Most all of us have lawns that we have been busy mowing all summer, but when it is hot and dry avoid mowing close to the ground. There is no need to bag clippings if you cut the lawn often enough to keep them from accumulating. Clippings left in place nourish the soil and reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizer.
Water plants that make berries, such as yaupon, burford hollies, and pyracantha. They need water to ensure a good crop of fruit this fall. Azaleas and camellias set their buds in late summer and also benefit from deep watering now and during fall dry periods.
Continue to set out transplants of warm-weather annuals to fill the gaps of color this fall. Marigolds, zinnias, celosias, begonias, and geraniums can provide blooms until frost. Water well the first few days after transplanting, and then weekly as needed.
Broadcast and rake seeds of Texas bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, coreopsis, and other spring-flowering wildflowers in beds; water thoroughly. The seeds will sprout and develop deep root systems during the fall and winter for blooms next spring.
Dig established clumps of daylilies and irises and divide individual plants. This can rejuvenate plantings that have been in place for several years and provide extra plants to place in your garden or share with friends and neighbors.
When you see mums for sale this month, buy them while the buds are still tight. Plant them in your garden or in containers where they will have maximum impact. Getting mums started early will mean a more natural appearance and longer-lasting color when they bloom.
If the long, hot summer has left flower, herb and vegetable beds looking tired and bedraggled, replant. Pull out everything that has passed its prime and assess what you have left. Fill in with a few new summer annuals or add fall vegetables. They’ll last until autumn, giving you several months of pleasure.
It’s time to plan and plant your fall garden. Turnips, collards, mustard greens, broccoli, lettuce, English peas, garlic and carrots can all be planted now.
Renew summer annuals a final time before fall. Pinch leggy marigolds, cut back or replant zinnias, and remove browned blooms from other flowers. Feed plants with a liquid fertilizer such as 20-20-20 to encourage growth for fall.
Roses may need a light pruning in mid-August to help stimulate an abundance of fall flowers on everblooming, modern, and old garden roses. Remove dead wood; then cut back current season’s growth about one-third. Apply 5-10-10 or rose fertilizer as directed on the label or ½ cup cottonseed meal per plant; water thoroughly.
Anytime you prepare a bed for replanting, be sure to include plenty of compost, composted manure, or other organic matter. This will keep clay soil loose, sandy soil moist, and add nutrients at the same time.