Late August is the time to plant Oriental poppies. They can be mulched with oak or sycamore leaves.
You can prune maples and birches. Healthy pruning after our weather this summer can help your plants. Avoid topping trees, shearing shrubs, and leaving stubs or dual leaders.
This year some plants may be a bit behind (crepe myrtle, in particular) so give them some time before you prune.
Perennials can be fed compost tea.
Do not fertilize raspberries or blackberries.
Roses can be fertilized when in full leaf.
Deadhead phlox, yarrows, and daylilies. Trim brown foliage and discard - especially true for bleeding hearts and peonies.
Continue weeding and keep heart. Our rain has kept things growing and keeping up with weeds a difficult task. On the bright side, everything is green.
Tip for August and every month:
Keep your tools clean. Clean your tools after every use.
Wear gloves. Use gloves for all of your gardening chores. Gloves will keep your skin out of direct contact with toxic plant substances. Remember, when handling peat moss you can avoid a serious fungal infection (sporotrichosis - also called 'rose gardener's disease') if you wear gloves.
Beware of Giant Hogweed. Giant Hogweed is in our area (Fredericksburg) It is a member of the wild carrot family native to Asia and can reach heights of 6-10 feet. It looks like a giant Queen Anne's Lace as it grows. It is highly toxic! Do NOT touch, pull, brush against, or weed-whack this plant. Do NOT handle this plant. Do NOT try to remove this plant yourself. Direct contact with this plant sensitizes the skin to the sun and leaves 3rd degree burns. If you see or suspect Giant Hogweed take digital photos of the leaf, stem, and flower and contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. (photo Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft.)
When the weather is hot and dry, avoid deep cultivation in your flower beds to avoid reducing water uptake by damaging surface roots.
You can freeze herbs in water. Clean, chop, and place in an ice cube tray, cover with water and freeze. Store cubes in a plastic bag in the freezer for use later in soups and stews.