Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

June, 2008
Regional Report

Avoid Rootbound Transplants

Choose transplants that aren't rootbound. In this hot weather confined roots can't spread out fast enough to absorb enough moisture and nutrients to survive summer heat. They frequently wilt or die. If your only choice is rootbound transplants, just gently loosen the roots and spread them deeply when you transplant them.

Use Transplant Foliage to Shade Soil

Transplant seedlings close enough so that the leaves of mature plants will shade the soil between the plants. This will keep plant roots cooler, reduce weed seed germination, and prevent direct sun from baking the soil. Because the shade will lessen evaporation, you'll have to water less.

Allow Corn Suckers to Grow

Removing suckers that form at the base of cornstalks will not increase (and may even decrease) yields. The extra leaf surface of the suckers increases photosynthesis, which provides more food for the developing ears. However, remove any ears that form on the suckers, as these will take energy away from the main, full-sized ears.

Encourage Roses Galore

Water, fertilize, and lightly prune roses on a weekly or biweekly basis to encourage them to flower continuously into late fall. Trim faded blooms down to the first five-part leaf or further to gently shape the plant. New blooms will appear in about three weeks. This gentle pruning to shape the plant also strengthens the lower canes and root system. Cut roses last longer when cut late in the day, unlike other blooms, which last longer when cut early in the morning. Those cut after 4:30 p.m. will last up to ten hours longer than those cut at approximately 8 a.m. The sugar that the leaves manufacture and store during the day remains in the leaves and nourishes the blooms. In flowers cut early in the morning, those sugars have traveled to the stem and roots during the night, so there's little left in the leaves to feed the blooms.

Water Plants Deeply

Water the garden deeply every week or two, depending on how consistently hot the weather has been and whether plant roots have grown deep into the soil. Tomatoes and other large plants in clay loam soil use about 1 foot of water in three days of hot, dry weather. Some wilting of foliage at the end of a hot, dry day is to be expected, but wilting through to the following morning indicates the immediate need for a deep watering for the roots.

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