Take advantage of sales during August and you can fix a few problem areas in the garden while you can still enjoy the results. Here are some ideas:
- Freshen up tired planters with new color during the summer months. Ward's has larger summer annuals at a discounted price, so clear out those 'tired' or 'heat-stressed' planters.
- Harvest vegetables at their peak - tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers taste great when fresh from the garden. Hanging on the vine too long? Rotting vegetables make an attractive invitation for unwanted visitor--from insect pests who move in (and may overwinter) to fungal diseases that WILL overwinter. Also, some vegetables begin to 'shut down production' when they are not picked when ripe. If you are blessed with too much, donate your excess to a local food bank!
- Pesky summer pests: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water so turn over flower pots, buckets and other receptacles that 'collect' water. If you have a rain barrel, pond or birdbath; add Mosquito Bits or Mosquito dunks. This product is a dried form of a specific bacteria that only attacks mosquito larvae and once dissolved in water is non-toxic to you, me and your pets.
- Stinging insects are making their presence known and they get worse as the season progresses. If you can find the nest and eliminate it, you're a step ahead. Read the label directions before you apply an insecticide to the nest after dark.
- Japanese beetles love the foliage of roses and other plants. Their season can be short-lived, but take a cue; the grub stage later this summer can pose a problem to your lawn. Control involves using Pyrethrin or Neem Oil at the first sign of damage – either spray discourages feeding of these beetles and many other insect pests. Next, handpick the beetles and drop in a bucket or jar of soapy water. Best time is early or late in the day when they move more slowly. Also, Beetle Traps can be useful for large landscapes. They attract beetles so it’s important to place the trap away from susceptible gardens. For long-term, targeted prevention: introduce the bacteria Milky Spore or Beneficial nematodes to attack the beetle larvae in the lawn’s soil in August. This won’t help this year but in the next year and long-term. More about Milky Spore
- Be sure to read directions thoroughly on any product you choose.