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Clean up after fruit trees – or be sorry later

Pick up fallen fruit to protect fruit trees from problems like pests and diseases like brown rot.
Pick up fallen fruit to protect fruit trees from problems like pests and diseases like brown rot. Bigstock

Pick that up! How many times have you heard that admonishment? When it comes to fruit trees, it’s important advice.

Don’t leave a mess on the ground under your fruit trees. Clean up debris and dropped fruit. This cuts down on insects and prevents the spread of brown rot and other diseases that can affect your backyard crop. (It helps your garden smell better, too.)

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.

▪ Continue mulching to conserve soil moisture, regulate soil temperature and cut down on weeds. A 4-inch cooling blanket of shredded bark or leaves will make your tomatoes happier.

▪ 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.

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