Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2009
Regional Report

Allow Last Veggie Blooms

Pinch off the last blossoms of eggplants, peppers, melons, squashes, and tomatoes. Plant energy will then be spent maturing fruit that's already set, instead of setting more fruit that won't ripen sufficiently before fall cold (yes, it's coming!)

Last Fertilizer for Berries

Feed and water bramble fruits and strawberries. The size of next summer's fruit is determined this month and next -- to some extent, the more fertilizer and irrigation, the bigger the berries will be next spring. Propagate bramble fruits by bending the cane tips to the soil surface and burying one or two nodes an inch or so deep.

Fruit Tree Attention

Water all trees deeply. Pick up and destroy fallen fruit. Prune and destroy dead and diseased limbs, but leave major pruning until winter. When harvesting is over, remove bird netting -- if you leave it in place, it will become enmeshed in new shoot growth. Rake the area beneath each tree bare, and apply a new mulch. These clean-up efforts will prevent diseases from spreading and harmful insects from hiding for the winter.

Last Fruit Tree Feeding

Stop feeding trees later this month, or the resulting tender new growth will be damaged by winter frosts. The gradually cooling weather and lack of additional nitrogen fertilizer during September, October, and early November will help harden exuberant summer growth to withstand winter's cold.

Root Cuttings for New Plants

Root cuttings of azaleas, ceanothus, carnations, fuchsias, geraniums, honeysuckle, hydrangeas, English ivy, marguerites, pachysandra, roses, succulents, verbena, wisteria, and evergreens -- especially arborvitae, euonymous, holly, juniper, and yew. Geraniums and impatiens make nice winter-blooming houseplants.

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