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• Compost lawn clippings and garden plants that are ready to be recycled. Do not use clippings if your lawn has been treated with herbicide, including “weed-and-feed” products.
• Fertilize cucumbers, summer squash, and broccoli to maintain production while you continue harvesting.
• Monitor garden irrigation closely so crops and ornamentals don’t dry out.
• Check grass for grubs and fungus; use granular or liquid treatments if the problem is severe. Before treating lawn problems, talk to your local garden center or cooperative extension service to get an accurate diagnosis.
• Strip tall sunflowers of their branches and leaves, and save them for next year—they make inexpensive trellises for peas and beans.
• Plant new trees now while the soil is warm enough for roots to get established before winter. Trim off dead wood, but leave major pruning for January, when the trees are dormant.
• In times of drought, prolonged heat, or water restrictions, first water all newly planted trees and shrubs, newly planted perennials and vines, and newly sodded or seeded lawns. Annual plants should be the last on the list because they last only one season.
• Allow dried flowerheads to remain standing for fall and winter interest, including astilbe, coneflower, and globe thistle.
• The second half of August is best time to seed bare areas of lawn, overseed thinning grass, or lay down sod.
• Gradually move houseplants that have been summering outdoors into shadier locations so they can prepare for lower light levels. Be sure to check for bugs before bringing plants indoors.
• To reseed your lawn, apply fertilizer and lime (if needed), then apply seed. Rake lightly into the soil or carefully cover with a thin layer of topsoil. If you’re seeding a large bare area, apply a thin layer of straw over the lawn to prevent erosion and loss of seeds.
• If you need to apply insecticides, fungicides, or fertilizers, resist the urge to apply them when the temperature is above 80°F.
• Cut back poinsettias before the end of August to ensure good winter color.
• Check container plants for dry soil and water when needed. Fertilize every other week with a soluble fertilizer.
• Remove spent vegetables and flowers.