Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2004
Regional Report

Sow Wildflowers

Now is the ideal time to plant wildflowers from seed. Clear the ground of weeds before planting to avoid competition. Scratch the surface of the soil so the tiny roots can get a foothold after they germinate. After preparing the soil, scatter seeds over the surface, then just barely cover with fresh potting soil. Water gently to settle the seed in place. Once winter rains begin, stop watering. Poppies and lupines are two varieties that do very well in our climate.

Clean Garden Beds

Pull up and compost spent summer annual and vegetable plants. Rake up and compost fallen leaves and debris from under shrubs and trees. By keeping the soil clean, you eliminate many fungus diseases. For faster composting, chop debris into small pieces.

Caring for Citrus

Citrus trees are setting their fruit now. To avoid fruit drop, don't allow the soil to dry between waterings. Hand-pollinate late-blooming flowers with a small paint brush to increase production.

Continue to Water

Continue watering shrubs, lawns, flower beds, winter vegetable gardens and trees until winter rains begin in earnest. Although plants use less water now than earlier in the season, it's a good idea to keep them watered to prevent attacks from insect pests.

Groom Camellias

Keep the fallen flowers raked up from under sasanqua and japonica camellia plants. If fallen flowers are allowed to stay on the ground, the plants can develop a fungus disease called blossom blight, which causes unsightly brown edges on the delicate flowers while they are still on the shrub. Also, buds may drop without ever opening. Good grooming is the key to success with camellias.

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