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Setting a garden up for summer success

Pruning roses
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Mid-summer months like August can be hard on gardens and lawns. Compared to the balminess of spring, intense heat and high humidity can lead to dried crops, wilted flower beds or dead grass spots. However, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat and humidity while still setting your garden up for success this season.

The Missouri Botanical Garden has created a “Gardening by Month – August” list that provides tips for every aspect of outdoor landscaping, from flowerbeds to lawns and everywhere in-between.

Here is a list of August gardening recommendations straight from the Garden:


• Continue spraying roses that are susceptible to black spot and other fungus diseases.

• Annuals may appear leggy and worn now. These can be cut back hard and fertilized.

• Deadhead annuals and perennials as needed.

• Divide oriental poppies.

• Feed mums, asters and other fall-blooming perennials for the last time.

• Roses should receive no further nitrogen fertilizer after Aug. 15.

• Powdery mildew on lilacs is unsightly, but causes no harm and rarely warrants control, though common rose fungicides will prove effective.

• Madonna lilies, bleeding heart (Dicentra) and bloodroot (Sanguinaria) can be divided and replanted.

• Divide bearded iris now. Discard old center sections and borer damaged parts. Replant so tops of rhizomes are just above ground level.

• Prune to shape hedges for the last time this season.

• Order bulbs now for fall planting.

• Evergreens can be planted or transplanted now to ensure good rooting before winter arrives. Water both the plant and the planting site several days before moving.

• If you want to grow big dahlia flowers, keep side shoots pinched off and plants watered and fertilized regularly.


• Zoysia lawns can receive their final fertilizer application.

• Apply insecticides now for grub control on lawns being damaged by their activity.

• Lawns scheduled for renovation this fall should be killed with herbicide now. Have soil tested to determine fertility needs.

• Dormant lawns should be soaked now to encourage strong fall growth.

• Verify control of lawn white grubs from earlier insecticide applications.


• Prop up branches of fruit trees that are threatening to break under the weight of a heavy crop.

• Protect ripening fruits from birds by covering plants with a netting.

• Continue to spray ripening fruits to prevent brown rot fungus.

• Thornless blackberries are ripening.

• Watch for fall webworm activity.

• Cultivate strawberries. Weed preventers can be applied immediately after fertilizing.

• Spray peach and other stone fruits now to protect against peach tree borers.

• Fall-bearing red raspberries are ripening.

• Sprays will be necessary to protect late peaches from oriental fruit moth damage.


• Soak shrubs periodically during dry spells with enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches.

• Once bagworms reach full size, insecticides are ineffective. Pruning off and burning large bagworms provides better control.

• Spray black locust trees now to protect against damage by the locust borer.

• Hummingbirds are migrating through gardens now.

• Watch Scotch and Austrian pines now for Zimmerman pine moth damage. Yellowing or browning of branch tips and presence of pitch tubes near leaf whorls are indicative. Prune and destroy infected parts.

• Clean out cold frames to prepare for fall use.

• Monitor plants for spider mite activity. Hose these pests off with a forceful spray of water.

• Second generation pine needle scale crawlers may be present on mugo pine.

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