Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

September, 2008
Regional Report

Refresh Yellow Jacket Traps

Yellowjacket wasps are most active in late summer and early fall when they breed. Traps set out earlier in the season may need to be refreshed with new pheromone cylinders, which are available at nursery supply stores. Remove the top of the trap over a bucket of soapy water, just in case there are any live wasps inside. Then remove the old bait cylinder, replace it with a fresh one, and put the trap back together.

Shop for Winter-Blooming Annuals

While the soil is still warm, it's time to put out pansies, calendulas, stocks, and cineraria. Don't forget to put some nemesia in hanging pots. They will reward you with blazing color when you need it most, during the dead of winter. Preserve good-looking summer annuals, but pull tired zinnias, marigolds, and fibrous begonias and replace them with fresh nursery stock.

Shop Online for Spring-Blooming Bulbs

It's time to start thinking about spring-blooming bulbs. It's best to purchase them early when the selection is good and also so that you have time to refrigerate them for six to eight weeks prior to planting in mid-November. Look for large bulbs that have no signs of fungus or rot.

Cut Back on Watering

Shorter days mean that plants, shrubs, lawns, and trees are not using as much water as they were in the height of summer. Reset irrigation timers and check container plants prior to watering. If the soil feels moist, wait a day or two.

Shower Indoor Plants

Get indoor plants ready for winter by cleaning the foliage with a nice shower. Spray plants with a mild soap solution prior to the shower to dislodge dust, mites, and insect pests. Allow houseplants to dry in a cool, shady area. It's always a good idea to increase humidity in the winter. Dry, hot air is an invitation to insect pests such as mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. Fill saucers with pea gravel so that the pots sit up, out of standing water, which can then evaporate back up, through the foliage.

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