Below is a simple ‘shortlist’ of plants that are normally in bloom this month or are of interest for fruit, bark or foliage. See Bloom & Berry for comprehensive lists with links to photos and cultural information.
|Crape myrtle||Trumpet creeper|
Mow cool-season lawns (fescue, bluegrass) to 3–3.5″.
Mow Bermudagrass to ¾–1″.
General mowing tips
Travel north–south on one mowing and east–west on the next to keep grass growth upright and to reduce lawnmower ruts.
Mow often enough so that no more than ⅓ of the grass height is cut. Mowing is pruning and grasses respond by redirecting energy and nutrients away from roots in order to produce new leaves, resulting in a weaker root system. Drastic cuts also increase water loss to stressful levels.
Leave grass clippings on the lawn. Clippings decompose quickly and can return up to 25% of the lawn’s fertilizer. If clippings are too plentiful, use them as mulch or let them dry a bit and then compost them.
Hopefully, you have read our Lawns page and properly prepared your cool-season lawn for the heat and drought that is normal for summers in our area. The page contains detailed watering instructions, which differ depending on whether you are keeping your lawn green or encouraging dormancy.Renovation
Prepare fescue or bluegrass lawns for reseeding in September.
Do not fertilize woody plants. Fertilizing now stimulates new growth that will not harden off properly in the fall and will make your tree or shrub more likely to suffer frost/freeze damage.
Most plants need 1–1.25″ of water per week. Because hard downpours can run off without soaking in, plants can need water even after a 3″ rainfall. In a drought, use plant longevity as a guide: water trees first, then shrubs, then perennials.Mulching
Mulch plants to a depth of about 3″, keeping it away from plant crowns, to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
Cut off the faded flowers of annuals, phlox, shasta daisy and daylily to encourage a second flowering (or for annuals, continual bloom). If annuals are spindly or leggy, trim them back by as much as ½ their current height.Pruning
Sow perennial seeds of hollyhock, delphinium and stokesia outdoors to produce healthy plants for next spring. Lay the finished flower stalks of foxglove on the ground where you want new plants to grow or sprinkle the seeds from the dried pods.
Plant lycoris (spider lily), colchicum (autumn crocus) and sternbergia bulbs.Disease
Use preventive measures for blackspot, powdery mildew, cankers, rust and botrytis on roses. Rugosa and Lady Banks roses are generally immune to disease. See the Earthkind trials for other genetically resistant, but not necessarily immune, cultivars. Currently, all roses are considered susceptible to rose rosette, so monitor for symptoms (especially on Knockout® roses) and carefully remove infected plants.Pests
Common pest issues for August are:
black vine weevil
juniper, box-leaf holly, azalea, pyracantha
Monitor bearded iris for leaf spots, soft rot and iris borers. Leaf cleanup in fall is sufficient for control of many iris problems.
One year's seed is seven years' weed. Weed management in
landscape beds is always a challenge and the approach can differ depending on whether the weed's life cycle is annual, biennial, or
perennial. For instance, perennial weeds can reproduce in four different ways: seed, roots, stems and/or stolons. However, as summer ends,
weeds with every lifespan tend to produce seed. Killing or removing weeds before they seed is critical for control. Weed in bed areas either
by spraying or by hand. If hand-weeding, it is easier when the soil is damp. See the link for details.
Harvest Irish potatoes.Planting
Transplant broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants in mid-August.
Plant beets, Chinese cabbage, cucumber, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, radish, rutabaga, spinach, squash and turnip.Problems
|Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower||worms|
Avoid blossom end rot by keeping soil consistently moist and not over-fertilizing.
Leaves will look yellow and spores will be visible on the undersurface of the leaf. Flavored basils, such as lemon or cinnamon, are less susceptible. If you confirm infestation, you can report your findings to Cornell Universtiy.
Prune out dieback on blueberries
Prune the fruiting canes of raspberry and blackberry plants after harvest is over. Cut canes at ground level.Figs
Landscape IdeasPhoto tours of the JC Raulston Arboretum
Floppy baptisias? Disappointing heucheras? Disappearing echinacea? Mildewed monarda? See which cultivars perform best in the Piedmont. The Mt. Cuba center is also beginning trials to determine which plants provide the most nutritional pollen and nectar for pollinators.
Most plants with tube-shaped flowers will attract hummingbirds. Note that cultivated hybrids often make less nectar than wild strains.
Colors indicate inches of precipitation deficit/excess with a resolution of 4km.
This live feed maps the difference between recent garden-effective precipitation and the amount normally adequate for the time of year. Soil water-holding capacity is not considered, but the index still provides a good idea of current soil moisture.
Our radio show features stories that explore gardening in our region, the intersection of horticulture and innovation, and the people
who are leading the way.
— Durham Master Gardeners
Getting Dirty is wonderful and unique! It is the first radio show in the country to be produced solely by Master Gardener volunteers. You can listen live on Tuesdays at 2pm on WCOM FM 103.5 or use the link to stream, subscribe in iTunes and read transcripts.
Our custom map is a handy guide to the Triangle’s natural beauty and fine public gardens. Placemark balloons give site highlights and, where applicable, trail maps, plant checklists, etc.
State parks and natural areas
Triangle Land Conservancy
Greenways trails in Chapel Hill
Orange County parks with gardens or trails
Gardens and arboreta in Orange County
Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden 120 S Estes Dr
Produce, U-Pick, Community Gardens
|Chapel Hillwebsite map||
|Eno Riverwebsite map||
MG 3rd Sat
|Southern Villagewebsite map||
Locally-owned garden centers
Cooper-Payne Tree Farms
Durham Garden Center
For Garden’s Sake
The Garden Hut
Get Rooted Nursery
Ludy Tree Care
The Plant Lady
Red Mill Nursery
The Unique Plant
Witherspoon Rose Culture
Grow Local Raleigh
Japanese maples, new & rare shrubs, trees
camellias, Asian trees & shrubs, primroses
mature specimen trees, shrubs, conifers, hardy palms
general, 20 acre garden
Japanese maples, conifers, aquatics
mature field-grown daylilies adapted to our area
locally grown mature Japanese Maples
premium annuals, vegetables, mums, poinsettias, pansies
natives, display garden
new & rare perennials
5715 Guess Rd, Rougemont, 919.644.0087
large nursery, perennials, woodies, many B&B trees
general, Japanese maples
general & aquatics
Japanese maples, new & rare plants, display garden
roses, some perennials, display garden
search by county or region, type of plant, etc.
NC nurseries used by these garden centers
Sources for mulch, topsoil & compost
B & B Top Soil Mine
JV Brockwell Trucking
Can Do Landscape Materials
HL Harrelson & Son Bark Plant
Piedmont Feed & Garden Center
Poultry Villa Landscaping-Supply
The Rock Shop certified compost