Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2007
Regional Report

Mark Cracked Sidewalks

If the sidewalk in front of your house has lifted or is uneven due to surface tree roots, mark the uneven areas with brightly colored paint so that pedestrians have ample warning of the uneven surface. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Encourage tree roots to grow deeper into the soil by occasional deep watering with a soaker hose during the dry season.

Begin Watering Indoor Cactus

If your indoor cactus plants have been on reduced rations for the winter months (which they should have been), now is the time to start watering again. You should begin to see some activity in the way of new growth beginning at the end of this month. As soon as you see the plants beginning to grow, start watering. You can fertilize lightly with fish emulsion to promote a bloom.

Pot Feet Prevent Root Rot

Set container plants up on pot feet so that their roots will remain up, out of water in the saucer. Pot feet are available in many shapes, I recently saw some adorable elephants! They are usually made of clay and are an inexpensive way to keep your container plants healthy and happy. Use the pot feet inside the saucer to prevent root rot, and under the saucer to prevent damage to your carpets.

Plant Spring-Blooming Annuals

While the soil is still cool, plant early spring blooming annuals from nursery cell packs. Calendula, English daisy, fairy primrose, Iceland poppies, pansies, snapdragons, stocks, and violas will brighten your winter-dreary garden. Use a slow-release fertilizer in the soil at planting time to get young plants off to a good start. If you desire, plant annuals in large containers using fresh potting soil.

Prune Fuchsias

Prune frost-tender fuchsias just as winter comes to an end. Pruning stimulates new growth, so by waiting until late in the season you eliminate the danger of frost damage to tender shoots. Fuchsias can withstand severe pruning. Hanging plants can be cut back to several inches from the surface of the soil. Leave a basic, five-branch framework so that new growth has good shape.

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