We're in the last full month of summer, and there is so much to do in the garden! Protect your yard from heat, drought and fire by following our August Tips of the Month.
Be Prepared for Wildfire: Fire season is in full swing; if you live near the native chaparral, reduce the fire risk to your property by pruning dead vegetation from trees and shrubs, especially near structures. Cut tall grasses and weeds to a height of less than four inches. Check out http://www.readyforwildfire.org/ for more ways to protect your home from the danger of wildfire.
Feed Annuals and Vegetables: Continue to fertilize warm season flowers and crops every two to four weeks (depending on your fertilizer type), especially those in containers. Be cautious when fertilizing tomatoes; too much nitrogen will cause vegetative growth instead of fruit production.
Feed Turf: Give warm-season turf such as Bermuda and St. Augustine a light feeding with a high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Water Adequately: Shallow-rooted plants and container plants may require daily watering during hot days. Large shade trees need deep irrigation on a monthly basis. Deciduous fruit trees should be watered every ten to fourteen days. Water tropical every five to seven days. Water Bermuda grass lawn once or twice a week, and tall fescues two to three times per week.
Replenish Mulch: The addition of mulch improves the soil, makes the garden look tidy, significantly deters weeds, reduces water evaporation, keeps soil temperatures down, and prevents clay soils from crusting. Mulch needs to be replenished periodically due to water run-off, wind, raking of leaves and decomposition. Check mulched areas to ensure you have two to three inches of mulch throughout the planted area.
Dethatch Warm Season Grasses: Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine and Kikuyu typically build up a thatch layer over time. If the layer of thatch is a half inch or less, it helps conserve moisture. Thicker thatch layers prevent water and nutrients from penetrating the root zone. Late summer is a good time to dethatch, because these warm season grasses will spring back quickly since they are actively growing!