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Around the Yard

May 06, 1999|ROBERT SMAUS

Things to do this week:

* Thin fruit. Thinning fruit may be the most painful of all garden jobs, but it must be done. Left to their own devices, some fruit will fall naturally from trees in June, but not enough to prevent the breaking of branches or to ensure that each fruit has the room to develop to perfection.

Make sure that there is not too much fruit on a limb and that fruit is spaced far enough apart so as not to touch when mature. This may require cutting off half the forming fruit on some trees, especially on trees that are young.

* Plant subtropicals. Those plants that need the heat of summer to really grow--such as bananas, gingers, hibiscus and bougainvillea--can be planted now. Keep them thoroughly watered at first and be extra careful when planting bougainvillea; they may have a small root system, and the root ball will crumble if handled roughly. Some gardeners set the plant in the hole and then cut away the pot, filling the hole as they remove the pot.

* Leave bulbs alone. It's still too soon to cut back dying bulb foliage. Wait until it is completely brown before removing it and then cut it off, rather than yanking. If the browning leaves really bother you, tie them in a loose knot, as the English are fond of doing, so the leaves at least appear neat.

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