PLANTING: Fall is the best time for establishing California Natives. Look for Pacific Coast iris, California lilac, manzanita, western redbud and Matilija poppy. Plant winter-flowering sweet peas along costal areas, soaking overnight before sowing. Look for the variety Winter Elegance if you want blossoms for the December holidays. Now is a good time to plant shade trees. Select fall bulbs for spring color. Choose from freesia, ranunculus, daffodil and narcissus. Remember that tulips, hyacinths and crocus should be refrigerated six to eight weeks prior to planting in warm winter areas. Do not place in the freezer. For fall and holiday color, plant calendula, pansies, Iceland poppy, primrose and snapdragon. Wait until October to plant in hot, dry inland areas. Plant perennials such as Delphinium, Foxglove, Hollyhock now for spring bloom. Garden centers will have a good selection of chrysanthemums and herbs this month. This is the last chance to plant warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and St. Augustine.
FEEDING AND FERTILIZING
Feed cool season grasses like Marathon, bluegrass and ryegrass. Use Marathon All-Season fertilizer for quick greening. Toward the end of the month, look at applying organic fertilizers to all plants and top dress with worm castings. The nutrients will be available to plants when they need them as temperatures warm up.
Deadhead faded flowers on poppies, primrose and stocks to keep them blooming. Prune rose bushes and remove all foliage from both the plant and the ground to minimize overwintering insects and fungus. Remember some climbers and many old garden roses bloom on year-old wood and should not be pruned until after blooming. Do not feed roses until new growth begins to occur. Fuchsia plants should be cut back now and then pinched back several times as new growth begins.
PLANTING: Plant azaleas and camellias. To extend the blooming season for azaleas, add Satsuki and Encore varieties to the garden. These Japanese treasures will bloom into May. Now is a great time to plant trees. If you are looking for small size trees without aggressive root systems, messy fruit and pest resistance, consider: Japanese maple, Chinese pistache (male), crape myrtle, Tolleson's weeping juniper, peppermint tree and Canadian redbud. Plant bulbs for spring and summer blooms: tuberous begonia, caladium, calla lily, canna, dahlia, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, tigridia and tuberose. In cooler areas, wait until March. Look for pre-chilled pips of lily-of-the-valley to enjoy indoors. Start new fuchsia baskets and move holiday poinsettias outdoors after danger of frost has passed.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Feed ground covers, shrubs and flower beds with organic fertilizers. Top dress with worm castings and add a little soil optimizer to stimulate organic activity. Fertilize citrus, avocado, berry and grape plants with an organic food. The organic nutrients will become available as the soil warms up. An application of Epsom salts or Sul-Po-Mag will help with basal breaks on older rose plants. Fertilize roses.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Deadhead faded flowers on annual color to keep them blooming. Finish pruning roses. Any branches that have been damaged by winter storms should be cleaned and pruned. Don't allow old leaves and debris to remain around deciduous trees and roses as they can be sources of pest problems.
