The middle of August brings three chores for your gardening to-do list:
1. Now is the best time to bait for slugs. Dry weather may mean you don’t see these slimy creatures but all of the slug eggs that were laid earlier in the summer will begin to hatch as soon as the nights grow longer.
Baiting for slugs and snails in August will keep the population under control for the fall gardening season. New slug baits are pet and vegetable safe so invest in slug control now.
2. Now is the time to dig, divide or transplant early summer perennials such as iris, poppies and pulmonaria or lungwart. Do not move peonies or shrubs until fall when the weather cools and the rain returns.
3. Prune those raspberries. Raspberry plants that gave fruit in June will have yellow canes this month and those can be cut all the way to the ground. Everbearing raspberries still giving fruit can be harvested until they stop producing berries. Then cut back the oldest canes by one half.
Place the entire seed head in a shoe box and store in a cool, dry spot. In a few weeks, shake the ripe seed onto paper and pour the seed into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid for storage.
To keep your roses in bloom all autumn, you should continue to deadhead – remove the faded flowers – from hybrid tea roses and other varieties that are repeat bloomers.
Some roses such as climbers, species and old fashioned varieties only bloom once in the summer. These will not rebloom no matter what you do, so don’t feed the “once and done” roses this month as they can slip into winter dormancy with ease.
Roses are thirsty plants and they will attract more disease and insects if you allow the roots to dry out.