An Alameda Garden: What to Do in the Garden in August

Monday, August 10, 2015

What to Do in the Garden in August


  • To get ready for the planting to be done in the fall, clean up your potting area and organize your tools, pots, and seeds.
  • Fall catalogs from nurseries are probably starting to arrive in your mailbox. Take some time to peruse them and order spring-blooming bulbs and other plants you want to add to your garden.
  • Are you ready for the final major harvests of the year? Make sure you're fully stocked on canning/freezing/dehydrating equipment to preserve your crops.


  • You can start planting most root vegetables, including radishes, beets, turnips, carrots, and potatoes, if you can provide enough consistent water.
  • You can plant bananas now in the coastal areas of USDA zones 10 and 11. Not only are the fruits edible, but the flowers are as well.


  • Keep up on garden clean-up. Remove fallen fruit, dead and dying plants, and diseased or damaged tree branches. Watch for fire hazards in the garden, particularly trees that are dead or dying from the drought.
  • Divide naturalizing bulbs such as alliums, anemones, crocuses, irises, muscari, daffodils, and tulips.
  • Divide perennials such as beareded iris, cannas, lilly of the valley, or any perennial that grows from a rhizome. Most need to be divided every three to four years.
  • Cut back hydrangeas that have finished blooming


  • Continue to follow the water restrictions set by your water utility.
  • Remember that most California native plants are adapted to dry summers and can get by with little or no supplemental water.


  • Continue feeding all plants in flower or in bud.
  • Feed azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.
  • Side-dress warm-season annual edible plants with compost.
  • Continue monthly feedings of roses. 


  • Control fungus gnats on houseplants using yellow sticky traps. To remove eggs they lay in the topsoil, remove and replace the top inch of soil then add a layer of gravel or decorative marbles to discourage more egg-laying.
  • Are you tired of your brown lawn yet? Consider sheet mulching all or part of the lawn to prepare it for new plantings in a few months. Check with your local water utility to see if you qualify for a rebate for doing it.

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