PLANTING: For instant color, plant Bloomingdale ranunculus, Iceland poppies, primrose, pansy and nemesia. Also, delphinium, and foxglove can be planted for later blossoms. As weather warms toward the end of the month, plant summer color: Surfinia petunias, Proven Winner' Laguna lobelia, alyssum, impatiens and wax begonia. Plant perennials: armeria, campanula, columbine, coral bells, coreopsis, daylilies, Gerbera daisies, geum, lavender, penstemon, Shasta daisy, yarrow and veronica. Plant summer vegetables - artichokes, carrots, radishes, lettuce and tomatoes - toward the end of the month. Don't waste your time with peppers, squash and melons; it's still too early. Work organic amendments into the soil prior to planting. Worm Gold Plus would be an excellent addition. Plant citrus and avocado. For smaller yards, try one of the dwarf avocados like Littlecado, Gwen, Whitsell or Holiday. For true dwarf citrus, only those grown on "Flying Dragon" rootstock will stay small. Other dwarf citrus is actually semi-dwarf, only one-third smaller than the standard. Plant flowering shrubs like Indian hawthorne, lilacs and viburnum. This is the middle of azalea season; many varieties will be in full bloom. Plant with an acid planting mix.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Use a product that contains humic acids on the entire yard. Humics are the catalysts that revitalize dead soils. If you have heavy clay soil, an application of Organa will make them loose and porous overnight. Fertilize stone fruits after the fruits develop to half an inch in size. Organic-type foods like Dr. Earth Citrus or Fruit Tree Food will offer even feeding and are available as the tree requires. Fertilize roses. As azaleas and camellias begin growing, fertilize with cotton seed meal and top-dress with Worn Gold Plus. Feed hydrangeas with cottonseed meal to turn them blue.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Cut back hanging fuchsias to the edges of their containers and lightly prune those in the ground. As new growth emerges, pinch it to promote greater branching structure. Begin pruning hibiscus. Plants older than five years can be pruned a little each month from now through August. First feeding should be done with Whitney Farms Palm and Hibiscus Food. Deadhead your annual and perennial flowers by removing spent blooms. This encourages more blossoms. Deadhead bulbs once they complete their bloom cycle. Do not remove foliage. It should wither on its own in order for the carbohydrates to go back into the bulb for storage until next year.
MISC: Visit the famous Flower Fields in Carlsbad. They will be in peak bloom. In addition to the ranunculus, you can visit the Rose Walk of Fame.
PLANTING: Plant summer vegetables - artichokes, beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumber, eggplant, radishes, lettuce, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, swiss chard, tomatoes and turnips. Plant summer and fall flowering perennials, agapanthus, Japanese anemone, day lilies, chrysanthemums, coreopsis, dusty miller, gaillardia, gazania, Gerbera daisy, lions tail, nicotiana, tulbaghia, verbena and yarrow. Plant azaleas, dahlias, wisteria, and water lilies. It is a good time to pick sun azaleas as they are in bloom at local nurseries. April also clematis month; local garden centers will have many plants in bloom.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Feed warm-season grass lawns after they have become uniformly green. Mow weekly to recommended heights of one inch for common Bermuda, 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch for hybrid Bermuda, 3/4 inch to 1 1/4 inch for St. Augustine, 3/4 inch to one inch for zoysia. Fertilize with Best Turf Supreme. Roses will be at their peak bloom; don't forget to use Organa's Foliar Treatment. Mulch beds with Gardner & Bloom Soil Building Compost mixed with Worm Gold Plus. Feed citrus remembering that a mature tree can have roots three times the volume of their canopy. The fertilizer should be spread around the drip line of the tree. Whitney Farms, Dr. Earth or Organa are superior choices. Worm Gold Plus may actually provide the tree with some ability to resist pests. To give a jumpstart to next years bulbs that have already bloomed, feed them with a balanced liquid fertilizer like Organic Advantage Plant Food.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Give fuchsias their second pinch once they begin to grow again, and then allow them to bloom. Lightly thin fruit on deciduous fruit trees to larger fruit later on. Prune any trees damaged during the winter. As bulbs die back, leave the foliage on the plant until it has turned completely yellow. This allows the nutrients to restore themselves in the bulb crop. You may want to tie up the leaves to keep things looking neat.
MISC: Trim and repot African Violets.
