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Around the Yard

October 26, 2000|ROBERT SMAUS

Things to do this week:

* Plant sasanqua camellias. The best time to plant camellias is when they are in bloom, since new growth closely follows flowering. Right now it is the early sasanqua camellias that are blooming. Sasanquas generally have smaller flowers but many more of them. Varieties like 'Little Pearl' can be absolutely smothered in blooms during a good year. The plants with their stiff growth and toothed, glossy leaves are more formal in appearance than other camellias.

* Some sasanquas are upright growers--almost columnar--while others are low and sprawling. Most are less likely to sunburn if they get a little too much sun. In many ways, sasanquas are better landscape plants than the regular, large-flowered japonica camellias. Look for them at nurseries or visit the Southland's camellia specialist, Nuccio's Nursery in Altadena.

* Plant cool-season lawns. You can still sow cool-season grasses like the tall fescues (the various Marathon and Medallion varieties). Do not bury seed too deep or it will not sprout. Instead, barely cover seed to keep it in place. Don't sow it too thickly either, or it may mold after germinating. Follow the recommendations included in the bucket of seed.

* You can also sow cool-season grasses over Bermuda grass or zoysia for winter green. Some sow tall fescues, but the traditional, time-honored choice is annual ryegrass. It doesn't need to be covered but you can use something like Kellogg's Topper to hide it from the birds. Steer manure is not a good topping because it is high in salts and stinks. The really important thing is to keep the ground moist until seed sprouts. Also remember to reset the mower height, so the ryegrass ends up about 2 inches tall.

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