Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2014
Regional Report

Destroy Leaves Afflicted With Peach Leaf Curl

Carefully collect and destroy all leaves affected by peach leaf curl or other diseases. Don't compost these leaves or use them as mulch, as this will spread the disease.

Water Deeply

The watering method you begin now will help or hinder your plants%' abilities to thrive -- not just survive -- during the extended heat of summer. Water just as deeply, but less frequently, to teach roots to grow deeply for their moisture. This way, deep roots will thrive during weeks-on-end of 90+ temperatures, instead of your having to be out there in the heat, watering every other day or so.

Attract Bees and Butterflies

Encourage bees and butterflies to visit your garden for better pollination. They'll come more readily if you provide their favorite plants. Bees love basil, borage, calendulas, catnip, hyssop, lemon balm, mint, summer savory, thyme, and other plants with blue flowers. Butterflies prefer asters, lantanas, buddleias (butterfly bush), marigolds, sweet Williams, tithonias (Mexican sunflower), zinnias, and other daisy-like flowers.

Maintain Mulch

Maintain a good layer of organic matter covering garden soil throughout the summer. This prevents crusting and cracking of the soil surface, holds in moisture, encourages earthworms, moderates soil temperatures for optimum root growth, improves the soil as it decomposes, and prevents weeds from germinating. A 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch decreases evaporation from the soil by 70 percent or more, allowing you to water less often (but still deeply). Keep mulch several inches away from tree trunks and plant stems, however.

Mow Properly

Mow lawns once or twice a week. Set mower blade height to between 2 and 3 inches. Don't cut off more than 25 percent of new growth at a time or the grass plants won't have enough green portion of the blades to grow well. Keep the lawn fertilized with a slow-release fertilizer just enough to grow well but not so much it stimulates lots of lush, water-demanding growth that'll keep you mowing!

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