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Garden Tasks for August

Flowers and shrubs

- Plant roses, gladiolus, crocus, paper daisies (helipterum), hebes, lavender, azaleas, rhododendrons, violas, kale, bellis, calendula, clematis.

- Remember, if you’re after pink hydrangeas sprinkle lime in the soil, and aluminium sulphate for blue.
Vegetables and fruit

- Continue to plant deciduous fruit trees while they’re still dormant. Look for spots in the garden where they will receive shelter and as much sun as possible. There’s a great selection at your garden centre now.

- Prune feijoas once fruiting is over. Also prune apples, pears and apricots. Avoid pruning peaches and plums in winter because it can spread the silver leaf virus. Prune these in summer instead, once they’ve stopped fruiting.

- August is a great time to plant all the berry varieties, including strawberries. To ensure a good strawberry crop the plants need to have a period of winter chilling. The cold temperature helps stimulate the flower buds which produce the fruit. You can buy specialist strawberry food from your garden centre or hardware store, or just use a good quality fertiliser.

- Last chance to get your garlic in the ground - like strawberries, garlic needs winter chilling for it to grow well.

- Sow & grow carrots, potatoes, sugarsnap peas, coriander, garlic, watercress, rhubarb, cabbages.
Pests and general tasks

- Re-pot indoor and outdoor container plants into pots with new potting mix

- Whitefly and aphids may begin to appear on fresh new shoots - control with Tui Insect Control for Flowers.

- Slugs and snails are the main problems still; they will munch through tender shoots and leaves of newly planted flowers.

- Keep on top of weeds - an easy way is to apply a thick layer of mulch which will control and even kill some small weed plants.

- This time of year, it’s easier to remove weeds by hand as their roots are shallower. If you are going to spray with a weed-killer, make sure to use a non-residual spray near any fruit trees.

- Replace nutrients in the soil that may have been lost over winter with a good fertiliser in preparation for all the new growth in spring.

- When you apply fertiliser to the soil, spread it around the plant’s dripline. This is the area around the soil at the base of the plant where the rain water drips off the leaves onto the soil. Plants often produce lots of roots around this area to make use of all that moisture so if you spread your fertiliser around the dripline the plant will get the most benefit.

- Get ready for spring because it’s not far away!