Perennials: Meticulous rose care includes deadheading spent blooms and fertilizing the shrubs or climbers with a complete rose food spread around the base of each plant according to label directions. When deadheading, clip dead blooms back to a healthy shoot or an outward-facing bud. Clean up pruned twigs and leaves immediately, especially if they show signs of disease. Toss in the trash, not the compost pile.
Flowers: Check container plants daily for watering needs, especially when itâ€™s hot. Shear back overgrown plants to encourage new blossoms. Fertilize every other week.
Vegetables and fruits: Continue planting herbs. Basil, dill, summer savory, marjoram and parsley will be a welcome fresh addition to fall dishes. Dry fully grown herbs. Regular harvesting encourages bushy growth and helps prolong the plantâ€™s life by keep it from flowering and going to seed.
Consistent watering of tomatoes will help prevent blossom end rot. Also, avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers, which promote too much leafy growth.
Trees and shrubs: Prune vines such as wisteria and climbing hydrangea, taking off shoots that bear faded blossoms and cutting back nonblooming stems just above the start of new growth. Last call to prune birches, cherries, lindens and walnuts now that new growth is fully developed. Give the yew hedge its annual pruning.
Create beds around trees and shrubs to protect them from lawnmower damage. Keep the beds mulched until fall, then plant them with flowering bulbs and perennial groundcovers.
Lawns: Water infrequently only when needed but hold to the rule of watering deeply.
Houseplants: Pinch plants so that they will be well branched when brought indoors.
General: Try one or two of the new deer repellents. Keep a record of their effectiveness. Deer management is described well at the Web site of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook: www.ecostudies.org. Or concoct your own mix from recipes at www.deerdeparted.com.
â€” Susan Henry