Here are timely things to do in August:
GET THAT GRUB. Milky Spore comes in a ready-use,
lawn-spreader mix; a 20-pound bag treats 7,000 square feet. How does Milky Spore work? A
few weeks after the first application, the first grubs ingest the natural bacteria and
die; it can take 12-18 months for noticeable results. The decaying worms release new Milky
Spore into the soil. This happens year after year, making Milky Spore viable for 10-15
years. The bacteria affects Japanese beetle grubs along with other common lawn grubs. It
can be used in vegetable gardens and around ponds, wells and streams.
Use Milky Spore only if you have a severe grub infestation; your lawn will brown in
large irregular patches and roll up easily like a piece of carpet. The grubs feed on turf
roots. Adults do not damage the lawn but the females lay eggs in the soil. Do not use
Milky Spore where insecticides have been used. The product does not harm earthworms like
pesticides can. Available at most local gardening and hardware stores. Call St. Gabriel
Laboratories, Gainesville, Va., 1-800-801-0061 or see www.milkyspore.com
AQUA TURF. Fight hard clay, fight standing water in your lawn and garden with Aqua
Turf. This biodegradable, nontoxic liquid opens up tiny channels between particles of clay
so water can work its way deep into the soil. Since Aqua Turf works best in the first 1½
feet of soil, it keeps moisture at the root zone of plants without drowning them. $14.95
for 32 ounces to cover 8,000 square feet. Virginia Beach Feed & Seed, Virginia Beach,
and True Value Hardware, York County.
Aug. 15-Sept. 15, fertilize, using 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
Example: 10 pounds of 10-10-10 or 12 pounds or 8-8-8 per 1,000 square feet of the
equivalent of other fertilizers.
Mow with a mulching mower, cutting only the top third of the grass blade. Grass
clippings left on the lawn provide a third to half of the nutrient needs of grass.
Clippings decompose quickly, thanks to earthworms and soil micro-organisms, and do not
contribute to thatch accumulation.
If your lawn is 40 percent or more weeds, kill off the entire lawn with a product such
as Round-Up before aerating, seeding and fertilizing this fall.
Read the product's label for instructions on how many weeks you must wait before
applying seed; these kill-all products can inhibit the germination of seed.
If your lawn is merely spotted with weeds, spot treat your lawn with a product such as
Weed control: Apply a combination of 2,4-D and dicamba or MCPP herbicide to control
summer broad-leaf weeds, if needed.
Fertilize, applying equivalent of 1 to 1½ pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square
feet; omit on zoysia.
Water as needed; avoid night watering so turf "dries off" before night.
Disease, insect alert: these grasses are not disease or insect prone.
Prune beech, linden, rose, sumac, sweetshrub.
Tip prune vigorous new growth and other vines to keep them in tree form or from getting
out of control. This also helps them set more flower buds on short spur-like branches
along the main stems. Additional fertilizer high in potassium (K) also helps slow
vegetative growth and increases flower production.
ODDS & ENDS
More on lawn care
FAX. For a free fax on more things to do around your home and
garden, call the Daily Press 1-Line, 757-928-1111, category 4760.
Divide and transplant iris. Plant 12 to 24 inches apart, placing them so tops of
rhizomes are exposed and roots are spread out, facing downward in the soil.
To clean oil-based paint or stain off your hands, rub vegetable oil on them while the
paint is still wet.
To clean the spaces between deck boards or expansion joints in a sidewalk, insert a
"screw-in" hook into the end of a broom and drag the hook through the cracks.
The hook pulls out debris you can easily sweep up.
Check and remove suckers on crape myrtles, crab apples, snowbells and other trees prone
Take cuttings of your favorite tropicals and annuals to create stock plants for next
summer's display. Root them indoors or outdoors.
Spray your monarda, phlox, roses, lilacs and other plants prone to mildew with an
ultra-refined horticultural oil to give them a glossy shine and to kill mildew.
Sources: Virginia Cooperative Extension (www.ext.vt.edu)
, The Family Handyman magazine ( www.familyhandyman.com
), The Garden Club of America, Norfolk Botanical Garden ( www.virginiagarden.org ).