Average temperatures in southern California are at their highest in August making it a challenging month to keep gardens looking their best.
Remove Nonproducing Vegetable Plants: We occasionally continue to water vegetables plants that have produced little or no vegetables. By August, most vegetables planted in spring have already yielded a sizable crop. Remove those that are past their prime or have failed to produce. Focus your attention (and water) on healthy plants.
Add Plants That Love Hot Weather: If you want to spruce up your flower garden, add splashes of summer color with perennials that can take the heat. These include California fuchsia, chalk live-forevers (which produce long shots of red flowers), yarrow, lantana and sage.
Deep Water Trees and Shrubs: Most trees and shrubs need a weekly deep watering during August. It is better to deep water (15 minutes on a slow drip) than water more often but for less time. Deep watering forces roots to grow down into the cooler and moister portion of the soil. Water in the early morning hours.
Plant Cool Weather Vegetables in Containers: Wait until the end of August and then plant cool weather vegetables in outside containers. Vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, chard, kale, leeks, onions and Shallots. Place the containers in a shady location.
Clean Up Annuals: Your annuals may start to look a little raggedy in August. Remove dead blooms and stems to encourage new growth.
Cut Back Poor Growing Perennials: If perennials are struggling in the summer heat, cut them back to only a few inches tall. They will start to regrow in fall or early spring.
Rose Care: Feed, prune and water roses weekly or biweekly to encourage flowering into the fall and beyond. Faded flowers should be removed immediately to encourage new budding. Gently prune rose bushes to shape and strengthen lower canes.
Re-evaluate Your Landscaping: Even with water conservation efforts, water costs are still rising. August is a good time to examine your landscaping-decide which trees and plants are doing well without much water and which are not-and then plan to make changes to a more water-efficient landscape when the weather cools.
Tomatoes: Place a second crop of tomatoes in full sun that will grow through fall and ripen by Thanksgiving.
Plant Trees While In Bloom: Select trees for planting while they are in bloom. That way you can see their colors when making your selection. Summer blooming trees include Jacaranda, Magnolia Grandiflora and Crape Myrtle.