Garden Checklist: August


Warm Season Grasses  

Bermuda and Zoysia 

May-August: Keep the mower deck at a height of 1-2 inches depending on lawn condition. The optimal soil pH for Bermuda and Zoysia is 6 – 6.5. Add sulfur if the pH is too high or lime if the pH is too low. At this point, the grass should be fully green so apply ½ pound to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet every 4-6 weeks. If summer annual weeds like white clover, spurge, and lespedeza become a problem, apply broadleaf selective postemergence herbicides. However, do not apply preemergent if the plan is to overseed with ryegrass in Oct/Nov. Continue to water an inch a week unless it is raining. 

Mow frequently enough so that no more than 1/3 of the grass blade is cut. 

Cool Season Grasses  

Kentucky Bluegrass 

Due to summer stress, August is the best time to reseed the grass to help the thin or bare spots. Lightly water every day until the seed has reached 1 inch. Only apply pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals once the seed is established. The grass should not be mowed until it reaches a height of 3 inches or more.  

Mow frequently enough so that no more than 1/3 of the grass blade is cut. 

Tall Fescue 

Raise the mower deck to cut at a height of 3.5 inches to keep the soil moist so the deeper roots do not dry out. No fertilization is needed at this time. Water lawns in the morning with 1 inch of water per week (unless raining) to prevent disease. Do not apply herbicides because the high heat and drought make Fescue susceptible to herbicide damage. 

Mow frequently enough so that no more than 1/3 of the grass blade is cut. 


  • Continue deadheading flowers which will allow plants to use energy reserves for a final flower display. Remember, some flowers like echinacea and sunflowers are food for birds so you may want to leave these flowers be. 
  • Check moisture of hanging baskets and container plantings daily. If dry, water thoroughly until water comes through the bottom.  


  • Plant perennials  
  • Divide old iris plantings and add new ones. 

Shrubs and Trees 

  • Propagate woody plants, such as hydrangeas and azaleas, by layering. 

Fruits and vegetables 

  • Sow peas in mid to late August for a fall crop. 
  • Finish starting seeds inside for fall crops like Brussels sprouts, and other heading brassicas. 
  • After the last raspberry and blackberry harvest for the year, prepare for next year while also avoiding diseases by pruning out old flowering canes leaving only 3-4 young canes per foot of row. Wait until spring to prune backshoot tips. 
  • Seeds can be sown for a late crop of leaf lettuce, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and spinach in the partial shade of taller plants. 
  • Pick summer squash and zucchini every day or two to keep the plants producing. 
  • Remove old plants that have stopped producing to eliminate a shelter for insects and disease organisms. 
  • Dig potatoes after vines have died. 
  • Harvest melons when the stem separates from the fruit with gentle prodding. 
  • Sow fall cover crop. (A cover crop is any crop grown to cover the soil and may be incorporated into the soil later for enrichment.) 
  • Start planting cold crops, beets, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, mustard, Swiss chard, parsley, radishes, and turnips. 


  • Continue your bug removal pest damage inspections! Remove and treat as needed.  
  • Every weed that produces seed means more trouble next year so remove weeds before they go to seed (flower). 

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