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By Lisa Lonsdale

With the heat continuing into September, there are things that need extra attention in your gardens.  Your summer vegetables will be nearing the end of their production and many of your bulb and tuber-rooted plants will be overgrown or straining the limits of their assigned space.  Your fruit trees will be producing their last bits of fruit.  Here are some things that you should do this month:

Cut back excess growth on the native plants, such a sages and salvias.  This will control their size for next year.  Only prune back up to a third of their size, keeping plenty of leafy stems.  Over-pruning natives can cause woody appearance and even partial or total death of the plant.

Start dividing your bulb and tuber-rooted plants, such as irises, agapanthus, daylilies, clivia and Shasta daisies.  Lift them out with a shovel, pull them apart and replant them giving them a good watering afterwards.  Do it in the coolest part of the day.  If you have too many, give some to your friends.

Fertilize your trees and shrubs this month and add mulch around their basins.

Plant perennial herbs, such as mints, sages and lavender.

Prune the dead wood out of your citrus and stone fruit trees.  Start pruning your deciduous trees.  Remove the last of the fruit before it drops to the ground.  Add mulch around the trees.

Check your tomato plants for hornworms.

Plant any new trees and shrubs late this month, giving them mulch and a deep watering.

Start seeds for winter vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and edible-pod peas.  Start radishes, beets and carrots directly in your garden beds.

Continue to control ants with bait traps and aphids with soapy water.

Cooler months will be upon us before we can blink.  Your plants will do much better next year with a little more effort now.  Enjoy your gardens!

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