Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

August, 2003
Regional Report

Fertilize Now for Spring Bloom

Feed azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons an acid fertilizer for the last time this year, to help them set buds for early spring bloom. Continue feeding begonias, fuchsias, and summer annuals. Feed mums until their buds begin to show color and open.

Trim Perennials

Remove faded blooms of perennials like coreopsis, Shasta daisies, delphiniums, penstemons, and yarrow. Cut them back to within 6 inches of the soil, and they may bloom again in the fall. Divide clumps that are too large or when they haven\'t bloomed much. Sidedress the plants with bonemeal and compost, and water in.

Clip and Clean for More Bloom

Encourage longer blooming periods by removing mature flowers and seedpods of coreopsis, cosmos, gaillardia, marigolds, and zinnias. Increase bloom size of chrysanthemums and dahlias by removing half of the new buds. Prolong fuchsia blooms by picking off the faded flowers, yellowed leaves, and fruits. Trim back stems to force side branching and flowering, and fertilize and water them well. Prune summer-blooming shrubs when they've finished flowering. Shape hedges for the last time this season. Continue gently shaping roses after pruning suckers, unwanted branches, and spent blooms; cultivate manure, bonemeal, and cottonseed meal into the top 3 inches of soil, and water deeply.

Stop Feeding Trees

Stop feeding trees at the end of the month, or the resulting tender new growth will be damaged by winter frosts. The gradually cooling weather and lack of additional nitrogen fertilizer during September, October, and early November will help harden exuberant summer growth to withstand winter's cold.

Hose Off Spider Mites

Red spider mites thrive in hot, dry weather. Hose them off from roses, evergreens, shrubs, and ivy. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the undersides of leaves.


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