Cool fall mornings invite you to enjoy a stroll in the garden with a cup of something hot.

Tasks:

• Top dress warm-season lawns with well-composted manure.

• Sharpen and clean tools for fall pruning

Pruning:

• Leaf fall is the time to start pruning — except for apricots and olives, which should have been done in August.

Fertilizing:

• Feed cool-weather plants and vegetables to promote fall growth.

Planting:

• This is a good time to plant landscape trees and shrubs.

• Continue to plant cool-weather annuals and those that use less water such as Classic Coreopsis or hybrids such as ‘Rum Punch’

• Perennials: Lantana, Penstemon ‘Margarita BOP’

• Bulbs, corms, tubers: allium, anemone, Babiana.

• Fruits and vegetables: carrots, garlic, lettuce, plant from seed.

• Annuals: Michaelmas Daisy (Aster novi-belgii), snapdragon (Antirrhinum), calendula, chrysanthemum paludosum.

• Trees, shrubs, vines: Cotoneaster.

Enjoy now:

• Harvest almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans when the outer hulls split open and nuts fall to the ground. Pick up daily or shorten the task by shaking branches or knocking nuts down with a pole. Before shelling, dry nuts in the sun for 2-3 days; properly dried nutmeats should snap in two rather than bend. Use shelled nuts right away, or store in the freezer to prevent oxidation (rancidity), mold, and infestation by ants or small worms.

Things to ponder:

• Overnight temperatures in late October occasionally drop below freezing. Frost protection will be needed for houseplants, citrus, avocados and other cold-sensitive plants.

• Do not replace vinca with pansies in the same bed. A soil-borne fungal root rot affects these plants.

Drought tip:

• Use drip or soaker hoses for cool-season vegetable gardens, rather than less efficient overhead or furrow irrigation.

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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 mgfresno@ucdavis.edu Prepared by Judy Parker, Master Gardener UCCE Fresno County.

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