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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For week of Dec. 3:
Make the most of gaps between raindrops. This is a busy month!
* Windy conditions brought down a lot of leaves. Make sure to rake them away from storm drains.
* Use those leaves as mulch around frost-tender shrubs and new transplants.
* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.
* Just because it rained doesn't mean every plant got watered. Give a drink to plants that the rain didn't reach, such as under eves or under evergreen trees. Also, well-watered plants hold up better to frost than thirsty plants.
* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while they're dormant.
* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.
* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.
* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they'll bloom again next December.
* Plant one last round of spring bulbs including daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas. Get those tulips out of the refrigerator and into the ground.
* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers such as California poppies.
* Plant such spring bloomers as sweet pea, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.
* Late fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from fall and winter rains.
* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.
* Plant garlic and onions.
* Bare-root season begins. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Beware of soggy soil. It can rot bare-root plants.
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