Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2011
Regional Report

Provide Humidity to Indoor Plants

Indoor plants are beginning to arouse from their winter rest period. Make sure they have plenty of humidity by placing gravel in the saucers under the plants; add water around the stones to half their depth. Humidity is created as the water evaporates from around the gravel. Most indoor plants are tropical and require ample humidity to perform well in the dry conditions inside the house.

Replace Shabby Shrubs

Bare root bargains abound right now. If you have any shabby looking shrubs in your garden, now is the time to replace them. Remove struggling plants, prepare the planting holes by amending with fresh compost prior to purchasing the replacements. If you can't plant right away, heel the bare root plants into the soil in a shady area.

Harvest Citrus

Pick citrus fruit as it ripens. Citrus is ripe when it pulls easily from the stem. Give it a gentle tug. If it holds firm, wait a few days before trying again. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines left on the tree too long will promote disease and insect pests and smell bad too.

Remove Debris from Wooden Decks

The spaces between the boards on wood decks seem to collect soil and debris. Debris prevents the deck from draining which will eventually cause the deck to rot. Spend time cleaning between the cracks with an old kitchen knife or a tool such as the Deckhand, specifically designed for flossing between the boards. Go to www.clearthedeck.com for more information.

Thin Bushy Shrubs

Dense shrubs such as escalonia or raphiolepis require periodic thinning to allow for air circulation in the interior. Cut out a few branches to establish where the main trunk is, then thin as necessary. Don't worry if it looks like you cut away too much, the plants will recover quickly and be stronger for your efforts.

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