August is the month to start your fall vegetable garden. Bush beans, cucumbers, summer squash and other short season vegetables can be planted now. Cool season vegetables such as radishes, beets, carrots, lettuce, and others can also be planted at this time. To ensure a good stand of fall crops from seed it’s best to cover rows with burlap, paper, straw or even boards to aid in keeping the soil moist and cool.
With proper care, tomato plants can continue growing and set more fruit. Keep them watered and fertilize them towards the end of the month to ensure a good fall crop.
To have an herb garden indoors this winter, begin propagating your favorite herbs by taking cuttings or by divisions. Most herbs require more light than most homes can provide during the winter so consider grow lights in combination with natural light.
Harvest seedheads of sunflowers as the heads begin to droop and leaves turn brown. Prompt harvest is necessary to protect the seeds from birds and from falling to the ground.
Add water to your compost pile during dry periods so that it remains active. Turn the pile to generate heat throughout for proper sterilization.
Bermuda lawns can be fertilized for the last time this season with nitrogen fertilizer. Apply 3 pounds of 34-0-0 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet by mid-August. Also, you can apply 2 pounds of 0-0-60 per 1,000 square feet for grass to develop a winter hardy root system.
Sharpen or replace mower blades as needed. Shredded leaf blades are an invitation to disease and allow more stress on the grass. For an average lawn you should sharpen your blades three times a season.
Fall webworms are showing up in trees. They particularly like pecan, walnut, hickory, and persimmon but can be found in almost any tree and occasionally shrubs. If control is needed, you can use Sevin, permethrin, acephate, bifenthrin, Bacillus thuringiensis, or spinosad.
Trees take a beating with high temperatures and lack of rain. If you have a prized tree you want to keep, water twice a week. When you water, water deep. It is better to water more in depth, less often and early in the morning.
August/September is a good time to get rid of poison ivy and unwanted honeysuckle. Since they are perennials, applying glyphosate (example: Roundup) or triclopyr now can keep them from storing up nutrients for winter and reduce the chance of their surviving until spring. Don’t spray when plants are drought stressed. Wait until 3-4 days after a good rain. Be sure to follow the label directions.
Avoid pruning spring flowering trees and shrubs now because they are setting flower buds. Adequate moisture now will give abundant color next spring. Avoid heavy pruning of others also at this time of year since you run the risk that the plant will not have sufficient time to harden off before frost. Light pruning or heading back can be done at any time.
Strawberry plants are also setting flower buds this month and into September. Fertilize late this month to early September with 4 cups 34-0-0 fertilizer per 1,000 square foot bed. Moisture is also critical for good flower bud set and ultimately a good harvest next spring.
Make your last fertilizer application in early August on your roses. Continue deadheading and spraying fungicide and insecticide. Propiconazole, myclobutanil, thiophanate-methyl, tebuconazole, or triforine will control most foliage diseases, while acephate is a good choice for insect problems. Rose beds can produce some of the best blooms in the fall. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist.
Rejuvenate tired annuals by removing faded flowers and cutting back long, leggy stems. Feed with a fertilizer and the plants will be back in bloom in a few weeks. If they are too far gone, pull them out and replace with new ones for fall. Although marigolds are usually considered a summer annual, they are also an alternative to mums and may actually bloom longer.
Stop pinching mums now. They will set flower buds as days get shorter. Fertilize mums once again and keep them watered during dry weather.
Horticulture entries are sought for the Baxter County Fair (September 12-16). Entries range from all types of vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants, and field crops. The Baxter County Fair is held in Mountain Home with entries accepted Tuesday, September 12 from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Check out the web site (www.baxtercountyfair.org) for more information.
For more information on any of the above points, contact the U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension office at 425-2335.