Continue harvesting strawberries in August
Continue harvesting strawberries in August

August gardening jobs

With summer in full swing, August can be a busy month in the garden. You may find that you are mowing the lawn less frequently than recently as the sun-scorced grass gives up the vigorous growth of previous months, but there's always plenty of other gardening jobs to keep you occupied.

Here are some gardening jobs to do in August - but also take some time to enjoy the garden before it slips slowly into Autumn.

Keep on top of watering to ensure plants stay hydrated
Keep on top of watering to ensure plants stay hydrated

Keep watering plants

If we're lucky, August should be a month of fine weather and high temperatures so the garden may be looking a bit dry. You need to keep an eye on pots and veg patches, ensuring you water when necessary.

Try to use 'grey' water wherever possible, and any water in water butts - though collected water may be running low if it's been a dry summer.

Pots will probably need watering at least once a day, especially if they are black plastic pots that will quickly absorb the heat during the day and dry out very quickly! On really hot days, pots in direct sun will need watering morning and evening. If watering in the morning then water as early as possible - if you water pots in the middle of the day then the newly introduced water will quickly heat up and boil the roots!

If you are going away, group pots together in a shaded area and ask a neighbour to water them if possible. If the pots are going to remain unattended while you are away then you could place the pots in a tray (use something like one of those trays used to put tomato grow bags on) and fill the tray to the brim with water which the plants can them call upon as they need it.

Keep bird baths topped up with water
Keep bird baths topped up with water

Don't forget the birds

It's also important to keep birds watered! If you have a bird bath, top it up with clean water so that birds don't have a wasted journey. And add a few stones to provide a shallow and non-slippery perch to more readily attract small birds.

Keep harvesting fruit and vegetables from the garden
Keep harvesting fruit and vegetables from the garden

Harvest fruit and vegetables

Strawberry plants should be continuing to produce gorgeous sweet fruits, but you'll need to be quick to get to them before the wildlife does. If you can, netting them should help.

Also keep an eye on tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, plums, sweetcorn and other fruit and vegetables which are likely to need harvesting in August.

Keep an eye out for garden pests that may be enjoying your plants and flowers as much as you!
Keep an eye out for garden pests that may be enjoying your plants and flowers as much as you!

Keep an eye out for pests

The garden should be full of colour with flowers growing in the warm summer sun, but the warm dry weather can also be 'good' for pests and diseases, so keep an eye out for aphids, greenfly, blackfly, powdery mildew and slugs and snails - dealing with them using your favoured method of pest control.

Keep on top of deadheading flowers in August
Keep on top of deadheading flowers in August

Deadhead flowers

Deadheading flowers can seem like a daunting task in a medium to large garden, but it's an important part of keeping your plants healthy and looking their best.

Deadheading is the process of removing the spent flowers from a plant before they go to seed. This helps keep the plant looking neat and tidy, and it also encourages new blooms to form.

Most flowers will benefit from deadheading, but it's especially important for plants that bloom repeatedly, like roses. If you don't deadhead these plants, they will eventually stop blooming altogether. Deadheading is also necessary for flowers that set seed pods, like zinnias and cosmos. Seed pods can take away energy from the plant, so removing them will help the flower continue to grow and bloom.

Generally, the best time to deadhead flowers is when they are in full bloom.

Tidy up your hedges
Tidy up your hedges

Trim hedges

If you didn't trim your hedges in spring then they are likely to be looking a little shaggy, so you might want to give them a trim. But make sure you check for nesting birds first.

Plant green manure

As veg patches are relieved of their summer crops it's a good time to reward to the soil by planing 'green manure'.

Fast growing green manures quickly cover bare soil, smothering weeds, and are dug into the ground while still green - returning valuable nutrients to the soil and improving soil structure.

What plants can be sown as green manure?

Mustard is fast-growing and, if sown before mid-September, can be dug into the soil in October. Alternatively it can be left as mulch.

If you are sowing pea and bean family green manures they have the additional benefit of storing nitrogen (a valuable plant nutrient) from the air to their root nodules. But only in summer.

For more information, read our guide to using green manure in the garden.

Looking forward to September jobs in the garden

To get a head start on jobs in the garden for September, visit our September gardening jobs page.