PLANT: Still time to plant summer vegetables - artichokes, beans, beets, carrots, corn, eggplant, radishes, lettuce, melons, peppers, pumpkins, radishes, squash, sunflowers, Swiss chard and tomatoes. Try some heirloom types like peach tomatoes, Moon and Stars watermelon or Black Valentine beans. Plant tropical and subtropical flowers and shrubs: bougainvillea, brugmansia, brunfelsia (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow), calliandra, canna, golden trumpet tree, hibiscus, lantana, plumeria and yellow oleander. Plant tropical vines like clerodendrum, dalechampia, mandevilla, passion flowers and stephanotis. Install warm season lawns by seed, sod or stolons; St. Augustine, Bermuda, buffalo grass and zysia.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Feed ferns with an organic liquid fertilizer every two or three weeks now through fall. Feed indoor plants monthly to aid the growth of leaves and roots. Feed roses with Whitney Farms Life Links Rose Food. This will double the nutrient uptake capability of rose roots. An application of Worm Gold Plus should be done at this time. Fertilize camellias and azaleas when they have finished blooming with cottonseed meal and Organic Advantage Soil Builder. Apply three inches of mulch to reduce summer moisture stress. Keep mulch off stem and trunk of plant. Use a good organic vegetable fertilizer on eggplant, peppers and tomatoes to encourage early crops and thick foliage that prevents sunburned fruit. The Organa Veggie Garden and Tomato is ideal. If you missed April lawn fertilizer but sure to do this in May.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Prune winter and spring flowering vines, bushes, trees, groundcovers after they complete their bloom cycle. De-thatch Bermuda grass lawns. The warm weather will help them recover quickly. Thin vegetable seedlings to prevent crowding. More space will give healthier and larger vegetables. Worm Gold Plus can boost the health and vigor of the plants and provide some protection against insect damage. Cut back chrysanthemums to 12 inches for more flowers with shorter stems in the fall. If needed, divide and replant cymbidium orchids just after blooming.
PLANT: Still time to plant summer vegetables. Nurseries have a variety of transplants: artichokes, beans, beets, carrots, chayote, eggplant, melons, okra, onions, parsnips, peppers, pumpkins, radishes, squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and watermelon. Plant summer annuals: alyssum, amaranthus, balsam, celosia, dahlia, dianthus, gloriosa daisy, lobelia, marigold, nierembergia, petunia, phlox, portalaca, salvia, sunflowers, tuberose, verbena, vinca and zinnia. Plant bougainvillea, hibiscus and other subtropical shrubs and vines. Plant tropical fruit trees like banana, jaboticaba, lychee, mango and star fruit in frost-free areas of the state.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Feed indoor plants monthly to aid the growth of leaves and roots. Mulch vegetable seedlings, berries, asparagus and rhubarb with compost, and feed with organic fertilizers. Soil organisms that thrive in warm weather will make nutrients available to plants without burning them. Fertilize fuchsias and tuberose begonias with Neptune's Harvest or Kiwi Magic. Do so throughout the hot months. Fertilize citrus, tropicals and subtropicals. Feed roses with Whitney Farms Life Links Rose Food or Dr. Earth Rose Food. This will double the nutrient uptake capability of rose roots. An application of Worm Gold Plus should be done at this time if you did not apply it last month. Deep-water everything in your garden. The summer heat can be intense for your plants. Be careful not to over water natives or drought-resistant plants. Watering melons, tomatoes and cucumbers deeply ever five to seven days will bring larger crops. Deep-watering will help prevent leaf drop on evergreen trees during the summer heat. Lightly feed warm-season lawns with organic lawn foods that will not burn in the summer heat.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Trim winter and spring flowering vines (especially wisteria), bushes, trees, and groundcovers after they complete their bloom cycle. Remove foliage from spring bulbs only after it has dried. Plants use green leaves to store up nutrients for next year's flowers. Clean up fallen fruit, vegetable and flowers regularly as they can play host to pests such as worms, borers and other larvae. Deadhead (remove) faded flowers to encourage repeat blooming. Vigorously wash conifer foliage to deter insect infestations. Stake tall, floppy annuals and perennials. If lawn is sparse, prune and thin major shade trees nearby to allow more sunlight to reach the grass.
