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by Lee Vanderpool
First few days of fall and you can barely tell that it is not the middle of summer. Trees still need to be watered daily and, if there is a dry wind blowing, possibly twice a day. You should have cut back on fertilizing your bonsai by now except a half strength application of 0-10-10 on pines and junipers. The needled trees never really go dormant here and require feeding even in the coldest of times along the coast. Begin putting your tropical away for the winter - on chilly nights (below 50 degrees F) bring into a garage or sheltered back porch. Buttonwoods are especially sensitive to cool temperatures and will begin to shed leaves at temperatures below 50 de-grees. If most tropical get too cold, they will drop their leaves but will re-bound if put into a warm sheltered area for a few days. Better not to take chances, though. Junipers can be repotted now but be sure not to disturb the root system too much. Check for insect damage to your trees. Fall is the prime time for caterpillars to chew away on new foliage before beginning to spin their cocoons and go into winter rest. Check for leaf damage every few days and use the proper control for the insect that is munching on your trees. Now is the time to begin preparing for next spring by cleaning your benches, mixing soil, cleaning pots and all those other mundane chores that come along with this wonderful hobby!