Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2010
Regional Report

Fertilize Cymbidiums

Cymbidium orchids are cheap dates. They don't require any fancy fertilizer, but they do demand to be fed on a regular basis. Use anything you have on hand and fertilize at least once a month during the dormant season for spectacular blooms next spring.

Pull Weeds from Container Plants

If you haven't checked your container plants recently, you might be surprised to find a lovely crop of weeds growing there, especially if the containers are near bird feeders. Weeds rob nutrients from desirable plants. Pull them now, before they go to seed.

Fertilize Roses

Roses should be just about finished with their first bloom. To keep the plants strong and producing flowers, fertilize with 22-14-14 or 15-30-15. Keep the fertilizer at ground level to prevent burning the foliage. Dibble dry fertilizer into the soil at the base of the plant. Add a tablespoon of chelated iron to prevent chlorosis, or yellowing, of the leaves.

Aphid Patrol

Warm weather means that insect pests are hatching. Keep a sharp eye on new growth of roses and other tender ornamentals. Aphids are easy to control. Usually a strong blast of water from the hose will dislodge them. In extreme cases, employ lady bugs for control of aphids.

Encourage Slow Perennials

Give perennials a wake-up call with a nice, smelly shot of liquid fish fertilizer. This low nitrogen product will not damage tender, new roots and the plants will appreciate the lingering affect of the fish emulsion when they finally begin to grow in earnest. Mix in a watering can and apply directly over the new growth. Stand back!

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