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August Tips for the Yard

Soon the kids will be back in school and with the sun beating down, many of us try to stay cool and only mow the grass when we have to. There are many other important jobs that should be taken care of in your yard as well. Below is a list of activities that will help your home look its best, no matter how hot it is.

  • Order peony roots now for planting in September. Plant about a month before the average first frost, which is usually mid-October for our area. Planting should be completed before the first killing frost occurs.
  • Start root cuttings of woody shrubs and evergreens, such as azaleas, holly, and hydrangea.
  • With a little watering and mulching, most fibrous-rooted perennials can be moved during any season.       Move them in some of their own soil, and don’t let them wilt. Fleshy-rooted and tap-rooted perennials, however, are best moved when dormant.
  • During hot, dry days, avoid deep cultivation in your flower beds. Loosening the soil under these conditions reduces water uptake by increasing loss of soil water and damaging surface roots. Plants often look much worse after cultivation than before.
  • The best time to buy chrysanthemums is in late summer as soon as they become available. For a longer blooming period, choose plants that are just coming into bud instead of those already in full bloom. If you grow your own mums and you want a showy fall bloom, pinch off the buds now; they will re-bud.
  • Take cuttings of favorite annuals or sow seeds in pots for winter flowering indoors. The following bedding plants root easily: coleus, geraniums, impatiens, wax begonias, and fuchsia. Plant calendula, ageratum, marigold, stock, impatiens, and snapdragon from seed.
  • Petunias vary their growth habits according to temperature and day length. At temperatures of 62 degrees F and below, petunias will be branched, compact, and multi-flowered. From 63 to 75 degrees F, day length affects growth habit. If plants receive less than 12 hours of sunlight at these temperatures, petunias will be single-stemmed and have only a single flower; with more sunlight, petunias branch and increase flowering. At over 75 degrees F, day length has no effect, and plants will always be tall, leggy, and bear few flowers.
  • Don’t let your hybrid, annual flowers go to seed. This weakens the plants and reduces bloom. In addition, the seed is not desirable to save because the resulting seedlings usually will be very different from the parent and often of poorer quality.
  • Take 6- to 9-inch-long cuttings of roses for rooting, using a sharp knife. Remove all but the top two or three leaves. Insert the cutting 4 to 6 inches deep in well-prepared soil in bright light. Firm, water well, and cover with an inverted glass jar to conserve moisture.       Be sure the cutting does not receive direct sun, or it might overheat.

Summer may be ending, but work in your yard is going full steam ahead. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Brenda Jackson at Murray County Extension at 706-695-3031 or email .