Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Adjust Sprinkler Heads
Check automatic sprinklers frequently to see that they are not plugged and are pointed in the right direction. Brown areas on lawns are a good indication that the irrigation system is not doing its job. Use the manual function on the irrigation clock to check flow and direction of sprinkler heads.
Tuberous begonias are one of the most spectacular flowers of summer. They can stand a certain amount of drought and, in fact, will develop fungus problems if over watered. Allow the soil to go slightly dry between watering to keep the tubers healthy. To get the most from your begonias, fertilize every other week with 15-30-15. Once the leaves begin to turn yellow in the fall, withhold water until the tops dry back completely, then dig and store the tubers, usually around November 1.
Prune and shape rhododendrons and azaleas before they begin to set their buds for next spring. Leggy growth should be cut back. Pinch off any faded flowers remaining on the plants. Rake the area under the plants, then fertilize with a high acid fertilizer to encourage maximum bloom.
Mulch around the base of ornamental maple trees. Acer japonica, such as 'Burgundy Lace', will loose foliage color due to reflected heat from nearby driveways and sidewalks. Mulching the surface of the soil under the plants keeps the ground cool and prevents foliage from fading. Keep mulch a few inches from the base of the trunk to avoid fungus problems.
Water tomatoes deeply and infrequently. Tomatoes have very deep roots and the fruit will develop better flavor if the plants are allowed to go slightly dry between watering. Add egg shells or oyster shell to the soil to prevent blossom end rot. Watch for tomato horn worms, hand pick when found. Fertilize every other week with 15-30-15 applied at 1/2 strength.