Soak in the peace and quiet as late summer is winding down and days should cool soon.
Tasks: Use old vegetable plants and summer annuals to start a compost pile. Add fall leaves as they drop from trees.
Do not wait for a potted plant to droop before watering it, since roots will be damaged by the time a plant shows stress.
Harvest vegetables to prevent them from setting seed.
Pruning: Finish pruning apricot, olive and oleander while warm, dry conditions persist.
Cut back annuals and perennials to encourage growth and rebloom.
Fertilizing: Feed vegetables at only ¼ the recommended rate to avoid a flush of tender young growth.
Fertilize chrysanthemums, asters and other fall blooming perennials for the last time.
Planting: Wait until next monthto plant, if possible.
Perennials: French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), foxglove (Digitalis), coneflower (Echinacea). Bulbs, corms, tubers: daffodil, crocosmia, anemone, freesia. This is the time to choose and buy bulbs for outdoor planting and indoor forcing. Purchase now and plant by Thanksgiving.
Fruits and vegetables: cauliflower, Asian greens, green onions Trees, shrubs, vines: forsythia, cape plumbago.
Enjoy now: Annuals and perennials: Begonia semperflorens, vinca (Catharanthus), coreopsis, cosmos, dianthus.
Bulbs, corms, tubers: dahlia, naked ladies (Amaryllis)
Tree, shrubs, vines: lantana, crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia)
Fruits and vegetables: corn, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes
Things to ponder: Many landscapes have a few bare spots by now. Consider replacing missing plants with California natives.
While daytime temperatures remain in the 90s, drought-stressed foliage can be damaged by applications of horticultural oils or pesticides.
Source: Adapted from “A Gardener’s Companion for the Central San Joaquin Valley,” 3rd edition, currently available from Fresno County Master Gardeners for $30. Gardening Questions answered at (559) 241-7534. Prepared by Judy Parker, Fresno County Master Gardener.
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