August in the Garden
Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive advice, plants, and organic gardening supplies appropriate to our area and the current season.
Provide supplemental water
If we pass 4-6 weeks without at least an inch of rain, established trees need water. Trees younger than two years in the ground need water every 1-2 weeks, depending on the soil, weather, and species of tree. Place a bubbler, a small sprinkler, or a soaker hose at the dripline of the tree and water for at least half an hour or more with a low flow of water. Don’t forget your shrubs, which also need this kind of attention. See How to Water.
Keep evaporation in mind
Any time you water, keep evaporation loss in mind and only water early in the morning or late in the evening. Consider investing in soaker hoses and/or a drip system instead of sprinklers. These systems deliver water right to your plants’ roots, where it’s needed most. This saves on the water bill and reduces the chances of fungal disease on the plants.
Apply a soil activator
If you find that water runs off the soil and doesn’t soak in easily, apply a soil activator to help improve soil permeability. As the heat persists you may need to adjust you watering schedule depending on your soil and weather conditions. Rocky soil will dry out much faster than heavy clay. Your finger is your best moisture meter: dig down as deeply as you can to feel the soil around the roots before watering.
Cover all bare soil with mulch
If you haven’t done so already, be sure all bare soil is covered with mulch, or compost with mulch on top. Avoid putting mulch or compost too close or onto trunks or stems. Pine straw is a good option, as it allows water to easily seep through, while maintaining a cooler ground temperature.
Continue drenching all plants with seaweed
Seaweed, with all its trace elements and hormones, helps plants combat stress. Foliar feeding can damage leaves during high temperatures, so apply as a soil drench only.
Release Trichogramma wasps
If you have pecan trees, release Trichogramma wasps now to reduce damage from fall webworms. These parasitic wasps are tiny and stingless, and they attack the eggs of webworms and other pests. Since there can be three to four generations of webworms in Central Texas each year, try releasing Trichogramma wasps in late April to early May, again in mid-June, and again in early August. The population of webworms in August is usually the most damaging, so you may even want to release three rounds of the wasps, two weeks apart, starting in early August.