Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

October, 2009
Regional Report

Cymbidium Switch

Make the fertilizer switch on your cymbidium orchids now. We are blessed with the ideal climate for these exotic natives to the mountains of Asia. To promote the best bloom, plants need a low nitrogen fertilizer, such as 6-30-30 or 6-25-25, until the buds set. Apply the fertilizer 1/2 strength every week until the end of the year. It's best if the potting bark is damp before applying fertilizer.

Rake Under Fruit Trees

Fallen fruit can harbor overwintering pests. Remove all fallen fruit and leaves from under fruit trees now to have a healthy harvest next year.

Dig and Store Summer Bulbs

Dig and store summer-blooming bulbs and tubers, such as tuberous begonias, dahlias, and gladiolas, after the foliage dies back. Brush off the soil, allow the bulbs to dry for a few days in a shady area, then store in a cool, dry area for the winter. Make sure you store your bulbs in a single layer on newspaper or sawdust to prevent rotting.

Apply Beneficial Nematodes

If raccoons and skunks are digging up your lawn, chances are that they are looking for grubs. These grubs are the larval stage of destructive garden pests such as Japanese beetles. Treat your lawn with beneficial nematodes. They are not harmful to earthworms, fish, plants, honeybees, or birds. Although expensive, this is an organic control which brings excellent results if applied while the grubs are still near the surface of the soil. Hurry, before they go deep into the soil for the winter.

Fertilize Lawns

Lawns need one more application of a balanced slow-release fertilizer to help them through the cold winter months. Use a product low in nitrogen. Regular lawn fertilizer (36-0-0) will produce lush top growth which is susceptible to fungus disease in wet weather. Decrease the time on automatic irrigation systems.

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