Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2009
Regional Report

Protect Drip Irrigation

Place a thick layer of mulch over soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems. In hot weather, water evaporates quickly. So quickly in fact that it may not even reach the ground if you use overhead sprinklers. Soaker hoses are the perfect way to water trees and shrubs. Another reason to cover the hoses is that they may deteriorate rapidly in the sun unless they are protected by a layer of mulch.

Tomato Tips

Don't over fertilize tomatoes with fertilizer high in nitrogen. The result will be blossom drop and that means no more tomatoes. Use liquid fish or half-strength chemical fertilizer to keep your tomatoes producing through the end of summer. Water deeply and infrequently for the best flavor.

Weed Patrol

Weeds will rob nutrients and water from nearby ornamental plants. Water the day before you decide to pull weeds. The damp soil will help those roots to slip easily from the ground. If you don't get the roots, the weeds will grow right back!

For the Birds

Provide a source of water for birds in your garden. You will be amazed at how many insects a hungry sparrow can devour. Think of it as your reward for setting out a bird bath. Keep the water clean and fresh, and place a rock in the center so that smaller birds can enjoy a bath too.

Fertilize Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Believe it or not, rhodies are already setting buds for next spring. No more pruning please. Fertilize with an acid food, keep the soil evenly moist and mulch to prevent moisture loss during hot weather.

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