Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2002
Regional Report

Break Down Basins

If you haven't already done so, break down any soil berms or basins around trees and shrubs. With all the rain we have had, you don't want any water standing around the trunks. No need to pull down the entire structure, simply make a channel where the water can flow out.

Top Dress Perennials

Place a layer of well rotted manure or organic compost over dormant perennial plants to promote strong, healthy growth in spring. Ferns, perennial blooming plants such as monarda, coreopsis and echinacea, as well as asparagus and rhubarb will appreciate this nourishing soil treatment.

Prune Fruit Trees

Prune apples, pears, plums and other deciduous fruit trees by first removing all dead, diseased and injured wood. Fruiting wood is dark and gnarly, as opposed to water sprouts which are light in color and grow straight up from the branches. Remove water sprouts and leave fruiting spurs. Remember to keep trees low so the fruit will be easy to pick.

Walk Lightly

Avoid walking on wet soil if possible to prevent compaction. Roots push easily through loose soil but struggle if the soil is compacted. If you must walk on your planting beds, place temporary walkways made of plywood or stepping stones in the areas where your feet fall.

Care for Indoor Plants

Your house plants are still resting for the winter. Continue to allow them to dry slightly between watering and hold back on the fertilizer until the days start to get longer. Keep indoor plants happy by providing much needed humidity with a saucer filled with gravel. The water collected in the gravel will evaporate back up through the foliage. Also, keep a sharp eye out for any signs on spider mite, mealy bug or scale insects which all thrive in dry, heated air.


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