- Author: Sherida J Phibbs
Do you wonder what seasonal gardening tasks should be done month-by-month? Or what seasonal pests to be looking out for? The Humboldt/Del Norte Master Gardener Help Desk Team is providing you with some tasks that will help you maintain and grow beautiful edibles and landscape plants.
- Refer to your gardening journal to prepare for your fall tasks.
- Make note of how well your annuals performed.
- Make a list of what to order for spring blooming bulbs and place your orders.
- Add photos to help for next year.
- Planting times gleaned from The Humboldt Kitchen Gardener by Eddie Tanner
- Time to sow seeds for coastal areas for August:
o Lettuce, Spinach, Cilantro, Dill – March through late September
o Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Chard, Beets -March through early August
o Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage – March through early September
o Radishes, Asian Greens, Arugula – March through late October
o Peas – February through early August
o Leeks, Green Onions - February through late August
- Time to sow seed for inland areas:
o Lettuce, Spinach, Cilantro, Dill – mid-August through mid-October
o Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Chard, Beets – late June-early August
o Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage – late July – late August
o Radishes, Asian Greens, Arugula – late July – early October
o Peas – month of August
o Leeks, Green Onions – February through end of August
- Plant cover crops in vacant space in your vegetable garden. UC Davis Cover Crop Database L
- Additional vegetable gardening information can be found on Humboldt/Del Norte Master Gardener website link
BERRIES AND MISCELLANEOUS FRUITS
- Clean and fertilize strawberry beds and prune raspberries, boysenberries and other cane berries after harvest Link to Growing Berries on the Oregon Coast
- Note: not all fruit/nut trees listed may be suitable to plant for your area. Make sure to select the tree and variety that will do best for your location.
- Fertilize mature trees anytime between mid-August through mid-September – Almonds, Cherry, Fig, Peach, Nectarine, Pistachio, Plum, Prune, Pluot; between May through August – Pecan
- Fertilize young trees monthly from April through mid-September - Walnut
- Irrigate to soil depth 18-24 inches every 2-3 weeks - All fruit and nut trees
- Annual Pruning –– Apricots (prune before the onset of winter rains to prevent Eutypa fungus infections), Fig
- Summer pruning any time from June through mid-August– Cherry; June through August – Peach, Nectarine, Plum, Pluot, Prune
- Aphid control – June-September – Pecan
- Codling moth control – Mid March – August – All pome fruits
- Add to your gardening library – UCANR Publication The Home Orchard Link
- Additional fruit and nut tree information can be found on Humboldt/Del Norte Master Gardener website Link
- Repot houseplants that have outgrown their containers.
- Closely examine plants – yellowing on lower parts of stems are sometimes common. However, yellowing on new tip growth may be an indication of root rot or other problems.
- Plan for watering of your plants while away on vacation. Find someone to come in at least once a week to water, use a capillary mat, or find an indoor drip system you can put onto a timer.
- Scale back feeding for most foliage plants. Cacti and succulents may benefit from light feeding now through the winter.
- This is a good time to propagate most house plants.
- Additional indoor plant information can be found on Humboldt/Del Norte Master Gardener website link
LANDSCAPE – ANNUALS, PERENNIALS, GRASSES, FERNS
- Divide German irises about every three years.
- Weed flower beds.
- Refresh mulch.
- In highly visible areas groom while leaving less visible areas less groomed for nesting beneficial insects. In those lesser visible areas leave patches of bare soil for ground nesters.
- Pinch or cut off spent flowers on annuals to keep them blooming into September.
- Lavender when done blooming needs a light shearing of 1/3 of outer foliage. Do not cut back into the wood.
- Deadhead perennials.
- Prune groundcovers and vines as needed.
- Fall blooming plants may not develop good blooms if they don't get enough water.
- Continue to fertilize blooming annuals in containers every two weeks.
LANDSCAPE SHRUBS AND TREES
o Good time to propagate shrubs– take softwood cuttings.
o Can be watered less frequently by the end of the month, but don't let them get too dry.
o Do not fertilize this month.
o May benefit by dressing the soil with 2-4” coarse compost or wood mulch – keep mulch away from trunk.
o Do not plant trees until fall.
o Assess tree health; if you see any problems contact the Master Gardener Help Desk.
o Some may show signs of stress if they haven't received water all summer.
o Do not fertilize this month.
o May benefit by dressing the soil with 2-4” coarse compost or wood mulch – keep mulch away from trunk.
o Remove stakes from trees planted last year. Roots should be established.
o Check ties that are binding which can cause serious trunk damage.
o Clean up fallen leaves. Do not add diseased leaves to compost.
o One last deadheading of spent flowers, then let spent blooms form into rose hips.
o Keep blooming roses irrigated.
o Lightly prune roses to promote fall flowering.
o Roses which have finished blooming, and some shrub roses may get by with 1 deep watering this month.
o Do not fertilize this month.
o May benefit by dressing the soil with 2-4” coarse compost or wood mulch – keep away from trunk.
o Manage or take preventive actions for powdery mildew.
