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Watch for Brown Patch in lawns.
Adjust irrigation for increasing heat.
Heat makes mite populations skyrocket, so observe your plants regularly. Symptoms are tiny yellow or white dots that stipple the leaves, and in severe cases, webbing. Control with horticultural soap or oil.
Leyland cypress, Juniper, Arborvitae and Cryptomeria should be observed for bagworms. Inspect for tiny worms and spray with BT (Dipel), Sevin, diazinon, or acephate (Orthene). Chemicals can’t penetrate the bags once the worms retreat within them. The only control at that point is to pick the bags by hand.
Keep perennials and annuals deadheaded for extended bloom.
Japanese beetles find your roses and hibiscus quite delicious, but they can affect other plants too. Control by knocking them into containers of soapy water, or spray with pesticides containing acephate or pyrethrins.
Japanese beetle trap bags that use pheremones will attract every Japanese beetle in the neighborhood to your garden. Your neighbors will be thrilled-you won't be. Avoid using them.
Pinch perennial chrysanthemums for bushier growth and more blooms.
Pinch any vigorous non-blooming annuals for bushier growth or to control height.
Fertilize petunias for best bloom all season. A combination of slow release and weekly liquid feed in containers will result in knockout blooms.
If Boxwoods, Azaleas, Camellias and other acid-loving plants develop leaf yellowing, use a liquid iron product according to package directions for quick green-up.
Water newly planted trees and shrubs regularly for the first two weeks after planting, then approximately weekly for the first year, as suggested by rainfall and temperatures.
For all landscape plants and lawns, water as deeply and as infrequently as you can. Daily shallow watering promotes shallow roots that are susceptible to drought damage. Deep watering encourages deep roots and improves dry weather survival.
Fescue naturally goes semi-dormant during extremes of hot and/or dry weather; it can survive 3 weeks without water. Water only when grass shows sign of wilt (footprints will show when grass is walked on).
The most effective watering methods is to water to the point of runoff, turn off sprinkler to let water soak in, then water again, repeating until the root zone is wet. Unless the water reaches the roots where it is taken up by the plant, you waste both time and water. Water in early morning or late at night; late afternoon or early evening is the worst time to water as the grass stays wet for a longer time, encouraging diseases.
Check evergreens for mites and other insects. Spray with horticultural oil. Watch temperatures and don't apply pesticides if temperatures approach 90.
Keep your roses sprayed for pests and diseases!
Inspect any plants you had insect issues with earlier in the year in case there is a population explosion of survivors.
Spray Bermuda grass with systemic herbicide in shrub and grass areas.
August is the best time to divide and replant German/bearded iris. This will reinvigorate crowded clumps and help them bloom better in the future.
Finish pruning spring blooming shrubs by end of June.
Prune climbing roses after bloom. Cut out diseased or dead canes, leaving four or five vigorous, young canes. Next year's blooms will form on shoots that grow from these canes.
Prune Macrophylla Hydrangeas after bloom, and only if necessary. They are best pruned by removing older stems to the ground rather than shortening stems. Broken or dead stems can be removed at any time.
Butterfly bush and Knockout Roses can be shaped any time after first flush of bloom to reduce size and keep tidy. They should re-bloom within 6 weeks.
Finish up any major pruning needed by end August 15. Later pruning risks new growth that is not sufficuiently hardened off by first frost. (Any plant with physical damage or disease to be pruned can be done whenever damage is observed.)
Just in time for summer, some tips for maintaining a healthy lawn through the hottest days of the year.