Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2006
Regional Report

Treating Brown Rot on Peaches

If your peaches and apricots have brown spots and either rot or shrivel up, they may have brown rot fungus, especially if twigs also develop depressed, reddish brown, shield-shaped cankers. Remove and destroy -- don't compost -- all infected fruit and twigs. Lessen the severity of the problem on next year's fruit by cleaning up fallen and rotting fruit, as well as any "mummies" that shrivel but remain on the trees. When the trees bloom next spring, dust or spray the blossoms with sulfur two to four times from the time that the buds show pink until the petals fall.

Protect Grapes

Keep grape root zones evenly moist as the harvest approaches to help the grapes fill out and ripen. Enclose whole grape clusters in paper bags for protection from birds and wasps. Excluding light will not affect the ripening or sweetening of the grapes.

Aid Ripening Melons

Protect vine crops like melons and squash from snails and slugs by lifting the fruits or vegetables onto cans, berry baskets, or boards. Also, spread crushed eggshells under each plant; the snails and slugs will avoid the sharp particles. Metal cans speed ripening and sweetening of melons by concentrating the sun's warmth and transfering it to the melons.

Prune Roses Weekly

Continue pruning spent blooms on roses weekly or so until fall, down to the first five-part leaf or a bit further to gently shape the plant. Then, feed lightly, and water. Maintaining this schedule will encourage continuous bloom throughout the season. Water only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other disease problems.

Mow for Healthy Grass

Continue to mow lawns 2 or 3 inches high to keep grass roots shaded. Grass that is shorn too much when mown is susceptible to shock and sunburn. Also, keep your lawn mower blades sharp. Dull blades may require as much as three times the power as sharp blades to do the job, and they tear the grass blade edges, making the lawn more susceptible to stress and diseases.

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