Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2010
Regional Report

Too-Heavily Laden Fruit Branches

Prop up fruit-laden tree branches so that the weight doesn't break the branches. Better yet, remove some of the fruit so they won't touch when fully mature. Even at this late date, this will help the tree produce bigger and more tasty fruit in the ones that are left.

Pruning Roses

Continue pruning spent blooms on roses weekly or so until fall, down to the first five-part leaf or a bit further to gently shape the plant. Then, feed lightly, and water. Maintaining this schedule will encourage continuous bloom throughout the season. Water only in the mornings to lessen mildew and other disease problems.

Divide Iris

Dig and divide bearded iris clumps if they're crowding each other or didn't bloom too much last spring. Break off and discard the older central rhizomes that have no foliage. Let the young, healthy rhizomes dry out of the direct sun for several hours so a callus forms over the break before replanting it. On rhizomes with foliage, clip roots to two inches in length, remove individual dry leaves, and clip the rest to about an eight-inch fan. Dig compost and bonemeal into the top six inches of soil. Replant the rhizomes a foot apart but deep enough only to barely cover the rhizome with soil. Water them in.

Pinching Back

Encourage repeat blooming by pinching or cutting back alyssum, coreopsis, crape myrtles, dahlias, delphiniums, dianthus, fuchsias, gaillardias, lobelia, marigolds, penstemons, petunias, rose of Sharon, salvias, and verbenas. Prune chrysanthemums and poinsettias for the last time to encourage them to bush out and keep the stems from becoming scraggly by autumn--unless you prefer a droopy or curly-stemmed display.

Root Cuttings

Root cuttings of azaleas, fibrous begonias, camellias, carnations, marguerite daisies, fuchsias, gardenias, geraniums, hollies, hydrangeas, lilacs, marguerites, mock oranges, mums, and verbena in a mix of milled peat, sand, and garden soil. Provide filtered light, and maintain the moisture of the soil mix until they are well-rooted, in a month or so. Then transplant them.

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