Don’t leave a mess; pick up after your fruit trees. After the hottest July on record, many peaches, pluots and nectarines went into overdrive, shedding fruit faster than people could pick. Apple and pear trees “thinned” themselves, too.
That fallen fruit just invites problems. A few minutes of cleanup does more than make the garden look better. It cuts down on insects and prevents the spread of brown rot and other diseases that can affect future crops. Fallen fruit also is an invitation to rodents and other critters.
After cleanup, feed fruit trees – including citrus – with slow-release fertilizer for better production next year. Make sure to water the tree deeply before applying any fertilizers.
Elsewhere in the August garden:
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▪ Continue mulching to conserve soil moisture and cut down on weeds.
▪ To prolong bloom into fall, feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants. Always water before fertilizing.
▪ Fertilize fall-blooming perennials, too. Chrysanthemums can be fed until the buds start to open.
▪ Indoors, start seedlings for fall vegetable planting including cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuce.
▪ Sow seeds of perennials in pots for fall planting including yarrow, coneflower and salvia.
▪ In the garden, direct seed beets, carrots, leaf lettuce and turnips. Plant potatoes for a late fall crop.