August is the month of laurels, larvae and lawn dye | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

The middle of August provides a last chance to clip and trim broadleaf evergreen shrubs before winter. In Western Washington the most common evergreens for hedging are the laurels (Portuguese Laurel, Otto Luken laurel and English laurel) with their shiny green leaves and Photinia fraseri with red new growth each spring.

If you prune laurels in August the plants will have time to regrow over the pruning stumps before winter sets in. Use hand pruners to make cuts behind the foliage, removing entire branches. Hedge trimmers will cut the large leaves into pieces and leave a mutilated look.

Q. We have a rain barrel to conserve water. Actually it is oval, metal stock tank and it stores lots of water. The problem is we see tiny critters swimming that we were told are mosquito larvae. We do use this water on our vegetables. Anything safe we can spray to get rid of the mosquitoes in the water? C.H., Redmond

A. Yes. Home centers and local nurseries sell “Mosquito Dunks” that look like floating doughnuts and slowly release BT (bacillus thuringiensis) into the water to attack baby mosquitoes. This natural product is chemical free and safe for plants, fish and pets. You can use mosquito dunks in any standing water such as bird baths, gutters or water features.

Q. My lawn has turned brown because I have stopped watering it. I don’t want a high water bill. Is it true that my lawn will turn green again in the fall when the rains return? I need this in writing for a certain busybody in our neighborhood. You can sign me “Dirt Cheap” in Enumclaw.

A. Dear Dirt Cheap – your brown lawn is not dead. It has gone dormant without extra water and will green up when the rains return. You can call it “golden” instead of brown or look into lawn dyes that can be sprayed onto brown lawns. Dye Grass and Spray Green are two trade names.

Warning: I have not tried these “instant green” lawn paints myself but many lawn care professionals rely on lawn dyes like these to keep summer lawns green.

Let us know how they work out for you.

Q. How does one divide Oriental poppies? I was told August is the best time to divide poppies and I have a large clump I would like to share. S.S., Kent

A. Dig into the middle of the poppy patch with a sharp shovel. Then divide the half you remove into half again to separate your large clump into fourths. The Oriental poppies have huge blooms and a deep tap root so make sure you dig straight down to get as much of the root as possible. Dividing any perennial will be easier if you soak the soil with water the night before and do the digging and transplanting on a cloudy day or early in the morning when the roots are full of moisture. Don’t worry if the top growth of foliage turns yellow and dies after the transplant operation. Your poppies may pout or get all dramatic and drop leaves but they will adjust after a winter time-out and be on their best blooming behavior by spring.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Renton March 2020 Youth of the Month
March Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Courtesy of HLN. A screenshot from a preview of an episode of a new true crime show that highlights the Ingrid Lyne case, where a Renton mother was murdered.
Infamous Renton crime to make TV debut

It’s been over two years since a man was found guilty for… Continue reading

Schindler’s legacy bounces along at Baden

CEO of Baden Sports died unexpectedly in February

Photos courtesy of Linda Smith
Celebrating Black Excellence

Local organization honors Black History Month

Alyx Chamberlain, Jennifer Keil and Mario Pilapil, courtesy of Rotary Club of Renton.
Teachers of the Month for February

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                During halftime, athletes and coaches have individual meetings, while parents watch a video prepared by Highlands Community Church for whatever biblical principle teams are learning about that week at the Upward sports league.
Sports that help kids grow

Local church league gives to neighborhood

Local scouts greet attendants at the Renton First United Methodist Church on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Photo courtesy of Patrick Montemerlo.
Local scouts celebrate big milestones

Scouts in Boy Scouts of America celebrated Scout Sunday, a national opportunity… Continue reading

Luis Hernandez. Courtesy of Renton Schools
He didn’t care much for class until his teacher encouraged his photography

Local Renton student’s photographs featured in exhibit in Spain

February’s Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. An annual event, Renton High School students showed off their culture, heritage and interests through the 2020 Renton Multicultural Show, Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 at the IKEA Performing Arts Center. The student hosts of the event opened up by saying that Renton High School holds the event each year as a chance to get their one big family into the room together in “reunion.” Performances included the Multicultural Fashion Show, Black Student Union, Latinx Student Union, K-pop and J-pop performances, Filipino Club and many more.
Renton High shows off its culture

Photos by Haley Ausbun. An annual event, Renton High School students showed… Continue reading