Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2005
Regional Report

Troubleshoot Poor Germination

If seeds are slow or fail to germinate, it may be due to old seed, soil that is still too warm or has been allowed to dry out, or seeds that were sown either too deeply or not deeply enough.

Propagate Beloved Plants

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 (the knobby junction of leaf and stem) in damp sand or a peat moss and perlite mix. They should be ready to transplant in two months.

Feed Citrus

Feed citrus for the last time this year, and water trees less 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.

Slow Roses Down

This is the last month to prune roses and feed them for their last bloom cycle before going dormant. Hold off on severe pruning until plants are fully dormant in January. Feed plants lightly and water it in. Continue to water them only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other diseases that thrive on moist foliage.

Tend the Compost Pile

Continue replenishing your compost pile with trimmings from your garden clean-up. Spent annuals and vegetables add a lot of bulk now, along with grass and other garden clippings, and non-greasy trimmings from the kitchen. But leave out plants that are obviously infected with diseases and put them in the trash. Chop up bulky items to help them decompose faster. Layer greenery with a bit of soil and dry matter. Keep the pile moist but not waterlogged. For quicker decomposition, turn it or loosen it up every other week or so to let in air.

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