Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2006
Regional Report

Protect Soaker Hoses

Place a thick layer of mulch over soaker hoses. In hot weather, water evaporates quickly, so quickly that it may not even reach the ground if you use overhead sprinklers. Soaker hoses are the perfect method of water trees and shrubs. Another reason to cover the hoses is to prevent deterioration from the sun.

Reduce Watering of Tomatoes

Cut back on watering tomatoes now to promote good flavor development. Tomatoes have very deep roots and can thrive on their own for a week or more. The less you water (within reason), the better your tomatoes will taste.

Care for Rhododendrons

This is your last chance to prune and shape rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas before they begin to set their buds for next spring. Fertilize the plants with a high-acid fertilizer specifically formulated for these plants, and place a layer of mulch around the drip line to prevent brown edges on the leaves.

Pinch Fuchsias

Keep fuchsias pinched back to prolong bloom. Fuchsias bloom on new wood only. The formation of seed will signal the plant to stop blooming. Keeping the branches tipped will promote bushy growth and multiple blooms. Use a 0-10-10 fertilizer, and keep the soil moist.

Create a Birdbath

Provide a source of water for birds in your garden. You will be amazed at how many insects a hungry sparrow can devour. Think of it as your reward for setting out a birdbath. Keep the water clean and fresh, and place a rock in the center so smaller birds can enjoy a bath too.

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