PLANTING: Plant summer color such as lantana, portalaca, verbena, vinca and zinnia in sunny areas. Use coleus, impatiens and wax begonia in shady areas. Summer snapdragon, Angelonia sp., are heat lovers for full sun. Gaura also blooms all summer and loves the heat. There is still time to plant bean, corn, cucumber and summer squash seeds in the vegetable garden. This is a great time to plant tropicals such as bougainvillea, gingers, heliconia, pikake, hibiscus, plumeria and palms. Coastal areas can do this into August, but it can get too hot in some inland areas. Plant citrus and avocado along with tropical fruits like bananas, jaboticaba, lychee and mango.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Fertilize citrus for continued fruit and foliage production. Salts are starting to build up in the soil. To minimize leaf burn on sensitive plants, use Plants Choice SR. It's more effective than gypsum at removing salt from soils. Continue monthly fertilizing of roses with organic fertilizers that don't burn. Aerate lawns to promote strong root growth. This is about the time to feed camellias for the third and last feeding. The rule of thumb is to feed camellias six to eight weeks after the last bloom has dropped, then administer two more feedings at six to eight week intervals. Feed camellias and azaleas a final time with cottonseed meal or Whitney Farms Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron Food. Mulch around camellias to keep their roots cool.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Pinch back leggy petunias 50 percent and deadhead flowering plants to promote their continued flowering. Pinch off fuchsia seedpods to encourage continued flowering. Misting on hot days will help keep plants cool, but don't keep plants soggy. Take down baskets during Santa Ana winds and protect them. Prune late blooming shrubs and roses, and prune wisteria one more time. Prune back spring poinsettias 15 percent. Cut back hydrangeas after blooms have faded. New wood will grow and this will produce next year's flowers. Cut blade grass lawns a bit higher during the summer months to conserve water (3 - 4 inches for blade grasses and 1 inch for Bermuda grass).
MISC: This is a good time to propagate bromeliads by cutting off pups when they are about one-third the size of the mother plant. Make sure they get enough shade during hot weather. Bougainvilleas less than three years old should be watered regularly. Stop watering established plants (over three years old) at this time. There is no need to water bougainvillea that has been in your garden five or more years. Bougainvillea are not heavy feeders so little fertilization is necessary. Place ripening melons on upside-down aluminum pie pans or cans to keep them off damp soil. The reflected heat and light will help them ripen evenly and sooner than when they are shaded by foliage. Once melon vines have set three or four fruits, remove any new blossoms. This allows the plant to put all its energy into producing big, flavorful specimens from existing fruit. Decrease the watering of figs now until fruit ripens to avoid splitting fruit.
PLANTING: Start seeds for cool-season crops in flats or peat pots. Seeds take approximately six weeks to grow large enough to transplant. Plant seeds for winter tomatoes. These are cold-hardy varieties that will fruit when nighttime temperatures drop into the high 30's. Choose from Glacier Stupice, Siberia, Taxi and the great tasting Galina Cherry. Plant English triangles now for beautiful flower spikes in spring. At points of a triangle with 1-foot spacing, plant one each of Canterbury bells, foxglove and delphinium. Plant blooming crepe myrtle, oleander (or wait until fall), bougainvillea, plumeria, and cassia (or wait until next spring). Lawns or southern-type grasses and bare spots have their best chance for establishment by winter if you reseed or plant stolons now. Plant your slopes with ground covers to get them established before winter rains cause erosion. Divide and plant bird-of-paradise.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Prevent fall weeds by applying weed preventers like Amaze or Preen to flowerbeds and Portraits to lawns. Feed container-grown succulents and other potted plants with once-a-month fertilizers. Feed ferns, water lilies, fuchsias and other tropicals with organic foods that won't burn.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: If you haven't already done so, cut back hydrangeas, leaving at least three buds per stem. This will produce new stems; next year's blooms come from the old wood. Cut back fuchsias and trim back felicia daisies and marguerite daisies as well as perennial-like bachelor buttons, delphiniums, pansies and violas to encourage a second bloom in fall. Pinch back impatiens, geraniums and begonias. Clean up old flowering stems of daylilies. Remove spent vegetables from your garden, such as lettuce and dead pea vines. A good idea is to add them to your compost pile.
MISC: Divide bearded iris now if they are crowded or didn't bloom much last spring. Break off and discard older central rhizomes with no foliage. Allow young, healthy rhizomes to dry out of the direct sun for several hours so a callus forms over the break before replanting it. Compost piles work fast in hot weather. Keep them turned and moist. Watch citrus fruit for drop. Make certain a steady supply of moisture is in the soil and cull as necessary.
