Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2011
Regional Report

Spray Fruit Trees with Dormant Oil

Now's the time for another spraying of dormant oil for fruit trees, especially if this was not done last month, or if it rained within two days of that application. The point is to have the sprayed material on the tree throughout the dormant season and especially at specific pest growth periods. Choose a day when the temperature stays above 40 degrees and the wind is calm. For peach leaf curl, choose an appropriately labeled fungicide.

Use Grape Prunings to Make New Plants

Choose pencil-wide grape cuttings with two sets of nodes to start new vines. To identify which end is which, cut the bottom (root end) of the cane flat and the top (foliage end) at a slant. Bury the lower set of nodes in the soil or potting mix. Don't be concerned if new foliage doesn't appear from the upper nodes until very warm weather, as the strong root system develops first.

Start Tomato and Pepper Seeds Indoors

This is your promise to yourself that the sunny, clear-skied warmth of summer truly will come.

Don't Prune Spring Bloomers

Wait until just after they bloom. Pruning now will remove the wood that already has bloom buds set inside, stimulate frost-tender new growth, and possibly remove wood that was not truly dead.

Wait to Trim Frost Damage

However much you want to, don't remove any of the dead foliage or branches. Plants may look messy, but these damaged portions will protect sensitive growth further inside the plants from possible later frosts. Wait to trim when growth begins in spring -- you may find that branches which appeared dead are alive and well after all. And, don't feed frost-damaged plants, since it will promote new growth that could potentially be killed by later frosts.

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