- USDA Zones 4-6 – bad time to seed a new lawn unless you can water between mid-August through Mid-September for it to establish before winter, otherwise best to wait until spring.
- USDA Zones 7-9 – End of August through September is a good time to overseed
- Sharpen lawnmower blades.
- Mow as needed.
- Check and repair sprinklers as needed.
- If you haven't been watering regularly, give at least one deep watering this month.
- Do not fertilize.
- To refresh organic matter, apply ¼ inch of screened compost.
- Adjust watering schedules according to the weather and plants' changing need for water. Check systems for leaks and broken emitters and perform maintenance as needed. Consider upgrading the irrigation system to improve its water efficiency.
- By the end of the month drought stress may be seen.
- Towards the end of the growing season, some plants may benefit reducing the frequency of irrigation to help plants harden off to prepare for fall and winter.
- Soil that is not irrigated may become hydrophobic, which is indicated when it won't absorb water and the water rolls off. In this case, water slowly and in increments. Sometimes a wetting agent can be used to break the surface tension.
IPM – Integrative Pest Management
- Abiotic Disorders – Prevent or manage damage, caused by aeration deficit, herbicide, salinity, soil pH, sunburn, wind and too much or little water.
- Ants - Manage around landscape and building foundations, such as using insecticide baits and trunk barriers. UC IPM Link
- Aphids - On small plants, spray a strong stream of water or apply insecticidal oils and soaps. Look for and conserve natural enemies such as predaceous bugs, lacewings, lady beetles, and syrphids. UC IPM Link
- Bacterial blast, blight, and canker - Inspect apple, citrus and especially Prunus spp. (e.g., stone fruit). Remove entire affected branches in the summer, making cuts several inches away in healthy wood. UC IPM Link
- Black sooty mold – Black and oily leaves indicate an infestation of scale or aphids. UC IPM Link
- Citrus - Monitor for damage and pests such as leafminer. UC IPM Link
- Clean up mummies and old fruit and nuts in and under trees to avoid harboring pests. UC IPM Link
- Codling moth of apple and pear - Bag fruit. Promptly remove infested and dropped fruit. Apply insecticides only if precisely timed. UC IPM Link
- Compost - Turn and keep it moist. UC IPM Link
- Dampwood termites begin to swarm toward the end of August. These termites are commonly found in cool, humid areas along the coast. They infest moist wood, creating large open galleries where they live and feed. Check your home and other structures for signs of moist wood and termite damage.UC IPM Pest Link
- Mosquitoes - Eliminate standing water e.g., in gutters, drain pipes, and flowerpots. Place Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis in birdbaths and ponds to selectively kill mosquito larvae. UC IPM Link
- Powdery mildew – distinguished by gray cover of powdery mildew can be seen on some plants as evenings become cooler and overapplication of nitrogen fertilizer. UC IPM Link
- Root rot - Favored by excessive water and poor drainage. Avoid overirrigation and waterlogged soil. UC IPM Link
- Slugs – August through September is their prime egg producing time. They are light tan round eggs. Can find them under a log or mulch. Good idea to remove them and toss them away from your garden to be dinner for spiders and black ground beetles. Or just smash those little beasts.UC IPM Pest Link
- Spider mites - Irrigate adequately, mist leaf undersides daily, reduce dustiness, spray horticultural oil. UC IPM Link
- Thrips -Gladiolus are a host for these tiny critters. They can be deadly to gladiolus. UC IPM Pest Link Gladiolus Pests Link
- Wasps and yellow jackets are both a friend and foe. They can be vicious while being a beneficial insect predator. They are most active during the warmest part of the day. UC IPM Pest Link
EXCELLENT ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
- Humboldt/Del Norte Master Gardener Website https://ucanr.edu/sites/hdnmastergardeners//
- Humboldt/Del Norte Master Gardener Help Desk https://ucanr.edu/sites/hdnmastergardeners/Help_Desk_-_Ask_A_Master_Gardener/
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Integrative Pest Management: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication - The Home Orchard Link
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication – Pests of the Garden and Small Farm Link
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication – Abiotic Disorders of Landscape Plants Link
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication – Pests of Trees and Shrubs Link
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication – Master Gardener Handbook Link
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Publication – Healthy Roses Link
- Month-By-Month Gardening Pacific Northwest, by Christina Pfeiffer with Mary Robson, ISBN-10: 1591866669
- The Humboldt Kitchen Gardener, by Eddie Tanner, ISBN: 978-0-615-20900-5 (Out of print, look for used copies)
- Insects of the Pacific Northwest, by Peter and Judy Haggard, ISBN 10: 0881926892 (Out of print, look for used copies)
- Pacific Northwest Insects by Merrill A. Peterson ISBN-10:0914516183
- Reviewed by:: Maria, Krenek, UCCE Master Gardener
- ISBN-10 : 1643260448
Every book has a lesson to learn; a message to deliver. Douglas Tallamy's lessons are profound and insightful helping to reveal the natural world in greater clarity and cohesiveness.
