August starts with ‘normal’ temperatures and opportunities to get things done
|Zinnias brighten any landscape, and entice pollinators, too. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)|
After so many triple-digit days in July, the start of August actually feels on the cool side.
According to the National Weather Service, Sacramento will see a steady string of afternoons in the low 90s with overnight lows dipping down close to 60. Historically, that’s normal; average temperatures for Sacramento in August: High of 91 degrees and low of 58.
This mild summer weather is great for plants – and for getting things done. Tackle chores and watering in the morning before temperatures edge up in the afternoon. Remember: Always water before fertilizing.
* Pick up after your fruit trees. Clean up debris and dropped fruit; this cuts down on insects and prevents the spread of brown rot.
* Feed citrus trees their last round of fertilizer for the year. This will give a boost to the fruit that’s now forming.
* Feed other fruit trees, too, with slow-release fertilizer for better production for next year.
* Camellia leaves looking a little yellow? Feed them some chelated iron. That goes for azaleas and gardenias, too.
* To prolong bloom into fall, feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants.
* Fertilize fall-blooming perennials, too. Chrysanthemums can be fed until the buds start to open.
* Harvest tomatoes, beans, squash, pepper and eggplants to prompt plants to keep producing. Give your plants a deep watering twice a week, more if planted in containers.
* Give tomatoes and peppers a boost with phosphate-rich fertilizer to help fruiting.
* Watch out for caterpillars and hornworms in the vegetable garden. They can strip a plant bare in one day. Pick them off plants by hand in early morning or late afternoon.
* In the vegetable garden, direct seed beets, carrots, leaf lettuce and turnips.
* Plant potatoes.
* Pinch off dead flowers from perennials and annuals to lengthen their summer bloom.
* Deadhead roses for more flowers in early fall.
* Indoors, start seedlings for fall vegetable planting, including bunching onion, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, radicchio and lettuce.
* Sow seeds of perennials in pots for fall planting including yarrow, coneflower and salvia.
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Dig In: Garden Checklist
For week of March 26:
Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:
* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.
* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.
* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.
* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.
* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.
To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.
* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.
* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.
* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.
* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.
* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.
* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.
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