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Garden checklist: Fall color starts with August transplants

Ice Cream Cherry celosia offers late-summer color.
Ice Cream Cherry celosia offers late-summer color. Chicago Tribune

Get in the mood for fall with a change of scenery in your garden. Add some autumn color now – and enjoy it for months to come.

Consider planting some mums, asters, zinnias, celosia or other fall bloomers. Now also is a good time to shop for fall-blooming water-wise perennials. You’ll be able to see what they look like in flower.

Think about spring, too. Scatter wildflower seeds for blooms next March and April. If El Niño really does show up, they’ll be ready to catch that winter rain.

Keep deadheading shrubs and annuals, removing spent flowers so new ones may grow. It will keep the annuals producing flowers for at least another six weeks – and keep the shrubs looking tidy, too.

Pick up after your fruit trees. Clean up debris and dropped fruit; this cuts down on insects and prevents the spread of brown rot. Then feed fruit trees with slow-release fertilizer for better production for next year. Always deep water your trees before feeding.

To prolong bloom into fall, feed begonias, fuchsias, annuals and container plants. Again, remember to 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.

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