August Gardening Tasks – Upper Midwest Gardening To-Do List

Gardener Planting Flowers into Ground
august midwest
(Image credit: Dzurag)

August gardening tasks in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa are all about maintenance. There’s weeding and watering still to do but also harvesting and preparing for the end of the growing season. Take this time to make sure your garden lasts as long as possible into the fall.

Upper Midwest Gardening

August in upper Midwest states may include blistering hot days, dry spells, as well as cooler days. The August weather can be pretty different from one year to the next. In the garden, this means that there are standard tasks to do, but you may also have to pivot and change plans as needed.

This is the time of year when much of your hard work has come to fruition. There are vegetables and herbs to harvest and a flush of late summer flowers. While most work is maintenance right now, this is also a good time to put in any new trees and shrubs. Planting them now means they have time to develop roots without the stress of the heatwaves and droughts common in July.

To-Do List for Gardeners in the Upper Midwest

For your upper Midwest garden, think maintenance and preparation for fall and winter. In the vegetable garden:

  • Harvest ripe veggies and fruits to keep production going.
  • Preserve your harvest as needed by freezing or canning.
  • Put in transplants for fall crops, including cabbage and kale.
  • Deadhead herbs to promote ongoing production of tasty leaves.
  • Fertilize vegetables once in August.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of pests or diseases.

Keep up with deadheading of perennials and do some end-of-season maintenance:

  • Divide and transplant any perennials that need it.
  • Stake taller flowers if they’re beginning to droop.
  • Check for diseases and remove any leaves that look damaged.
  • Put in fall perennials, like mums and asters, toward the end of the month.
  • Later in the month, start cutting back on deadheading. Let some flowers stay for reseeding.

Other gardening tasks to do right now include your lawn and grass as well as trees and shrubs. The end of the month, or even into early September, is a good time to fertilize the lawn. August is also a good time to grow grass. If you have any patches to fill with seed, now is the time. If your lawn needs aeration, do it now.

If you have any summer blooming shrubs, you can prune them in August. Do not prune others. Plant new trees, shrubs, and perennials at this time as well.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.