I agree! It’s way too hot to do anything in the garden in August. That’s why I named this segment “Chores” instead of “Checklist!” So, let’s begin our August to-do-list.

1. Bulbs

Thin out the shoots of Canna Lillies. Each shoot produces only one spike of flowers, so cut to the ground any shoots that have already bloomed. This will make room for fresh shoots to grow and bloom which they will do until November in zones 8-9.

2. Lawn

Avoid watering in the early evening because it does not give the grass time to dry before nightfall. Night damp encourages disease problems. Set your sprinkler timer for early morning.

3. Perennials

Prune back overgrown perennials, especially those that bloom over a long period. Common Texas perennials in this category include artemisias like silver mound, butterfly weed, butterfly bush, ageratum, cigar plant, and salvias.

4. Straighten and Stake Leaning Plants

Dig out underground stems of some perennials that have outgrown their allotted space. Pot them up, transplant, or share with a fellow gardener.

5. Fertilize

Fertilize fall blooming plants like salvias and chrysanthemums for their show-off season coming up.

6. Pests

Whiteflies and spider mites thrive in late hot summer. Spray with an organic mixture of garlic, hot pepper, dish soap, and neem oil. Spray thoroughly under foliage. If plants are highly infested, cut them way back but do not put in the compost bins but burn or dispose in the city recycling bin.

Have you given up on gardening in late summer heat?

I grow plants for many reasons: to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.

David Hobson, Diary of a Mad Gardener at amazon.com

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