PLANTING: Fall is the best time for establishing California Natives. Look for Pacific Coast iris, California lilac, manzanita, western redbud and Matilija poppy. Plant winter-flowering sweet peas along costal areas, soaking overnight before sowing. Look for the variety Winter Elegance if you want blossoms for the December holidays. Now is a good time to plant shade trees. Select fall bulbs for spring color. Choose from freesia, ranunculus, daffodil and narcissus. Remember that tulips, hyacinths and croscus should be refrigerated six to eight weeks prior to planting in warm winter areas. Do not place in the freezer. For fall and holiday color, plant calendula, pansies, Iceland poppy, primrose and snapdragon. Wait until October to plant in hot, dry inland areas. Plant perennials such as Delphinium, Foxglove, Hollyhock now for spring bloom. Garden centers will have a good selection of chrysanthemums and herbs this month. This is the last chance to plant warm-season grasses such as Bermuda and St. Augustine.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Fertilize roses and water deeply to encourage a fall bloom. Most mulches decompose rapidly in the hot summer weather so they should be replenished. Fertilize citrus and avocado with organic foods. The organic nutrients will not promote too much soft growth prior to the cool weather.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Pull up and compost spent annuals but continue to pinch back begonias, geraniums and impatiens. Prune dead, weak or diseased branches from trees and shrubs. Roses pruned now will come back with beautiful blooms toward the end of October.Mission statements
MISC.: Repair and keep bird feeders filled so birds will continue to visit during less abundant food months. Water morning and evening to minimize evaporation during hot, dry Santa Ana winds. Withhold water from crape myrtles in the fall and they will reward you with red and orange foliage. Azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons are setting buds now so be sure they get enough water along with their last application of fertilizer. Reduce the amount of water to cacti and succulents to prepare them for their winter rest.
PLANTING: Plant anything that survives in the desert or Mediterranean climates: California Natives, Pacific Coast iris, California lilac, manzanita, western redbud, Matilija poppy, penstemon, anything not frost sensitive and all of the "Cape Bulbs" (those native to South Africa including freesia, homeria, ixia, sparaxis, and watsonia). Plant winter-flowering sweet peas along costal areas, soaking overnight before sowing. Select fall bulbs for spring color. Choose from freesia, ranunculus, daffodil and narcissus. Remember that tulips, hyacinths and crocus should be refrigerated six to eight weeks prior to planting in warm winter areas. Do not place in the freezer. Not sure where to plant those bulbs? Do what Jean Rogers does, plant your bulbs in a peat pot and when they're well established plant them where they look best. Move them around until you find just the right place. As time goes by, the peat pot will disintegrate and you'll have a perfectly placed flower!. Plant cool-season flowers such as alyssum, calendula, canterbury bells, cineraria, cyclamen, delphinium, larkspur, lobelia, nemesia, ornamental kale, paludosum daisy, perennial candytuf, annual phlox, primrose, snapdragon, stock, sweet william, sweet violet and viola. Garden centers will still have a good selection of chrysanthemums and herbs this month. Plant winter vegetables: arugula, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, green peas, lettuce, parsley and potatoes. Seed cool-season lawns such as Marathon blends from sod or seed. Broadcast wildflower seeds which will germinate after the winter rains.
FEED & FERTILIZE: After the fall bloom on roses, either cut them back and fertilize to promote a bloom before the end of the year or let them form hips and gently approach dormancy. Cool-season grasses need an all-purpose fertilizer. Remove emerging cool-season weeds from flowerbeds, then mulch.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Tender bulbs such as dahlia, begonia and canna should be allowed to go dormant in colder areas and then can be dug up and stored until spring. Prune dead, weak or diseased branches from trees and shrubs. Prune asparagus to soil level after the growth has yellowed.
MISC.: Repair and keep bird feeders filled so birds will continue to visit during less abundant food months. Keep Christmas cacti at 50 0. to 55 0. to set blooms. Reprogram irrigation timers and systems to reflect the decrease in water needs as the days get shorter and the weather cools. Turn the compost pile one last time before the cool winter days. Prepare banks and slopes to control soil erosion caused by rains.
