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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.

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   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.

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 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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