Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

February, 2001
Regional Report

Dig Potato Trenches

It\'s potato planting time. Place seed potatoes in a 4-inch-deep trench amended with compost, and cover the cut-and-calloused pieces or small whole tubers with more compost up to the original soil level. Water lightly to settle the soil close to the seed pieces.

Still Time to Prune

Don\'t fret too much if you\'ve let the mid-February \"pruning deadline\" slip by. It\'s only a guideline for relieving trees and plants of extra wood before they begin their spring growth. However, trees may bleed when pruned now. The warmer the air and soil temperatures, the more active plant fluids will be, and hence some dripping may occur when you prune. This won\'t harm the tree.

Control Grasshoppers

The lilac's first bloom and honeysuckle's first red berries are cues to control grasshopper populations. If you see immature grasshoppers in the garden at this time, you'll have 2-3 weeks to control them before they grow into destructive adults that will lay eggs, creating bigger populations for summer.

Feed Plants

Now is the time to start feeding your landscape plants. Feed ground covers, shrubs, roses, perennials, and trees with slow-release fertilizer such as compost, bone meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal, or well-rotted manure. This will provide plants with consistent and gradual nutrition as they need it throughout the season.

Paint Trees

To prevent sunburn damage on the trunks of your trees, paint exposed trunks and large limbs with off-white matte interior latex paint mixed half and half with water. Inexpensive brands are fine. Be sure to use matte, which allows the bark to breathe, instead of glossy, which doesn't.


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