Our top 10 gardening tips for August
August is a fantastic time for gardening.
Despite the temperamentality of British weather, it’s sure to be dry, warm, and sunny. At least most of the time!
On top of this, August is the point of summer when you can start getting things ready for autumn, winter, and even spring. This might seem a little premature, but trust us – time moves fast. In what will seem like the blink of an eye, you’ll be soon enjoying the fruits (or veggies if you’d prefer!) of your labour.
We know that it can be difficult to know where to start if you’re new to horticulture. Heck, even we need to remind ourselves what we should be doing sometimes!
So, we’ve pulled together our top 10 gardening tips for August to get you started.
Scroll down to find each tip, or click the linked list below to be taken to the relevant point in full:
- Prune your ornamental trees
- Deal with tough weeds
- Plant spring bulbs
- Damp down your greenhouse’s floor
- Harvest your sweetcorn
- Sow green manures to fill in empty spaces
- Clean your water pumps
- Deadhead your flowering plants regularly
- Have a clear out
- Have a party to enjoy your garden!
1. Prune your ornamental trees
Because there are fewer diseases likely to infect bark wounds at this time of year, August is a fantastic month to prune ornamental trees. Doing so will also allow the trees to fully heal before winter.
To begin with, remove any weak growth, diseased branches, or unwanted stems from the tree.
After this, identify branches and stems that rub against or cross each other. These can be sites for infection. So, to play things safe, make ‘the survival of the fittest’ your mantra and remove the worst-looking of the two.
Finally, take off any branches which make the tree look lop-sided or are going in the wrong direction.
Before you run out into your garden to give your trees a clean cut, make sure you’re properly equipped. Always use sharp, well-kept tools when pruning trees to ensure clean cuts.
2. Deal with tough weeds
It’s difficult to blame weeds for wanting to hang out in your garden. After all, you’ve put so much work into making it a lovely location to spend time in. However, they’ve got to go.
August is the perfect time to spray weed-killer on particularly tough customers. Weeds are naturally drawing energy back into their roots during late summer, so they are more likely to take in a lethal dose.
A word of warning that, although obvious, can’t be overstated: Do not spray anything you want to keep!
Also, you need to keep yourself safe. Make sure to wear protective clothing and eye protection when applying the weed-killer so that you don't get any on your skin or eyes.
3. Plant spring bulbs
Even though it might seem absurd to be considering spring already (it's more than half a year away!), most garden centres will have their bulb displays set up by August.
Buying them sooner rather than later is smart. You'll have the best selection of varieties and the babies will be in excellent shape.
Look for autumn crocus, calcium, sternbergia, amaryllis, and nerine – those are our favourites.
Most bulbs, excluding tulips, can be planted straight away.
If you haven’t got any space in your garden yet, store the bulbs in a dry, cool place until you make some room. A shed would be perfect. Although, make a note that you put them there as it’s all too easy for them to end up forgotten!
4. Damp down your greenhouse’s floor
When it's hot outside, keep your greenhouse cool by misting the floor. As the water evaporates, it will cool and humidify the air.
To promote air circulation, it's also a good idea to open the doors, vents, and windows. Additionally, this lessens the possibility of developing fungal diseases, which prefer static air.
5. Harvest your sweetcorn
From mid-summer onwards, your sweetcorn cobs should have started to ripen. So, it’s time to start harvesting!
To check ripened, peel back a small amount of the husk and prick a kernel with your fingernail.
The corn isn't yet ripe if a watery liquid squirts out. The corn is ready if the liquid is creamy. However, the corn is over-mature if it's paste-like.
Sweetcorn loses its flavour quickly once picked, so only harvest as needed and eat it right away.
6. Sow green manures to fill in empty spaces
At this time of year, you probably have lots of empty space as you clear the ground faster than you can fill in.
There’s nothing wrong with leaving bare soil, though you can make it work over winter by sowing a green manure crop. These are fast-growing plants often sown to cover bare soil.
Green manures have lots of benefits:
- Their roots stop soil erosion
- Their foliage smothers weeds
- They replenish important nutrients in the soil
- They enhance soil structure when inserted into the ground while still green
- They prevent a hard crust forming on the soil
- They will provide bulky pant material that can be dug in before the spring crops go in or can be added to the compost heap
Choose hardy green manures, such as winter tares, clovers or phacelia, and sow when the soil is warm and moist.
7. Clean your water pumps
If you’re lucky enough to have a pond in your garden, make sure to clean its pump!
Midsummer is a great time to clean water pumps.
Doing so will keep the pump working properly and should help prolong its life.
Never wash the filter with tap water, as it contains chlorine that can kill bacteria that are vital to pond life. Instead, clean it in a bucket of water taken from the pond itself.
8. Deadhead your flowering plants regularly
Deadheading is the practice of removing spent flower heads from your plants. It’s an important part of gardening for several reasons.
Firstly, deadheading will encourage more flowers. Removing the dead blooms on a plant allows room for new flowers to grow, which means your garden will become even more pretty and colourful!
Secondly, deadheading will help keep plants looking tidy. If you don’t regularly remove dead or dying blooms, they’ll lay down and look messy rather than staying upright and neat as they should be. It can also distract from blooms that are doing well.
Thirdly, deadheading can help prevent diseases in certain plants – for example, roses. By removing dead flowers and leaves, you reduce the risk of disease spreading throughout your garden by limiting how much debris there is lying around.
Finally, deadheading prolongs the life of summer-blooming annuals. This happens as eliminating extra foliage near where stems emerge from buds reduces competition between stem tips for limited resources like sunlight. When there’s competition, weaker stems form.
9. Have a clear out
August is the perfect time of year to have a good clear-out of your garden shed and chuck any ornaments you’ve got bored of. It’s sunny and dry – you don’t want to be lugging things about in the mud!
But remember: if you are going to throw things away, do so responsibly.
Even if you don't want to get rid of anything at all — and that's okay, too! — it’s always good to make sure everything is neat and well organised.
If you’d like to make moving things around the garden easier, check out our range of trollies and waggons.
10. Have a party to enjoy your garden!
Although not really a ‘gardening tip’, we think it’s important to say: Make the most of your garden by inviting friends and family around!
You’ve worked so hard to make your garden a beautiful, bountiful space. So, it deserves to be enjoyed by those you love.
So, there you have it. You now know our top 10 gardening tips for August.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Although, make sure to remember that gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby that can bring joy to your life. Don’t stress if things aren’t perfect – just enjoy.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there with your spade and a smile!