PLANTING: This is perhaps the best month to plant California natives or drought-resistant plants. Consider bush anemone, ceanothus, flannel bush, toyon holly, manzanita, Matilija poppy, and wild mock orange. Force narcissus into bloom for indoor beauty and scent. Also begin forcing Amaryllis. Plant cool-season flowers such as alyssum, calendula, Canterbury bells, cineraria, cyclamen, delphinium, Iceland poppies, larkspur, lobelia, nemesia, ornamental kale, paludosum daisy, perennial candytuf, annual phlox, primrose, snapdragon, stock, sweet william, sweet violet and viola. If you want the newest colors of poinsettias, the best selection will probably be right after Thanksgiving. This is also the month for the best selection of Thanksgiving/Christmas cactus. Plant winter vegetables: arugula, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cilantro, green peas, lettuce, parsley and potatoes. If you plan on testing the garden for the winter, consider planting a cover crop that can be turned over in the spring. Check out the crop cover selection at www.ronnugers.com.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Feed winter-blooming plants like cyclamen, Iceland poppies, pansies and primrose for both growth and bloom. Cool-season grasses need an all-purpose fertilizer. Overseed Bermuda grass with annual rye to cover the winter brown. Mow existing grass short, then scatter seed and cover with a top dressing. One pound of seed for every 100 square feet of lawn will do.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: After they finish flowering, cut back chrysanthemums, leaving six-inch stems. They will begin to grow again in March. Old clumps can be lofted and divided, roots cut apart and woody centers discarded, then replanted. Twist off small buds on camellias for larger blooms. Prune pine trees and other conifers now. They will appreciate the care when summer comes and they are under attack from bark beetle. Prune back certain cane berry plants such as blackberry, boysenberry, loganberry and spring-bearing raspberry. (Do not prune sub-tropical, low-chill raspberries common to Southern California.).
MISC.: Renew acid mulches under azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. Water them well to make sure they don't dry out from winter sun and winds. Keep Christmas cacti at 50 0. to 55 0. o set blooms.
PLANTING: Plant bare root roses, trees and vines. Check with your local Rose Society for recommendations of the best roses for our area (rosesrosesroses.org, or orangecountyrosesociety.org). Plant tulip, crocus and hyacinth bulbs that have been in cold storage. Cover with as much as four to six inches of soil in a slight shady spot. Plant winter-color annuals above your spring-summer blooming bulbs for instant and long-lasting color. Plant globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish and rhubarb.as well as cane berries, grapes and strawberries. Plant only when the soil is not waterlogged. Plant culinary herbs indoors for use in holiday cooking. Plant trees and shrubs now as soil is still warm enough in most places for good root growth. The winter rains will stimulate root growth for stronger, healthier top growth in spring. Select and plant azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. Many camellias are in bloom now, so you can see the flower color.
FEED & FERTILIZE: Feed shrubs and trees that will bloom in January to March. Fertilize fall-planted flowers at planting time with a starter fertilizer. If azalea and gardenia foliage is light or yellowish-green, water with a solution of chelated iron. Stop fertilizing potted poinsettias and don't resume until they are through flowering.
PRUNE/TRIM/CLEANUP: Prune low-chill raspberries. Prune evergreens to shape, lessen chances of wind damage and provide decorations for the holidays. Branches that will hold their shape well indoors include incense cedar, fir, laurel, magnolia, oleander, pine, pittosporum, podocarous and viburnum. Protect citrus from cold damage by wrapping tree trunks in tree wrap and covering foliage with cloth sheets. Cold soil and dry winds can cause rinds of ripening fruit to develop bleached blotches and leaves to yellow where the sun strikes. Roots are inefficient bringing moisture to these during cold weather so be sure they get water without being waterlogged. Cut off old flower spikes from your perennials. Dig up and divide clumping perennials. (they need this every few years.).
MISC.: Cover the compost pile loosely with black plastic biofilm to hold in heat and keep rain from leaching out nutrients. Biofilm is made from cornstarch and can be worked into the mulch pile after it has served its purpose. Minimize irrigation to roses.