It is the last month of winter and the first signs of spring are already sprouting in the garden. Daffodils, ranunculus, anemones, indigenous bulbs, and spring-flowering annuals will soon delight the eyes.
There is much to do in the garden in preparation for the warmer months ahead, including fertilizing, sowing, staking, transplanting, and a last bit of pruning. Let's dig right in!
Garden tasks to take care of this month:
MUST DOs this month!
- Lawn care is top of the list in August. Cut your lawn back really short, rake away any debris or dead grass, and aerate the roots and soil with a garden fork or rolling spike. After this, it is important to give your lawn a good layer of lawn dressing.
Tip | Learn more about spring lawn care in the article below.
- Keep tender plants covered until the risk of frost has passed and prune back dead, frosted parts of shrubs and trees.
- Stake newly planted trees and young shrubs to provide extra support against strong August winds. Ensure that ties are secure but loose enough to allow some movement.
Not too confident about pruning yet? Dig into the articles below for pruning tips and advice.
- Shrubs that were not pruned last month can be pruned now. Remove dead and weak, strangely stems, or stems damaged by frost. For more information on pruning shrubs dig into the article below.
Shrubs to prune this month: plumbago, Hypericum, Tecoma, summer-flowering salvias, heliotrope, Duranta cultivars, pentas and lemon verbena.
- Feeding is a hot topic in August! For optimal growth and beautiful spring and summer blooms, feed shrubs, trees and climbing plants with a 2:3:2 fertiliser as they prepare for spring. Apply a thick mulch around the roots and water well.
- Prepare your soil for planting by adding copious amounts of compost to new and planted beds. Avoid digging the compost into the soil as this will disturb soil communities and encourage weeds to germinate.
- August is the perfect time for propagating many plants. The soil is warming up, while the air is not too hot to stress the cuttings.
Not sure how to take cuttings? Dig into the easy how-to guides on propagating from soft- and hardwood cuttings below.
- Overcrowded clumps can also be lifted, divided and planted in well-prepared soil.
- Enjoy your clivias coming into bloom at the end of the month! Give your clivias a good feed before (and after) flowering with a flower fertiliser such as 3:1:5.
- Summer flowering annuals can be sown in the middle of the month in warm and summer rainfall areas. In winter rainfall areas and regions that experience frost, start sowing at the end of the month, or under protection.
- Apply a fertiliser that is high in potassium to bulbs that have finished flowering to allow the bulb to store energy for next year’s flower show.
- Summer bulbs will be available toward the end of August so start planning where to plant them.
- Fill the garden with fragrance by planting lavenders.
- Weeding, weeding and more weeding!
- Diarise the daisies! If you are able, under current restrictions, now is the ideal time to visit some of SA's floral treasures. Daisies in Darling, vygies along the West Coast and numerous bulbs in Niewoudtville and the surrounding area.
- Rejuvenate roses by pruning, fertilizing, and mulching. Finish pruning roses within the first week of the month.
- Also, if you have a rose in a less than optimal spot, this is the time to transplant it. Read more about transplanting roses in the article below.
- Brassica crops like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts are coming to their end - remove the plants with their roots and start to prepare the soil for summer crops.
- Sow summer vegetables like spinach, tomato, carrot, radish, turnips, parsnips, peppers, beans, brinjal, marrows, lettuce, okra and beetroot.
Tip | Tomatoes, brinjals, beans and green peppers are frost-tender so only plant the seedlings out in the garden towards the second half of September.
- Herbs to plant towards the end of the month: thyme, parsley, basil, coriander, and rocket.
- Sow seeds of Cape gooseberries and plant asparagus crowns.
- Feed citrus trees with a general feed, water well, and give a good dose of Epsom salts to citrus with yellowing leaves.
- Feed granadillas, strawberries, figs, mangoes, pawpaw and pineapples with 3:1:5 fertiliser and water thoroughly.
- Apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears will start blossoming this month. Feed with 3:1:5, and water fruit trees as they prepare for bloom in the weeks to come.
Indoor Plant Care
- Temperatures are still low this month so be cautious not to increase watering too soon.
- When temperatures have increased at the end of the month, your plants will start awakening from their winter dormancy so feed with diluted fertiliser.
- Give plant leaves a good dusting or clean to ensure they still get sufficient light.
- Inspect your plants for pests like spider mite, aphids, mealybugs and scale.
- Give your plants a good prune by removing any dead or dangly stems or leaves.
- If you are growing Cyclamens indoors, dig into the care guide below for post-flowering tips.
- Keep an eye out for snail damage, especially to young seedlings with tender roots.
- Fruit trees start to wake up from their winter rest. Spray lime sulphur on peaches and nectarines to prevent curly leaf, before buds swell. Control further (if you had an infestation last year) by spraying copper before a rain spell or every 10 days to cover new growth! Continue until the blossoms appear.
- Keep your eyes wide open for the destructive amaryllis caterpillar on Clivias, Crinums, Agapanthus and other lilies. Inspect bulbs for insect egg clusters under leaves which could potentially lead to insect infestations.
In flower this month