Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2004
Regional Report

Sow Indoor Herbs

Consider sowing some frost-tender herbs for fresh use indoors all winter long. Seeds can be started either indoors or outdoors now, but they must be moved indoors by next month. This will allow them to acclimate to the warmer and drier indoor conditions before it's too cold outdoors. Quite a few herbs make attractive edible houseplants, including both dark green and dark opal basil, chervil, chives, dill, mint, oregano, parsley (the flat-leaf type is hardier and more flavorful), rosemary, summer savory, sweet marjoram, and thyme. Sow the seeds thickly.

Feeding Citrus

Feed citrus for the last time this year, and reduce watering of trees as the weather cools and the rains (hopefully) take over. Cupped, wilted, or falling leaves signal moisture stress from hot winds, which can occur even when the soil is damp. Provide lath, shade cloth, or other semi-open material for protection. Pale green, new citrus leaves may need a dose of liquid chelated iron or a solution of fish emulsion and kelp.

Rooting Cuttings

Root the cuttings of semi-woody plants, including fuchsias, geraniums, hydrangeas, ivies, and marguerite daisies. Remove all but the top four leaves, and bury at least two nodes (but preferably four or five) on the stem in damp sand or a peat moss and perlite mix. They should be ready to transplant in two months.

Feed Roses

This is the last month to prune roses and feed them for their final bloom cycle before going dormant. Hold off on severe pruning until plants are fully dormant in January. Feed plants lightly, and water. Continue to water them only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other disease problems.

Plant Trees

Plant new trees while the soil is still warm so the roots can get established before winter dormancy. Trim off dead wood and watersprouts (quickly growing upright shoots), but leave major pruning for January when the trees are dormant.

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