NORTH FLORIDA — August can be a tough month for gardening. The heat, humidity, fungal diseases and insects have all taken their toll on our outdoor plants. But there are some things to do now that can make a big difference in your landscape and garden in the near future.
Now’s a good time to clean up your roses for fall flower production.
Many gardeners neglect their roses during the busy summer months. We are having hot, humid weather and as a result, black spot and powdery mildew have been prevalent. As a result, you’ll need to have your roses on a regular spray schedule for these diseases.
Do some pruning to remove diseased and dead shoots and prune back weak, leggy branches. Finally, if the roses have not been fertilized recently, an application of fertilizer is suggested. With some care, you’ll be surprised how well neglected rose plants respond and bloom during late summer and fall.
Now is a good time to force crape myrtles to flower again. Just remove (deadhead) the spent flowers or seedpods, pruning just the terminal seed cluster.
This forces new growth and repeat flowering. It will probably take four to six weeks before you’ll be enjoying a second flush of blooms on your crape myrtle. This technique also works on chaste trees (Vitex).
If you want to grow a late crop of tomatoes but can’t find plants in the garden centers, you may cut small suckers from spring-planted tomatoes and let them grow to full-sized plants.
On tomatoes, suckers are found in the axil of the stems. They should be four to six inches long and have a growing point with several leaves. Sometime this month, cut the suckers from the plant, remove the lower leaves up to the bud and set them directly in a jar of water for an hour or two.
This will start the rooting process and reduce the shock. Plant them in pots for later transplanting or directly in the garden. Firm the soil around the suckers and water them heavily for two or three days or until they have taken root. Pick a good producing variety that has performed well for you.
Now through fall is a great time to have your lawn, landscape or garden soil tested. Contact the UF/IFAS Extension Office in your County for instructions on how to have your soil tested. Use this link to find the Extension Office in your County: https://ifas.ufl.edu/maps.
For more to-do items in your North Florida lawn, landscape and garden, use this link for the North Florida Gardening Calendar: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/EP/EP45100.pdf.