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Late summer gardening tips

Late summer is a great time to scout your lawns and gardens for problems and perform a few chores to extend your bloom and production time. Our local nurseries are preparing for fall, so with a little effort, you can have flowers and vegetables right up to fall planting.

Tips:

• Prune roses — Prune roses to encourage fall bloom. Remove diseased canes and dead head spent blossoms.

• Cutback summer annuals — You can get a great late summer, early fall bloom from your summer annuals. Pinch back and freshen up with mulch.

• Prune crape myrtles — If your crape myrtles have just about finished blooming and are putting on seed heads, prune off forming seed heads and get ready for another bloom.

• Fall tomatoes — It’s time to pull out non-producing tomatoes. Fall tomatoes are making their way to the garden center shelves — stock up and plant for October and November harvest.

• Pull weeds — Scout flower and shrub beds for weeds. Moist soils make pulling easy. Use herbicides only if necessary.

• Lawn care — Controlling summer lawn diseases is best accomplished by keeping the lawn healthy and stress-free. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization. Water when needed and early enough in the day so foliage doesn’t remain wet over night. Mow regularly at the proper height. Apply fungicides only if necessary.

These are just a few ideas to keep your garden blooming and producing until fall. Before you know it, we will be talking about pansies, snapdragons, lettuce and onions. Until then, take a few minutes to ‘spruce up’, then sit back and enjoy the last blooms of summer.

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.