Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

July, 2014
Regional Report

Create a Butterfly Watering Hole

Set a shallow saucer filled with stones in a sunny location for butterflies. The stones will allow the insects to get near the water to take a drink. Empty and replenish daily to prevent unwanted mosquitos from taking up residence.

Dig and Divide Bearded Iris

Any time between now and October is perfect for digging and dividing bearded iris. Remove the flower stalk, dig the plants from the soil, and discard any spongy rhizomes. Cut individual sections of root, each with a fan of foliage, to replant or share with neighbors. Reduce the amount of foliage by cutting it back to 3 to 4 inches from the root. Plant prepared rhizomes in fast-draining soil in full sun.

Plant Perennials

Plant perennials from 4-inch pots now. Nurseries are bursting with a wide selection of plants in smaller pots. This is the most economical way to fill your garden with perennial favorites. Plants planted from 4-inch pots will reach the same size as 1-gallon specimens in a short period of time. Not only will you save money, you won't have to dig as big a hole!

Water Redwoods

Redwoods in urban areas need some special care. If your redwood trees are not under irrigation, plan on setting up soaker hoses and watering every two weeks during the dry season. In nature, redwood trees live in forests with a deep covering of mulch so the soil does not dry out. They also catch morning fog in their needles, which drips onto the root zone. They are shallow-rooted and rely on surface water.

Remove Spent Flowers

Deadhead annual flowering plants to prolong the bloom. A plant's purpose in life is to set seeds. If you remove the faded flowers, the plant will try to make other seeds, meaning more flowers. Simply pinch or snip off the stem at the base of the fading flower to remove it.

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