Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Fertilize Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Camellias
Last call to fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas. These plants are setting bloom for next spring. Clean under the plants, lay down a fresh layer of mulch, and fertilize with an acid food formulated especially for these plants.
Beware Yellow Jackets
Late summer/early fall is the mating season for the yellow jacket wasp, so these stinging insects are especially active. Yellow jacket nests are usually in the ground, so beware when you are working in the garden. If the nest is upset, the wasps swarm. Set pheromone traps and keep pet food indoors.
Water Trees Deeply
Use a soaker hose to apply water to drought-stressed landscape trees. If trees appear wilted or dusty, a deep drink of water will perk them up. Lay a soaker hose around the drip line and let it run for several hours or overnight. Redwoods especially appreciate a late-summer pick-me-up.
Allow Perennials To Go To Seed
Late summer is the time to allow your perennial flowers to produce seedheads. Stop deadheading now to signal the plants that it's almost time for bed (please excuse the anthropomorphism). Ripe seed in late fall is a treat for migratory birds.
Move Woodpiles Away from Buildings
As I write this, Mt. San Bruno, just behind my office, is on fire. Fire trucks have been screaming up the hill all afternoon. It's fire season, so be prudent and move woodpiles away from buildings. Mow wild grasses that are close to fence lines, and remove overhanging branches from roofs.