In THE NATURE OF OAKS, a universe comes to life in an oak tree in his garden in Pennsylvania. One acorn, planted and placed as a seedling managed to grow and create a world full of rich relationships, interdependencies, and possibilities in his backyard. It is a world Tallamy was able to observe over time that was contained, isolated and simplified and held his focus and interest. Enough bits and pieces are revealed and shared by Tallamy to direct our understanding of the complex and intricate weaving of our natural world. From one oak tree canopy top to its root tips, his white oak tree is just one small microcosm of a more profound system just small enough to comprehend but complex enough to teach.
The world of this oak tree is explored with a monthly calendar of events highlighting the tree's life and some of the characters that share it. Many insights into the workings of trees, birds, insects, nutritional cycles, and interconnected lifecycles are described. References supporting the information and fuel for further studies are included. The argument to really see a universe in a grain of soil justifies the writing and reading of this book. So, here is just a brief taste of the many wonders revealed.
It starts in October and November. Maybe, it is a little quieter time in a busy year? Yet, maybe, this is when it starts. The infinite possibilities when the acorns are ready and full of promise for another generation. Dispersed by birds and other critters and cached for winter food stores, the acorn begins the tale. It is nutrition and shelter for the acorn moth larvae feeding on the acorn weevil in a developing acorn. And in turn it is a vessel for those acorn weevil larvae that survive and plummet to the ground in a race to hide and pupate in the soil before being fodder for a hungry bird. So many paths are possible for an acorn besides germination and the beginning of a new oak tree.
In December and through the winter, it is noticeable that the mature oak maintains its leaves while other trees do not. Food for caterpillars with specialized mouth parts benefit. They can chew through the tough, dry and bitter leaves. Birds in the neighborhood that overwinter, can find caterpillars to eat and make it through difficult days. But also revealed are the many ways that caterpillars adapt by hiding or disguising themselves against predation or using the tree to provide winter protection.
And all the while, as winter seems to encourage sleep, life teams in the soil. Microorganisms, fungi, of many types and purposes provide for the upcoming seasons of growth and reproduction. Plants capture the sun and share the results but need nutrients to complete the process. The oak provides with a consistent source of leaves and debris. The oak receives the nutrients to grow and produce seed in turn.
So as March drama begins in earnest, winter breaks and spring blooms. A chorus of life specific to the oak tree sings. So many birds and insects have specific native hosts. The oak is a keystone host with 511 species of caterpillars to support while other tree species don't even come close. April and May bring bloom, bird migration and new life, hungry and eager to develop. June begins summer and the fulfilment of spring in a multitude of dances and dramas to find food or provide food, develop and reproduce including the oak tree and its developing acorn.
Then September comes around on our way to winter and a slowing and securing for another year. Migrations, maturing, dispersal, senescence, dormancy, with the completion of so many lifecycles. Because of its long life, extensive resources and endurance, Tallamy's white oak, is there to provide food and shelter creating a vibrant ecology of great depth and breadth. In a universe of many interwoven ecologies that can be observed, understood and respected, this white oak with its curious human, experience the lessons of living viewed on an approachable scale.
We are reminded how much life depends on the native plant population and safe human practices in our natural world. Life evolves slowly and together to balance the needs of all along for the ride. Leaf shape, color, mouthparts, behavior, plant specialization, timing, hairy vs non hairy, on and on and on can be seen in the many ways that life adapts and persists over time to accomplish birth, growth, reproduction and return of precious borrowed resources. We are part of that and intimately involved in it all. We are also pushing and tugging on the delicate threads that connect us and ultimately must sustain us. Do we understand this?
