• February Rain Brings Growing Opportunities for Southern California Gardeners
    Friday, January 29, 2016 at

  • California Poppy

    With February being the rainiest month of the year in southern California, even an average rainfall (with or without El Nino) will give gardeners an excellent opportunity to plant and prepare their gardens for spring.

    Add Color: By February, flowers are looking worse for wear, especially if temperatures dip below freezing. Remove dead flowers from existing plants and add already-blooming annuals such as pansies, violas, primrose, snapdragons and calendulas to keep flower gardens looking fresh.

    Still Time To Plant Bare Root Deciduous Fruit Trees: Roots of these trees are typically wrapped in bags or boxes at nurseries. Peek at the root system before buying to make sure it is healthy and plentiful. If the root system looks sparse, pick another tree. If the trees show signs of new growth, remove any newly forming leaves before planting so as not to break the tree’s dormancy.

    Scatter Wildflowers: Buy packages of mixed wildflowers from the nursery or online and scatter the seeds onto garden bare spots. Ideally, distribute the seeds just prior to a rainy day. Apply seeds multiple times. Popular wildflowers include California poppy, African daisy, purple coneflower, baby’s breath, snapdragon, flax and lupine. Flowers will appear in spring.

    Take Care of Houseplants: Like their outdoor counterparts, houseplants often take the winter off when it comes to growth. Make sure they have plenty of sunlight and don’t overwater them. Dust off leaves and trim back in preparation for spring.

    Weed Weekly: After every rain, plants grow including weeds. Remove weeds every week. The process is easier to do when the ground is wet. Once the weeds are removed, add a two-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil to keep weeds from reappearing.

    Fertilize Citrus And Avocado Trees: Citrus and avocado trees need an application of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizer at least twice a year. In late February or early March, add specially formulated fertilizer for citrus and avocado trees. Follow the directions carefully. The amount you apply depends on the size and age of the tree. First, thoroughly water around the tree, rake fertilizer into the top one to two inches of soil and then water again.

    Clear Leaves and Debris From Rain Gutters: Falling leaves and other debris can quickly clog rain gutters. Keep them clear. Consider installing a rainwater collection system (a do-it-yourself version or a manufactured variety) to store rainwater from gutters for future watering needs. Make sure the collection system is covered as to not attract mosquitoes.

    For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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