theorangegardener

The Orange Gardener

research-based, eco-friendly gardening information from the
Master Gardeners of Orange County, NC
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Tips

Seasonal interest

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.

Bulbs Perennials Shrubs Trees Vines
Canna
Lycoris
Rain lilies
Butterfly weed
Cleome
Coneflowers
Dahlia
Hosta
Liriope
Lobelia
Phlox
Sedum
Abelia
Butterfly bush
Hibiscus
Peegee Hydrangea
Indigo
Rose-of-Sharon
Yucca
Crape myrtle Trumpet creeper

Lawns

Bermudagrass lawn maintenance calendarNC CES: AG-431
Tall fescue lawn maintenance calendarNC CES: AG-367
Organic Lawn Care NC CES: AG-562
Lawnsour page
Toxicity of Lawn Care Products[TX CES]

Fertilizing

Suggested Maintenance Fertilization for Established Lawns in the Piedmont

Mowing

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.

Watering

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.

Ornamental plants

Fertilizing

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.

Watering

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.

Tidying

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

Shrubs.

Trees.

Planting/Propagating.

Divide

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:

Pest Shrub
bagworm
spider mite
aphid
lace bug
black vine weevil
evergreens
arborvitae
crape myrtle
juniper, box-leaf holly, azalea, pyracantha
rhododendron

Fall webworms

Weeds

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.

Manage vines

Vegetables

Watering

Harvesting

Harvest garlic

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
Squash borers
Tomatoflea beetle
Avoid blossom end rot by keeping soil consistently moist and not over-fertilizing.
Basil downy mildew:
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.
Herbs

Fruits

Spraying

Pruning

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 Ideas

Photo 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.

Wildlife

Birds

Most plants with tube-shaped flowers will attract hummingbirds. Note that cultivated hybrids often make less nectar than wild strains.

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Soil Moisture

Colors indicate inches of precipitation deficit/excess with a resolution of 4km.

Alabama State Climatologist Lawn/garden moisture index

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.

Check drought conditions

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Explore

Radio

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.

Events

Duke Gardens
NC Botanical Garden
JC Raulston Arboretum
Hillsborough Spring Garden Tour May 16–17

Inspiration

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.

Produce, U-Pick, Community Gardens

NCDA list
Farm stands, U-pick
Community Gardens
Farmers markets
2015 Farmers Market Schedules
Tues Wed Thurs Sat
Carrborowebsitemap 3–6
Apr–Oct
(mid-April)
 7–12
Apr–Oct
MG weekly

 9–12
Nov–Mar
Chapel Hillwebsite map 3–6
Apr–Nov
(mid-April)
 8–12
Apr–Nov
 9–12
Dec–Mar
Eno Riverwebsite map
 8–12
Apr–Oct
MG 3rd Sat

10–12
Nov–Mar
Hillsboroughwebsite map 4–7
May–Oct
 8–12
Apr–Oct
10– 1
Nov–Mar
Southern Villagewebsite map 3:30–6:30
May–Sep
Durhamwebsite map 3:30–6:30
Apr–Sep
(mid April)
 8–12
Apr–Nov
10–12
Dec–Mar

Locally-owned garden centers

Barnes Supply Co.
Fifth Season Gardening
The Garden Hut
Garden Supply Company
Gro-Smart
Orange Garden Center
Piedmont Feed & Garden Center
Southern States
Stone Brothers

Locally-owned nurseries

Architectural Trees
Camellia Forest
Cooper-Payne Tree Farms
Durham Garden Center
For Garden’s Sake
The Garden Hut
Get Rooted Nursery
Homewood Nursery
Kiefer Landscaping
Lakeview Daylily
Ludy Tree Care
Multiflora Greenhouses
Niche Gardens
Plant Delights
The Plant Lady
Red Mill Nursery
Southern States
Stone Brothers
The Unique Plant
Witherspoon Rose Culture
NCDA FarmFresh
Grow Local Raleigh

Japanese maples, new & rare shrubs, trees
camellias, Asian trees & shrubs, primroses
mature specimen trees, shrubs, conifers, hardy palms
general
general, 20 acre garden
general
Japanese maples
general
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