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August Gardening Tips

*Colorful plastic golf tees can be stuck in the ground to mark the location of dormant plants such as spring bulbs or perennials.

*Keep tall flowers staked and cut out dead flower stalks.

*Disbudding chrysanthemums produces larger blooms. Most mums, except spray types, respond well to disbudding.

*Since container-grown plants have a limited area from which to absorb water, plants in a sunny location may require watering several times a week. Check plants often to avoid water stress.

*Cut strawflowers intended for dried flower arrangements when the blooms are only half open. Tie small bundles of the flowers together and hang them upside down in a well ventilated place to dry.

*Check on water needs of hanging baskets daily in the summer. Wind and sun dry them much more quickly than other containers.

*Clean up fallen rose and peony leaves. They can harbor disease and insect pests over the winter if allowed to remain on the ground.

*Pinch off onion flower buds from the top of the plants to direct all of the plant's energy into the developing bulb instead of seed production.

*Mound soil over the lateral or brace roots of corn stalks for extra support against strong winds.

*Pick summer squash and zucchini every day or two to keep the plants producing.

*Remove old plants which have stopped producing to eliminate a shelter for insects and disease organisms.

*Water the garden early in the day so plants can absorb the moisture before the hot sun dries the soil. Early watering also insures that the foliage dries before night. Wet foliage at night increases susceptibility to fungus diseases.

*Many herbs self-sow if the flowers are not removed. Dill produce seeds that fall around the parent plant and come up as volunteers the following spring.

*To reduce the number of pests on your fruit tree for the coming year, pick up and destroy all fallen fruit.

*Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is used by many gardeners to protect cole crops from chewing caterpillars.

*White flies are attracted to yellow, so use yellow sticky boards to reduce their populations.

*Every weed that produces seed means more trouble next year. Control weeds before they go to seed.

*Do not add weeds with mature seed heads to the compost pile. Many weed seeds can remain viable and germinate next year when the compost is used.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office