Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2014
Regional Report

Spary Dormant Oil

Now's the time for the last dormant oil spray on fruit trees. The point is to have the sprayed material on the tree before the swollen blossoms show color. Choose a day when the temperature stays above 40 degrees F. and the wind is calm. Reapply if it rains within two days of application. For peach leaf curl, choose a fungicide such as Bordeaux mix, which is copper sulfate, a naturally occurring mineral.

Start Veggies

Sow beets, caraway, celery, carrots, chard, chervil, chives, collards, cilantro, dill, endive, fennel, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuces, mustards, green onions, bulb onion sets, flat-leafed parsley, peas, white potatoes, radishes, shallots, spinach, and turnips. Indoors, start eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes as a promise to yourself that warm times are truly coming.

Fertilize Landscape Plants

Fertilize ground covers, shrubs, roses, perennials, and trees with compost, bone meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal, or well-rotted manure to provide plants with consistent and gradual nutrition throughout the season.

Rev Up the Lawn Mower

Time to start mowing but don't be overly enthusiastic! Individual grass plants will go into shock if you remove more than 25 percent of new growth at one time. Keep mower blades sharp; ragged grass blades die back and invite disease.

Catch Weeds While They're Small

Weeds are easier to pull when they're small, and if you can get rid of them before they form flowers or seeds, you'll have fewer weed problems later. Watering the area to be weeded the day before the job will soften the soil and ease the removal of the entire root system, preventing resprouting. A handy tool for prying up entire root systems is the pronged asparagus fork, which looks like a bent stick. If you pull out a weed that has already formed its seed head, don't leave it in a walkway as mulch or compost it, unless you know your compost pile gets hot enough to destroy the seeds.

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