Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2012
Regional Report

Give Plants a Bath

A layer of dust collects on foliage during the summer months. Unless rinsed off once or twice before the rainy season, the layer of dust can harbor mites, white flies, and thrips. Pick a cool morning and wash the foliage of trees and shrubs with a hose end nozzle set on the shower setting. Don't forget to spray the undersides of the leaves too.

Harvest Zucchini, Squash, and Cucumber

Keep squash plants harvested for best flavor and texture. If left too long on the vine cucumbers get bitter, and squash gets woody and mealy. Provide ample irrigation throughout fruit production.

Harvest Lavender

The essential oils of fragrant lavender are most concentrated before the dew dries from the leaves in the early morning hours. Gather about 5 - 15 flower stems in one hand and then clip, close to the foliage so there are no unsightly 'stubs' remaining. Try not to cut too deeply into the foliage of lavender, as it may never recover. Gather flowers in bundles and wrap stems with a rubber band. Hang bundles, upside down, in a dark, dry, warm location such as above a water heater.

Groom Heuchera

Heuchera (coral Bells) and aruncus (goat's beard) have finished blooming for this year. Remove faded flowers at the base, removing any faded foliage at the same time. Apply a slow release, balanced fertilizer around the base of the plants and dibble it into the soil, then water well to strengthen the plants for next spring.

Build a Watering Basin

Young trees need water for the first two or three years or until they become established. Build a shallow moat around the drip line by pulling soil from the outside of the intended basin and mounding it to a height of 3 - 5 inches in a wide circle around the drip line of the tree. Never pull soil from inside the basin when building or repairing the moat. Once the moat is built, use a garden hose to slowly fill the basin. Allow the water to percolate into the soil, then fill the basin again. Use this method of watering every week to 10 days throughout the dry season.

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