Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2007
Regional Report

Fertilize Succulents

There is some debate about fertilizing succulents -- do they need it or not? If your succulent plants are thriving, no need to encourage them further. On the other hand, if your succulents look languid, apply 1 teaspoon of bone meal to the soil or a mild solution of 10-10-10 fertilizer. Fertilize only in the summer when they are actively growing.

Tidy up

Rake and clean garden beds to remove fallen foliage and debris. Slugs, insects, and fungus spores prefer trashy gardens to clean ones. By removing their favored hiding places, you reduce the amount of insect damage and disease in your garden.

Shape Rhododendrons

This is your last chance to prune and shape rhododendrons and azaleas before they begin to set their buds for next spring. Fertilize the plants with a high-acid fertilizer after pruning to encourage maximum bloom. Remember, these plants have shallow roots so keep the soil beneath them mulched and moist.

Reduce Citrus Fruit Drop

Some fruit drop is natural in citrus trees. However, if immature fruit larger than 1 inch is dropping off your citrus tree, the cause may be improper watering. Citrus must be kept continuously moist during the fruit set and growing season. Use mulch under the drip line to prevent moisture loss. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation are both good ways to apply water to these thirsty trees.

Control Grubs in Turf

To prevent raccoons and moles from invading your lawn, you must control the beetle grubs in the soil. Milky spore is a bacteria (Bacillus popilliae and B. lentimorbus) that can be applied with a sprayer to turf grass to control Japanese beetle grubs. Only one application is necessary, however complete control of the problem may take several years. Using a fertilizer spreader, apply 4 pounds of granular formula per 2,500 square feet of lawn.

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