Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

May, 2009
Regional Report

Cultivate Soil

Cultivate the soil around vegetables and bedding plants weekly so that water and fertilizer can easily reach the roots. Compacted soil inhibits plant growth. By cultivating, you will also allow oxygen to reach the root zone and dislodge weed seedlings before they can become established.

Don't Cut off the Buds!

If you have a cistus (rock rose), leptospermum (tea tree) or other blooming shrub, wait until after flowering before doing major pruning. Plants work all year getting ready for the bloom, and then the gardener comes and cuts all the flowers off before they have a chance to shine. This practice is more common that most people realize. If you are unsure if your shrub is about to bloom, take a cutting to your local garden center for confirmation prior to pruning.

Fertilize Indoor Plants

Mix a liquid fertilizer one half strength to fertilize indoor plants monthly while they are actively growing. Blooming plants such as African violets require bimonthly applications of liquid fertilizer as well as a continuous source of slow release fertilizer.

Groom Rhododendrons

As the flowers fade on rhododendrons and azaleas, pinch off the spent blooms near the base to encourage bushy new growth. If you look closely, you will see a bit of tan-colored wood just below the flower. There are darker colored stripes in that tan colored wood that say, "Cut Here!" This is a sticky job, wear gloves.

Weed Street Tree Basins

Street trees grow in tiny cutouts in concrete. They are surrounded by pavement on all sides. Every bit of water and nutrients they receive comes from that small expanse of soil. Pull weeds that rob vital nutrients and give your street tree a deep drink from time to time.


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