Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2004
Regional Report

Cut Back Leggy Annuals

It is possible to get another set of blooms from your annual plantings if you cut them back while the weather is still warm. Petunias especially benefit from a midseason grooming. If you don\'t want to look at stubs and twigs, simply cut back one third of each plant every week. That way you will always have some flowers to look at while new growth is coming on. Personally, I like to get it all over with at once. Perennial plants such as coreopsis also benefit from an over all haircut.

Fertilize Citrus

Provide citrus trees with a midsummer boost to ensure a crop of flowers. Dibble a citrus-specific fertilizer into the soil around the drip line and water it in well. Keep citrus trees watered during hot weather.

Mulch to Prevent Moisture Loss

Tree-trimming companies are a great source of inexpensive (or even better, free) mulch. Call your local tree service to see if they will deliver a load of wood chips to your driveway. Mulching prevents weeds, moisture loss, and the spread of fungus disease, and it just plain looks nice in your garden. It takes a bit of work to spread it around, but it beats bending over to pull weeds.

Pinch Fuchsias

Fuchsias bloom on new wood, so once the initial bloom has finished, cut plants back by 1/3 and fertilize with a bloom-enhancing fertilizer (15-30-15 or 0-10-10) to encourage new growth.

Divide Bearded Iris

Any time between now and October is perfect to dig and divide bearded iris. Remove the flower stalk, dig the plants from the soil and discard any spongy rhizomes. Cut individual sections of root, each with a fan of foliage, to plant or share with neighbors. Reduce the amount of foliage by cutting it back to 3 to 4 inches from the root. Plant prepared rhizomes in fast draining soil in full sun.

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