Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2012
Regional Report

Irrigate Permanent Plantings

Trees and shrubs will benefit from a deep soaking midsummer. Set a soaker hose around the drip line, or set a garden hose to run very slowly, and allow the water to run for several hours. The purpose of this is to drive the water deep into the soil so that the roots will grow down to find the natural moisture level deep in the earth.

Groom Roses

Roses always need something! If you didn't fertilize earlier in the summer, do it now. Use a slow release product to provide a continuous source of nutrients. Keep the faded flowers picked to extend the blooming period, with the exception of old roses such as 'Cecil Brunner' that only bloom once during the season. Watch for aphid infestations and treat with a strong jet of water or release beneficial insects for control. Fungus and mildew diseases arrive with warmer nights, so treat with sulfur or remove diseased foliage as it appears. Most importantly, talk to your roses. Tell them they are beautiful and that you love them. You will be amazed at the results.

Pick Peas

The pea harvest is peaking now! Our plants are thick and lush and bursting will pea pods. Pick peas while they are tender and before they get starchy and tough. Harvest peas daily, and if you only get a few, add fresh, raw peas to salads or use them to garnish a plate of pasta. If you don't get them the rabbits will!

Water Longer and Less Frequently

I'm not a big fan of lawns but if you have one in your garden, set the automatic irrigation timer to run for a longer period of time less frequently. Try to drive grass roots deeper into the soil so the lawn can survive hot weather and drought. If you are currently watering for 10 minutes three times a week try watering for 15 minutes twice a week instead. You will use the same amount of water but the plants will benefit from the deeper irrigation. If your lawn is on a hillside, apply water only until it begins to run off, then turn off the system while the water soaks in, then repeat until you have put down the desired amount of water in total without losing any to runoff.

Pick up Fallen Fruit

Apple trees are dropping immature fruit right now. It's nature's way of thinning the abundant fruit from the tree. Pick up and compost all fallen fruit to prevent insect infestation on the remaining fruit. If you can reach the branches, thin the remaining crop so there is 6 inches between each fruit.

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