Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2003
Regional Report

Monitor Compost Pile

COMPOST WORKING
Keep the compost pile moist and turned. It works fast in hot weather. If it\'s in direct sun, keep its moisture from evaporating too quickly by covering the pile lightly with a tarp.

Spread Mulch

Mulch cultivated areas and pathways with organic matter to cut down on weeds and watering, and to help keep plant roots cool. Replenish it as it deteriorates into the soil. Keep it from touching stems of plants and trunks of trees to allow good air circulation and avoid possible crown rot.

Mow High

Continue to mow lawns at 2 or 3 inches high to keep grass roots shaded. Grass that is shorn too much when mown is susceptible to shock and sunburn. Also, keep your lawn mower blades sharp. Dull blades may require as much as three times the power as sharp blades to do the job, and they tear the grass blade edges, making the lawn more susceptible to stress and diseases.

Prune Flowers to Encourage More

Encourage more blooms by pinching or cutting back alyssum, coreopsis, crape myrtles, dahlias, delphiniums, dianthus, fuchsias, gaillardias, lobelia, marigolds, penstemons, petunias, rose of Sharon, salvias, and verbenas. Prune chrysanthemums and poinsettias for the last time to encourage them to bush out and keep the stems from becoming scraggly by autumn (unless you prefer a droopy or curly-stemmed display).

Protect Melons and Squash

Protect vine crop fruits like melons and squash from snails and slugs by lifting the fruits or vegetables onto cans, berry baskets, or boards. Also, spread crushed eggshells under each plant -- the snails and slugs will avoid the sharp particles

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