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September 06, 1998|Robert Smaus

Things to do in your garden this week.

Cut back. If you shear dead flowers from coreopsis, penstemon, rudbeckia, Santa Barbara daisy, Shasta daisy and yarrow, these pooped-out perennials may bloom again in the fall. Don't cut them back too severely, just remove flowers and stems and some of the outer foliage. You can even use a hedge shears on coreopsis and Santa Barbara daisies.

Keep dead blooms cut off rosesbushes and in the fall they'll flower almost as spectacularly as they did in spring, especially if they are fertilized this month.

Pick early. To keep crops ripening, pick often and pick early in the day. According to the L.A. Common Ground Project, research at UC Davis has found that six hours before sunrise is the optimum time to harvest fruits and vegetables (especially tomatoes) that are not to be eaten that day.

Water early. Set the timer to irrigate lawns early in the morning so they dry quickly, which helps prevent disease. Fertilize Bermuda, St. Augustine, zoysia and other subtropical grasses so they will stay green longer into winter.

Keep an eye on shallow-rooted plants during September's heat. Make sure azaleas, begonias, impatiens and fuchsias have enough water to get them through the day. Plants appreciate a spritzing during the hottest part of the day, but avoid getting their foliage wet in late afternoon when it can't dry by nightfall.

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