Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

March, 2012
Regional Report

Root Rose Cuttings

Rose cuttings root easily, so if you want to propagate a favorite simply select a firm green stem and cut a 6 - 8 inch section just below a bud. As the rooting medium, make a slit in a potato and insert the cutting into the slit. Place the potato/rose on a sunny windowsill. When you begin to see new growth, plant the rose, potato and all, in rich soil with the top portion of the cutting above the soil.

Prune Spring Flowering Shrubs

Always prune spring flowering shrubs after they have finished blooming. Plants that bloom in the spring are producing flowers on older wood. By removing the excess after the bloom, you will encourage new growth that will hold next years flowers. Timing is everything!

Control Wisteria

Once wisteria has finished blooming it goes a little crazy. Long whips form and seem to find a way to climb any vertical surface. Control the size of these ambitious plants by removing the whips as they appear. Keeping wisteria at a manageable size is a seasonal chore. Around midsummer the plants will settle down and begin to grow at a slower pace.

Prune Evergreen Hedges

Prune evergreen hedges such as boxwood or escallonia after all danger of frost has passed. The plants will be going into a growing stage, and it's important to guide their shape and size with frequent tip pruning. Remember to keep the plants wider at the base than at the top to allow sunlight to reach the foliage at bottom. Use a string to guide your shears if you have a wobbly hand.

Watch for Aphids

Now that the days are longer and warmer, expect aphids to invade. No need to use pesticides to control them. Simply washing the affected plants with a strong jet of water from the hose will usually suffice. If you suspect an infestation, release ladybugs in the afternoon after having watered your garden thoroughly. And remember, some birds love to eat aphids so invite them in to dine!

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