Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2003
Regional Report

Water Bonsai Trees

Place your Bonsai tree in a saucer and water everything, including the foliage. Fill the saucer with water for one to two hours. Never let the tree sit in water for longer than two hours. Watering should be done early in the day so the tree has time to dry out. Once the plant has been allowed to absorb the water, place the bonsai container so that one side sits higher than the other so the pot can drain completely.

Fertilize Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas will respond well to a general cleanup this time of year. Remove any fallen leaves, spent flowers, and obviously dead stems. Fertilize with superphosphate for pink flowers and aluminum sulfate for blue. Or put some of each on either side of the plant for the "dynamic duo." Scratch dry fertilizer into the soil and then water.

Groom Daylilies

Hemerocallis gets ratty looking after the first bloom. Remove loose dry foliage at the base of the plant and any dead flower stalks, and rake fallen debris from between clumps. Fertilize around the base of the plants lightly with a slow-release product, then water deeply.

Fertilize Shade-Loving Plants

Shade-loving plants don't use water as quickly as plants grown in full sun. They also don't use fertilizer at the same rate. A good way to fertilize plants growing in the shade is to use a slow-release fertilizer, which is usually applied directly into the soil surrounding the plant. These products will release fertilizer at a slow rate for as long as three months when the plants are watered.

Pick Up Fallen Fruit and Vegetables

Decaying fruits and vegetables are an open invitation to insect pests. Keep all produce -- including tomatoes -- off the ground. Don't use chemical pesticides on food crops. Spray with soapy water or handpick insect pests if bugs do invade your garden.

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