Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2004
Regional Report

Feed Spring Bloomers

Feed shrubs and trees that will bloom in January and February. If azalea and gardenia foliage is light or yellowish green, water plants with a solution of chelated iron.

Check Dormant Spray Schedule

If you missed Thanksgiving's scheduled dormant spray application, spray as soon as possible now. For long-lasting coverage, it's always better to apply it late rather than wait for the next scheduled time. The second scheduled spray can be made anytime from now through mid-January, whenever you can expect several days of dry weather above 40 degrees F. On apricots, use lime sulfur instead of copper.

Clean Up the Garden

Remove all garden debris and compost it (except dispose of diseased material). Debris left in the garden can harbor overwintering pests. Periodically rough up soil surfaces to bring these pests and their egg cases to the surface where they will die of exposure.

Protect Your Garden Gold

Cover the compost pile loosely with a tarp or black plastic to hold in heat and keep rain from leaching out the valuable nutrients.

Give Your Houseplants a Rest

Don't worry if your houseplants don't seem very perky now -- they're going dormant just like plants outdoors. Plants need this rest, so stop feeding them, and water less frequently. Also, be sure they're not getting blasted with hot air from a heater vent or fireplace. Plants close to windows may get too much cold air at night, so move them or provide a shield between them and the window. The most comfortable temperature range for indoor plants is 65 to 75 degrees, with extremes of 60 and 80 degrees.

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