August Tips: Southern California

Watering and pest control are your main tasks this month.


Enlarge Image Water deeply and well.
  • Watering chores are what will eat up your garden time this month. Remember the basics: Water in the early morning. Water the soil, not the leaves. Water deeply and occasionally rather than shallow and often.
  • Soak containers well. If you can't keep up or they're wilting anyway, move them to a shadier spot. Also give your compost heap an occasional dousing to promote necessary decomposition. Also consider shading the heap to keep it moister longer.
  • It's also a good time to make sure your irrigation system, if you have one, is performing at its peak. As needed, install a new backup battery in your time system. Flush filters and header lines of drip systems. Also, check drip emitters and clean or replace those that aren't working properly.
  • This is a good month to evaluate your garden, really taking notice of what is doing well and what's not during this challenging season. Jot it down in your garden journal or otherwise make note of it.
  • Now is the time to do hard pruning on desert legume trees.
  • You can plant native desert perennials and shrubs now. The high humidity helps them establish quickly, but you'll still need to keep them well-watered.
  • Give your compost heap an occasional soaking to encourage materials breaking down. Then cover the heap to keep it moister longer.
  • If an annual is sickly or struggling, at this point in the season, just pull it up and pitch it.
  • If a perennial is sickly or looking otherwise awful, cut it back to just a few inches. It will come back this year or next spring with healthier growth.

Deadheading 101 -- Keep deadheading. For the most flowers and tidiest garden, deadhead daily.

Deadheading 101

Feeding Roses -- Continue to fertilize roses.

Feeding Roses

  • Fertilize acid-loving plants and any other plants that may be showing an iron deficiency; for example, young leaves appear yellow-green with dark green leaves. Acid-loving plants include azaleas, gardenias, blueberries, and camellias.

Fertilizing Plants -- Continue to fertilize containers containing annuals and perennials.

Fertilizing Plants

  • Continue to mow regularly, your best defense against weeds!
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