August is a relatively quiet month for wildlife gardening. Despite the shortening days, the summer heat (if you are lucky!) and humidity normally reaches its peak in August, but thunderstorms also occur more often and this is, on average, the wettest of the summer months, and in some eastern counties the wettest month of the year, so hopefully your water butts will be getting full.
Remember to water plants in the early morning or later evening to reduce wastage of water through evaporation and apply water directly to the soil, not the tops of plants. If your pond levels are looking low, fill them up with rainwater if possible. If this isn’t an option for you and you need to use tap water, do it bit by bit rather than all in one go.
Keep your bird feeders well topped up as birds may be attempting to raise a second or even third brood. For advice on what to feed them, check out our video here. Be sure also to keep your bird baths clean and well topped up, as well as saucers of water on the ground for mammals such as hedgehogs. If you have a gap on a wall, you could try to establish a climbing plant to provide another site for nesting birds next year.
This is also the time to decide where to place the pond or a tree for next year’s wildlife garden. Let flowers run to seed as it provides valuable food for many birds, including finches. Now is also a good time to start thinking about making a hedgehog hibernation house ready for the winter.
If this isn’t enough to keep you going you could also:
– Take semi hardwood cuttings eg. lavender and evergreens
– Deadhead buddleia
– Cut back the established lavender (far better now than the spring) but don’t go into old wood. Do this annually as it keeps bushes spruce and stops them falling open
– Trim deciduous hedges, such as the top of one side, uncut to ensure crops of berries. Trim on a three-year cycle if possible, but try to leave some of the hedge as shelter for birds and mammals
– Now is the time to move evergreen shrubs if you wish
– Mulch the soil to reduce water loss, insulate the soil from excessive heat and improve soil structure
Finally if you are on your summer holidays this month, see if one of your friends or neighbours can keep an eye on your wildlife garden and keep your feeders and water topped up, they may enjoy it so much that they create their own wildlife garden!