Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2003
Regional Report

Cut Back Impatiens

You can get another bloom from leggy impatiens if you cut them back to within 3 to 4 inches of the ground now. Fertilize with a 15-30-15 fertilizer as soon as you see new growth to promote flowers and foliage. The plants should last until the first frost with regular care.

Pinch Fuchsias

Fuchsias bloom on new wood. Once the plants have finished blooming, encourage new flowers by pinching back the branch tips and fertilizing with a 15-30-50 fertilizer. Remove any signs of damage by the Brazilian fuchsia mite and do not compost these prunings.

Don't Overwater Tuberous Begonias!

Tuberous begonias are one of the most spectacular flowers of summer. They can stand a certain amount of drought and, in fact, will develop fungus problems if overwatered. Allow the soil to go slightly dry between waterings to keep the tubers healthy. Water only the soil, never the foliage. To get the most from your begonias, fertilize every other week with 15-30-15. Once the leaves begin to turn yellow in the fall, withhold water until the tops dry back completely, then dig and store the tubers, usually around November 1.

Prune Azaleas and Rhododendrons

This is your last chance to prune and shape rhododendrons and azaleas before they begin to set their buds for next spring. Fertilize the plants with a high acid fertilizer after pruning to encourage maximum bloom.

Mulch Around Maples

Mulch around the base of ornamental maple trees. Acer japonica, such as 'Burgundy Lace', will lose foliage color due to reflected heat from nearby driveways and sidewalks. Mulching the surface of the soil under the plants keeps the ground cool and prevents colors from fading. Keep the layer of mulch a few inches from the base of the trunk to avoid fungus problems.

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