Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2005
Regional Report

Cut Back Rangy Annuals

It is possible to get another set of blooms from your annual plantings if you cut them back while the weather is still warm. Petunias especially benefit from a mid-season grooming. If you don't want to look at stubs and twigs, simply cut back one third of each plant every week. That way you will always have some flowers to look at while new growth is coming on. Personally, I like to get it all over with at once. Perennial plants such as coreopsis also benefit from an overall haircut.

Fertilize Citrus

Provide citrus trees with a midsummer boost to ensure a crop of flowers. Dibble a citrus-specific fertilizer into the soil around the drip line and water it in well. Keep citrus trees watered during hot weather.

Spread Mulch

Tree-trimming companies are a great source of inexpensive mulch. Call your local tree service to see if they will deliver a load of chippings to your driveway. Mulching reduces weeds, moisture loss, and the spread of fungus disease, plus it just plain looks nice in your garden. It takes a bit of work to spread it around, but it beats bending over to pull weeds.

Fertilize Cymbidiums

Cymbidium orchids need a weekly watering and applications of high-nitrogen fertilizer from now through the end of the month. Follow label directions to a tee!

Harvest Lavender

This is what we have been waiting for! Lavender flowers are ready to harvest and hang. Cut the stems individually near the foliage so that there are no stubs remaining on the plant and the flowers have long stems. Don't cut into the foliage! Tie the flowers in bundles with rubber bands and hang upside down in a dark, dry, warm area. Over the water heater is ideal. Dried lavender can be used to make potpourri or sachets or in arrangements.

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