskers, Coleus, Cosmos, Cockscombs, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Nots, Gaillardia, Golden Globe Impatiens, Marigolds, Melapodium, Moon Vine, Pentas, Periwinkles, Petunias, Phlox, Porterweed, Portulaca, Purslane, Salvia, Scabiosa, Strawflowers, Sunflowers, Tithonias, Torenia, Verbenas and Zinnias.
Bulbs: African Iris, Agapanthus, Amaryllis, Aztec Lily, Butterfly Lily, Cannas, Crinums, Daylilies, Gladioli, Gloriosa Lilies, Society Garlic and Spider Lily Walking Iris, and Zephyranthes (Rain Lilies) can be planted any time of the year, even late summer. :
Herbs: Herbs that can be planted from plants (not seeds) include basil, bay laurel, chives, dill, ginger, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, sweet marjoram and rosemary,
Vegetables: This month is the start of the fall planting season with many varieties of cool and warm season crops to start now. Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Collards, Corn, Cowpeas, Cucumbers, Celery, Eggplant, Leaf Lettuce, Mustard, Okra, Onions, Peppers, Pumpkin, Squash Tomatoes, Turnips, and Watermelon.
What to Do
Lawn problems: Lawn insects are very active during the warm months. Check frequently for damaged areas and keep insects in check with early treatment.
Palms: If older fronds are yellowing, apply magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salts) to correct the problem.
Vegetables: If not done in July, solarize the vegetable garden in preparation for fall planting.
Poinsettias: Pinch back Poinsettias and Mums before the end of the month to allow time for buds to form for winter bloom.
Ornamental Plants: Rapid growth and leaching rains may result in nutrient deficiencies in some plants. Fertilize those plants that show signs of deficiencies.
Bedding Plants: Remove spent blooms, cut back, and fertilize flowering annuals and perennials to extend the bloom season into the fall months.
What to Do Every Month
Adjust irrigation based on rainfall.
Deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms.
Monitor the garden for insects and disease.
Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials and water until established.
Mow lawns at recommended heights:
St. Augustine & Bahia: 3-4”
Dwarf St. Augustine: 2.5”
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