Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Potatoes

Place potatoes in a four-inch deep trench dug well with compost, and cover the cut and calloused pieces, or small whole tubers, with more compost to the original soil level. Water lightly, just to settle the soil close to the seed pieces. Too much will rot them.

Sunburn Protection

To prevent sunburn damage -- which invites borers and other critters -- paint exposed fruit tree trunks and large limbs with off-white matte interior latex paint, mixed half and half with water.

Last Dormant Spray

Apply the last dormant spray before mid-month. The precise timing of this application is critical -- before the buds swell is too early, and after the blossoms open is too late. The ideal time is when the buds are swollen but don't yet show color. Once the buds open, the damage has already been done.

Spring and Summer Bulbs

Plant bulbs for spring and early summer blooms -- including achimenes, agapanthus, amaryllis, tuberous begonias, caladiums, calla lilies, canna lilies, colchicums, dahlias, daffodils, daylilies, gladiolus, bearded and Dutch iris, sternbergias, tigridias, and tuberoses. For continuous spring bloom later this spring, plant a selection of anemones, gladiolus, ranunculus, and tigridias every two weeks through March.

Pull Baby Weeds

Pull weeds now, when they're small and before they form flowers or seeds, and you'll have fewer weed problems later. Watering the area to be weeded the day before the job will soften the soil and ease the removal of the weed's entire root system, preventing re-sprouting. A handy tool to use to pry up entire root systems is the pronged "asparagus fork" that looks like a bent stick. If you pull out a weed that has already formed its seed head, do not leave it in a walkway. Mulch or compost it, unless you know your compost pile gets hot enough to destroy the seeds.

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