Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Grapes and Berries

Plant grapes and berry vines from now through March. Tips from last year's berry canes should be well-rooted. Cut off the vine above the third node from the rooted tip. Use a slant cut at the top and a straight cut at the bottom so you'll know which end is which when you transplant it.

Transplant Strawberry Runners

Use strawberry runners to renew your patch or start a new one. Strawberry plants that are more than three years old have passed their prime and are best replaced. Avoid locating strawberries where eggplants, peppers, potatoes, or tomatoes were growing within the last three years, as they have similar disease problems. Dig in lots of manure and compost before transplanting strawberries right at the soil level, so roots are buried but leaf bases are not.

Prepare Planting Holes to Accommodate Tree Roots

Roots of mature trees can spread up to three or four times beyond the distance from trunk to dripline, so be sure to prepare the planting hole well at least a foot or two beyond the size of the rootball. Loosen soil and add some compost and manure, but don\'t be too generous or the tree roots will not have to reach out into surrounding soil for nutrients. Instead, they\'ll circle in the planting hole and not anchor the tree well, making it prone to being blown over as it grows larger. As the tree develops, feeder roots will remain somewhat close to the surface, so keep ground covers and construction away from the trunk at least as far as its drip line.

Determining Rose Fragrance by Color

In general, the most highly scented roses are the ones that are darker in color, have more petals to the flower, or have thick, velvety petals. Reds and pinks tend to smell "like a rose"; whites and yellows smell like lemon, orris, nasturtium, and violet; orange flowers smell like clover, fruit, orris, nasturtium, and violet.

Fertilizing Roses in Winter

When transplanting roses, add humus and potash, but be spare with nitrogen fertilizers, which hasten new foliage that's easily damaged by late frosts.

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