Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2005
Regional Report

Fertilize Indoor Plants

It's time to give your houseplants a wake-up call. Give them a bath, a bit of mild fertilizer, and repot, if necessary, before the active growing season begins. Check the undersides of the leaves for insects, and treat with insecticidal soap if you see any pests.

Mulch Garden Beds

Cover garden beds with a layer of organic compost prior to planting your spring vegetable garden. The compost will enrich the soil and inhibit weed growth until it's time to plant. Wait until the soil is warm in another month to plant summer vegetables.

Clean Up Camellias

There are camellias out there suffering! I see them every day. Fallen blossoms harbor a fungus disease called petal blight, and unless the faded flowers are raked up and removed, the disease will become impossible to control.

Mow, Mow, Mow!

Although it\'s wet, get out there and mow your lawn. Rainy weather and longer days have encouraged grass to grow. If you wait too long, you\'ll have a devil of a time getting the mower through the grass. To prevent the spread of fungus diseases, such as dollar spot and fairy ring, rinse the bell housing of the mower with a 10 percent bleach solution between mowings.

Last Call for Pruning

This is the last call for dormant-season pruning. Sap will be starting to rise soon, and cutting hard will cause trauma to deciduous plants, such as fruit trees and lilacs. I once knew a walnut tree that bled for two months after being pruned too late in the season. Use sharp shears and remove fallen debris from under deciduous plants to prevent fungus disease.

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