Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Summer Blooming Bulbs

Dahlia, gladiolus and other summer blooming bulbs are available now in nurseries. Plant in full sun for best results. Follow planting directions and plant plenty of bulbs for a bonanza of color come summer!

Plant Summer Annuals From Seed

Celosia, cosmos, impatiens, marigolds and petunias will be ready to plant in the warm spring soil in May if you start them from seed now. The longer days will get your seedlings off to a good start. Set the seed trays in a warm location. Cover with glass or clear plastic to hold in heat and moisture; be sure to remove the covering once the seeds begin to sprout. Use a mist bottle to water to avoid washing the seeds around the surface of the potting soil. And remember, the most common mistake gardeners make is to plant seeds too deeply in the soil. Check the seed packet for information on recommended seed depth. Seeds that need light to germinate even need to stay on top of the soil.

Plant Citrus Trees

Plant a Meyer lemon or go to jail! Meyer lemons do exceptionally well in our region. If you have never tasted the sweet, floral flavor of this thin skinned citrus, you are missing one of the pleasures of life! Prolific and hardy, Meyer lemons often have blossoms and ripe fruit on the tree at the same time. Amend the planting hole so that it drains perfectly and protect young trees from late frosts by building a frame, then covering with floating row covers.

Fertilize Lawns

Give lawns a wake up call by applying fertilizer now. Fertilizer high in nitrogen will promote lush new growth, but also may encourage some fungus diseases. Mow prior to applying fertilizer and water immediately after application. Don't forget to sweep walks and driveways after applying fertilizer to prevent stains.

Watch for Oak Caterpillars

Oak Moth caterpillars will be hatching soon. Look for small green worms hanging on silken webs. If there appears to be an infestation of caterpillars that the birds can't control, apply the microbial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis in spray form when the caterpillars are active in the morning hours.

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