Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2012
Regional Report

Container Irrigation Tips

Provide regular water for container plants during the summer months. Allowing plants to wilt is stressful to them. If you use a drip system, make sure that the entire surface of the pot is being covered by installing enough emitters. Fill pots to the rim with water when the soil is dry to the touch one inch below the surface. Feel with your fingers if you are unsure. Keep the surface of the soil cultivated to ensure that water is soaking in, not just running down the sides of the soil ball.

Fertilize Early Blooming Perennials

Established perennial plants such as agapanthus, strelitzia, and dietes will appreciate an application of a slow-release, balanced fertilizer. Blooming plants require potassium and phosphorus to set flowers. Dibble the fertilizer into the soil around the roots and water well for best results.

Care for Roses

Keep roses watered and watch for aphid infestations. Water deeply and infrequently to promote strong root growth. If you spot aphids on the leaves, simply wash them off in the morning hours with a strong jet of water. Do not wet the foliage of roses after ten in the morning to help prevent fungus disease from spreading. Also, remove any new growth from the center of the plant that might constrict air circulation.

Calcium for Tomatoes

Blossom end rot is a physiological disorder that makes the bottom of the tomato fruit turn brown. It's a result of too little calcium uptake by the plant. Sometimes this is due to lack of calcium in the soil, but often it's caused fluctuating soil moisture interfering with the uptake. To provide calcium, mix commercially available oyster shell lime or crushed egg shells into the soil at planting time, and maintain an adequate and consistent supply of water to prevent problems.

Care for Bearded Iris

Remove faded flower stalks at the base of the plant. Once flowering has finished, cultivate the soil and add a layer of compost over the rhizomes to feed them up for next year. Keep the plants well watered until the foliage begins to go brown later in the summer. At that point, withhold water and dig and divide if necessary. Irises should be divided when clumps become overgrown or are no longer producing blooms during the flowering season.

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