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In landscaping and gardening, August is a month where things begin to slow down. We are harvesting edibles and weeding constantly but the season is beginning to wind down for the Pacific Northwest. There are still some things to do but, more than that, are things you should NOT do, starting in August and continuing throughout the fall and winter months.


Do

Keep watering your trees, shrubs and other plants, as needed. Remember not to overwater them (refer to June’s newsletter for more details), which can damage and drown root systems. But, August is normally our hottest month so do be vigilant with watering.


Don’t

Don’t add any fertilizer to any plant, from now through the winter, whether they are tree, bulb or grass. Let them all rest. If you fertilize them now, they will have a surge of new growth as a result of all those fresh nutrients. The new growth is fragile and subject to damage, when the cold weather hits (sooner than you think). Protect your plants by refraining from adding any fertilizer from now until spring.


Do

Begin to clear away dead and damaged debris. This can be done on a need-to basis throughout the fall and winter. This keeps plants looking attractive and healthy. Too much debris can lead to a build-up of mold and disease-carrying organisms. Clean up dead flower heads, fallen leaves, branches that were knocked down during storms, etc.


Don’t

Don’t do any pruning now on either evergreen or deciduous plants. If you were delayed on pruning your evergreens, it will have to wait until next year. Similar to adding fertilizer, pruning results in a rush of new growth; that is the last thing you want right before winter! The nights start to get cold in September, with the first frost coming in October. Plants with new growth or, worse yet, fresh cuts, are susceptible to disease, damage and death by the cold and other elements. Protect your plants and let them sit til the spring!


Do

Go to the beach. Set the timer on the irrigation and take a few days away from landscape maintenance. This is a good time to go enjoy the last days of sunshine, while the landscape sits quietly, readying itself for the winter to come.