Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

April, 2010
Regional Report

Increase Humidity for Container Plants

You can kill two birds with one stone by filling saucers under container plants with pea gravel. The gravel will provide three services; it will keep the roots of the plant up and out of standing water, preventing root rot. It will also provide humidity as the collected water evaporates and it will prevent mosquitos from laying eggs by eliminating the problem of standing water. Use saucer feet to prevent damage to wooden decks.

Keep Bird Baths Clean and Full

Birds are nesting now and we all want to look our best when we are courting, so keep bird baths full and clean. Encouraging birds into your garden is an excellent way to control insect pests. Besides, they are fun to watch!

Dead Head Spring Blooming Bulbs

Spring blooming bulbs such as daffodils and tulips should be just about finished. Remove faded blooms and lightly fertilize the foliage to strengthen the bulbs for next year. Once the foliage begins to turn yellow, withhold water completely. When the foliage is brown, pull it away.

Pinch Fuchsias

Fuchsias bloom on new wood only, so keep pinching the branch tips to encourage lots of new branches. The more branches you have, the more blossoms you will get. Fuchsias are heavy feeders, so don't be shy about fertilizing. Any balanced fertilizer is perfect for these showy shrubs.

Awaken Indoor Plants

It's wake up time for indoor plants. If possible, take them outside and give them a bath. Removing accumulated dust will help prevent future insect problems. Place the plants in a shady location and wash both the tops and undersides of the leaves. Fertilize with liquid fish emulsion while the plants are outside. (It's too smelly for indoor applications, but the scent does not linger for more than a few hours.)

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