August garden chores

Horticulture Hints

Looking ahead to preparing your garden for winter weather, now is the time to supply a sufficient amount of water to perennial plants and shrubs. It is also a good time to check for insect pests and removal of weeds before they go to seed.

Removing any diseased or insect damaged foliage from plants now will help to promote healthier plants next spring.

A common problem showing up this time of year is the fungal disease powdery mildew. You may notice a dust or talcum-like powder on your roses, phlox, lilacs, or other plants this month. Although it may cause little damage to established ornamentals and garden plants, applying a fungicide now will help to keep the disease from spreading. Thinning of plants will help to improve air circulation, and pulling mulch away from roots and stems will help prevent this plant disease from reoccurring next spring.

August is also a good month to journal results from your vegetable and flower gardens. Keeping track of which plants did well and those that did not, will aid in selecting new plants next season.

This month is also a good time to divide daylilies, as they have stored enough food to encourage active root growth and successful reestablishment after moving. As daylilies are very hardy plants, they can actually be moved anytime during the growing season. Be sure to plant daylilies at the same depth as before digging, and be sure to water the transplants thoroughly to get them to a healthy start. Apply a layer of mulch to prevent winter heaving from the soil in late fall will help protect them against winter damage.

Did you know? Visit the Iowa State Fair horticulture shows in the Agricultural Building. Viewing the flowers, fruits and vegetables on display will provide ideas on selecting those which cultivars do well in Iowa gardens. Unable to attend the fair this year? Contact your local Extension Office for advice.

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Horticulture Questions? Contact McCormick at yvonne@iastate.edu for information or advice.

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