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Monthly Garden Gossip,

August, 2019

Welcome to our garden! We're proud of our hard work and want to share the reward with you, so here is what's going on in the garden this month..Central Alabama

Fall Gardening

August is a good time to start seeds for your fall garden. Broccoli, cabbage, kale and all the brassia types can be started now for planting in the garden about the middle of September. Swiss chard and parsley may be started too. Arugula, carrots and beets may be direct seeded in the garden. Lettuce can also be direct seeded but it is best to wait until the middle of September to do that when the weather cools down a little. If the temperatures are above 90 degrees it will cause the lettuce to bolt and become bitter. If you would rather buy plants, our lettuce plants should be available about the middle of September.

vegetable garden

Replant multiplying onions so they will be ready by Thanksgiving.

Dividing Iris

Iris may be divided in August.  Before replanting, work plenty of organic matter into the beds.  Space rhizomes 12-24 inches apart and plant just at the soil's surface.  Bone meal can also be worked into the bed for a slow release fertilizer.  In clay soil the rhizome should be exposed.  In sandy soil the rhizome can be buried with a thin layer of soil. Tall bearded iris should be divided every 4 to 5 years in late summer. Dig and divide hosta and over-crowded daylilies now.

Iris Division

Zinnias and Sunflowers

There is still time to sow some zinnia seed for a little fall color. While your at it why not plant a few sunflowers too. This is a picture of our zinnia patch last year and this year is has reseeded itself and looks just about the same.



Now that most of the blueberry plants have finished fruiting it is a great time to prune any plants that were hard to pick because they were too tall, or some of your berries were lying on the ground because the branches were too close to the ground.  Prune out any dead branches and fertilize to promote some new growth for next year's crop.  In our blueberry planting we remove any shoots that are coming up 3 feet away from the main plant.

You may plant blueberries this time of year if you can give them at least weekly watering. The most ideal planting time is late fall and winter which allows for the greatest plant development during the first growing season. Blueberry plants are very sensitive to the use of the nitrate form of nitrogen.  Applying fertilizers such as sodium nitrate, calcium nitrate or ammonium nitrate can result in severe damage or death of the plants.  Always use ammonium forms of nitrogen such as urea, ammonium sulfate or ammonium phosphate and avoid any fertilizers that contain more than 10% nitrogen in nitrate form.


A fertilizer such as Grower's Special (12-6-6) that contains slow release nitrogen and micronutrients is recommended. The only pruning needed initially is to reduce plant height at planting time by 1/4 to 1/3 usually 7 to 14 inches.  Remove broken roots and separate roots at 3 to 4 areas around root ball where they may be growing in a circular direction. Blueberry plants do not require annual pruning for the first several years except to remove low branches lower than 15 inches from the soil and diseased or broken branches.

Prune back blackberries if you have not done that. We have a pruning video that will show you just how to do this job. Blackberry pruning video


Prune back annuals that are looking straggly so that they will re-bloom this fall. Fertilize lightly. Perennials such as coneflowers, phlox and salvia can be deadheaded now. Do not prune your oak leaf,  French , serrata or lacecap hydrangeas or you will remove next year's bloom. Be careful not to prune any woody shrubs after August since the tender new growth may get nipped by an early frost.

For a flush of fall blooms on your roses, give them a little fertilizer and lots of water. Continue to tie up your climbing roses and prune any stray canes or dead ones. Haven't pruned back those roses that only bloom in the spring? August is last call for that project.

Hummingbird Feeders

Keep your hummingbird feeders clean by cleaning at least once a week. You can use white vinegar diluted in water or dish soap. Use a bottle brush to clean the bottle and clean all the ports with a port brush. Rinse thoroghly and allow to air dry. It is not necessary to use bleach unless you see black mold. If that is present soak the feeder in a 1/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air day. Many hummingbird enthusiasts have two feeders one clean one and the one they are using.


If weeds are a problem in your established lawn, use a pre-emergent herbicide.  When weeds occur in your border and a sprayer cannot be used without damaging surrounding plants, try using a small sponge paint brush and paint on the weed killer to the offending weed.  This works especially well with poison ivy.


Keep in mind that figs will drop their leaves and fruit to protect itself during a drought.  This month we are trimming out the low growth away from the base of the fig trees to allow for better air circulation. 

It is August and time to spray for Pecan Weevil

(Curculio caryae). Adult weevils, both males and females, damage pecans by feeding on and/or laying eggs in nuts. Even though damage can occur from the time of adult emergence to shuck split, the key to weevil control is to prevent the female from laying eggs. 

Pecan weevil activity starts in early August. Adults emerge from the soil where they have spent 2 or 3 years in soil cells located 4 to 12 inches beneath the soil surface. The emergence of adult pecan weevil is directly related to the type of soil and soil moisture conditions. Drought conditions and clay soils delay emergence of adults by a month or more.  Under normal soil conditions, approximately 80 percent of adult weevils emerge between August 20 and September 10.

Insecticides are carbaryl (Sevin® 80S) at a rate of 1.25 to 3.0 pounds per 100 gallons and zeta-cypermethrin (Fury®) at 2.82 to 4.26 ounces per acre. Do not use spreader stickers with the treatment. Other formulations of carbaryl also can be used. Read and follow label directions. There are no organic methods for treating pecan weevil at the present time.

Spray the tree trunk and as high as your sprayer will allow you to get as well as the ground around the tree to the drip line.  You should spray in the beginning of August and once again about three weeks later.

The Fish in the Garden have been re-stocked. Selection is great.Orange Fish