August Chores, Garden Work During Dog Days

Ilona Erwin

Task Reminders

As in July’s Chore list, all the tasks that hot and dry conditions create will be first and foremost in this month: mulching, weeding, watering. When the temperatures hit in the 90’s and the humidity climbs, working in the middle of the day becomes uncomfortable -at the least, and for some, dangerous.

In an August garden it is best to work in the morning, or at the end of the day.

These are informative posts:

General Chores for this Month

  1. Remove dead branches from shrubs and trees
  2. Trim off dead and damaged leaves from hostas, and other such perennials
  3. Late in the month divide plantings and make new starts- keep well watered.
  4. Plant fall vegetable crops
  5. Keep container plants watered, trimmed
  6. Use soaker hoses to water garden beds
  7. Plant Chrysanthemums for fall color


While still fertilizing annuals and plants in containers, it is no longer wise to fertilize woody plants or perennials. Annuals may still be trimmed and dead-headed, but no more trimming or pinching back perennials.

Dormant perennials, such as Iris, can be divided now; and Peonies may be planted or divided.

Peonies must be replanted no more than 2 inches below the soil level- that is from the top of the “eyes” or growing points. Peonia take some time to settle back in, so move and divide only when necessary.

If you wish to see how pretty the blooms of August may be, take a look at the Cutting Garden post or its Gallery- the photos were of an August garden, filled with blackeyed Susans,various annuals, and lilies.
Cutting Garden Gallery
Make A Cutting Garden


If you planted a vegetable garden, it is likely your bumper crops are arriving right now. Pick just ripe fruits of the garden often. Eating fresh, freezing, and canning – and giving away what can’t be preserved! After all, August 8 is National Zucchini Day or as some like to call it “National Sneak a Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day”.

This calls for an arsenal of good Zucchini recipes. Of course, Martha Stewart has a number of yummy ones listed for this summer squash- try a few!

Tomato plants should be in full production by now. Keep the moisture levels of their soil even, water when dry, but don’t overwater which causes cracking.

For more tips for this month:

Summer Garden Tasks August

Important: Keep Up with the Weeding

I know you will feel overwhelmed by the way weeds seem to outnumber desirable plants at this time of year, but go ahead and get rid of as many weeds as you can manage. With the heat and busy summer schedule that can be a challenge.

You may be ready for the advice in this post, “When Your Garden Gets Away From You

Getting weeds out by the roots is the method with most of them, but some, like burdock, can be simply spaded out at the crown, which will kill it; the root being fairly long and hard to dig out at this time of year. Tall ragweed? I simply use a machete or clippers to cut it near the ground.


Have Burdock? One Man’s Weed Is Another’s Medicine

Enjoy this informative video on Burdock, Arctium lappa, if you would like to use it for herbal remedies or food. Who knew that this nuisance plant could be useful for something?


Plan bulb purchasesOrder bulbs
Purchase Madonna lilies
Supplies of bulb fertilizer or bonemeal
Plan fall vegetable gardenPlant seeds for fall radish, lettuce, greens,broccoli and root vegetables.Sharpen hoes.
Get a quality pruner if you don’t have one
Daily “weed walks” around the garden, or as often as possibleCompost weeds, destroy diseased plants. Apply biological controls for pests.compost bin, compost pail is most handy.

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.