August In Your Garden

Posted on Aug 13, 2011

Beginning with August, we experience some of our hottest weather – often through October.  And although this is  primarily the month to relax in your garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor, there are still some items that can and should be addressed:

  • Container plantings will need more water this month and, probably, next.  Inland, this can mean as much as every other day; coastal areas require less, but still may need a good soaking 1-2 times per week, depending on how often we experience a heavy marine layer.
  • In the last two weeks of August, roses can be trimmed back as much as 1/3 to encourage a Fall bloom.
  • August is a good time to gain control over Fire Blight, which is spread by bees and insects.  It is exhibited by clusters of brown leaves on certain trees, such as the Ornamental Pear.  Remove the effected branches by cutting back to approximately 12” below the damage.  Be careful to disinfect your trimmers between EACH cut, by dipping them in a solution of 10% bleach.  Precise directions for this process are available here:
  •  Now is the time to assess your landscaping for potential hazards if you are in a fire zone. The State of California has several tips on its website to help you prepare for Santa Ana winds and the fire season, including:
  • August is an excellent time to apply a layer of mulch to your garden beds.  Mulch will help to keep the root zone of your plants cool through the hot months and warm during the cold months.  It will also assist in the suppression of weeds and to retain moisture in the soil.  A layer of fresh compost beneath the mulch will help your soil to become richer and healthier.  Remember that California native plants have different requirements for any type of fertilizer, including compost, so consult your landscape professional or nursery for more information about
    California natives.  You can read more about the benefits of compost and mulch here:
  • Check your irrigation to make sure it is working properly.  Changing out your controller or sprinkler heads may be eligible for a rebate from your water district:  (
  • Start to plan for your cool season vegetable garden.  This chart will help you determine when to plant (now is a good time to start some of those vegetables from seed):
  • Really take a look at what has worked for your garden and where changes need to be made.  Fall is the best time of year for planting, so use the next couple of months to develop a design to incorporate the changes you would like to see.

Most importantly, enjoy the last few lazy days of summer!