Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2004
Regional Report

Cover Above-Ground Irrigation Systems

Place a thick layer of mulch over soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems. Water evaporates quickly in hot weather, so quickly in fact that it may not even reach the ground if you use overhead sprinklers. Soaker hoses are the perfect way to water trees and shrubs. Another reason to cover the hoses is that they may deteriorate rapidly if exposed to the sun.

Go Easy on Nitrogen Fertilizer on Tomatoes

Don\'t overfertilize tomatoes with nitrogen. The result can be blossom drop and no more tomatoes. Use liquid fish emulsion or 1/2 strength, chemical fertilizer to keep your tomatoes producing through the end of summer. Water deeply and infrequently for the best flavor.

Pull Those Weeds!

Weeds will rob nutrients and water from nearby ornamental plants. Water the day before you decide to pull weeds. The damp soil will help those roots slip easily from the ground. If you don't get the roots, the weeds will grow right back!

For the Birds

Provide a source of water for birds in your garden. You will be amazed at how many insects a hungry sparrow can devour. Think of it as your reward for setting out a bird bath. Keep the water clean and fresh, and place a rock in the center so smaller birds can enjoy a bath too.

Fertilize Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Believe it or not, rhodies are already setting buds for next spring. No more pruning please. Fertilize with an acid food, keep the soil evenly moist, and mulch to prevent moisture loss during hot weather.

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