In the NATURE OF OAKS, Tallamy reveals his observations and discoveries to us. Scientifically based studies, statistics and observations document the observations and information presented. Photos are included as well. He points out the layers and interconnections and the interdependencies of the many living beings around this white oak tree. It is an opportunity for us to perceive the greater story told on a smaller scale. Life on this planet is one huge and complex totally connected organism with lots of working parts. We can see it working if we look. But like many things we take for granted, we don't notice it is there until there is a problem. One oak tree can make a difference and so can one human. One book can, too.
An extra bonus are the bumble bees that frequent my lacecap. The inner part of the flower cluster of the lacecap contains fertile flowers that have nectar and pollen which attracts the bees. Lacecap Hydrangeas are a great choice for pollinator gardens. Not all Hydrangeas attract bees, as most Hydrangeas have flowers which are sterile and do not have nectar. The “petals” on the Hydrangeas are botanically considered sepals. Hydrangeas do not produce large amounts of pollen which makes them a great floral arrangement choice for people with pollen allergies.
The Hydrangea is one of the most beloved shrubs, and these beauties thrive here on the North Coast. I have loved Hydrangeas ever since I was old enough to have an appreciation for beautiful plants. My landscapes always had hydrangeas, even if they had to be given extra attention. When I lived in the Central Valley, they could be quite the divas, wilting and drooping their voluptuous blossoms with temps rising over 90 degrees F. I belong to a couple of social media Hydrangea groups, and I am amazed to see what lengths admirers of the Hydrangea will take, hoping that their plant will survive and bless them with their beautiful blooms. The Sunset Zones recommends zones 3b-9, 14-24 and H1 for the macrophylla.
Genus: Hydrangea (high DRAN jee ah)
Species: macrophylla (mac roh FI uh)
My shrub is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Mariesii Perfecta' BLUE WAVE
The genus name Hydrangea comes from hydor meaning "water" and aggeion meaning "vessel", in reference to the cup-like capsular fruit. Specific epithet comes from the Greek words makros meaning large and phyllon meaning leaf in reference to plant leaves.
'Mariesii Perfecta' is a lacecap cultivar that features rich blue flowers. This cultivar was first introduced into commerce in 1904 by Victor Lemoine. It is synonymous with and has been marketed under the trade name of BLUE WAVE.
The lacecap will tolerate sun in moderate climate provided that the soil is kept moist, however it is the happiest with afternoon shade. The lacecap tolerates almost all well-draining soil types from clay to sandy soils, and it also has some tolerance for salt. For the more inland areas of Humboldt, It is best to plant in the spring after frosts and before the hotter summer months. Established Hydrangeas can be transplanted in the spring or fall, but I personally would recommend the fall. Beware that deer are attracted to this shrub.
Fertilize with balanced fertilizer in the spring and early fall. However, it is not always necessary. One sign of needing fertilizer is when you see yellowing leaves in the center of the plant right before it begins to bloom.
Hydrangeas like a lot of water, but do not like their roots sitting in water. Overwatering signs are browning of the leave margins and dropping of their leaves. These divas also let you know that they are thirsty when they begin to droop.
There are pests and diseases that can cause issues with this shrub. However, the better the cultural care you provide, the less problems will arise. They may be susceptible to bud blight, bacterial wilt, leaf spot and mildew. Aphids may be attracted to the fresh green foliage. I will find the occasional snails, which I will hand pick, bag and toss in the garbage. The UCANR Integrative Pest Management has excellent information for pests and diseases associated with Hydrangea, IPM Link.
This plant needs little pruning. If needed, prune immediately after flowering by cutting back flowering stems to a pair of healthy buds. Prune out weak or winter-damaged stems in late winter/early spring. To help the soil to retain moisture, mulch plants year-round with 3" of shredded bark, peat or compost. Pull mulch away from the trunk of the shrub to deter possible problems.
Propagation of the hydrangea can be accomplished by several methods: layering, leaf cutting, and stem cutting. Propagating Information
Enjoy Them Inside
I enjoy bringing my hydrangeas inside as much as I enjoy them in my garden. To harvest the flowers, I recommend the following: water the shrub the day before cutting; harvest in the morning's cool temperature; the best time to harvest is when 80-90% of the sepals (petals) are open; use a clean container of water and clean disinfected clippers; immediately place stems into water.
To help the blossom last in a vase or arrangement: remove the lower leaves (leaves below the water line will create bacteria); hold the stem under water to recut the stem at an angle; use a floral preservative; do not place arrangement in a warm or sunny location. Home Made Floral Preservative Recipe: For each quart of water add the following, 1 tablespoon sugar + ¼ teaspoon bleach + 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
I also enjoy drying hydrangeas, and I recommend harvesting from August through October (just as they begin to lose their fresh color); either hang upside down or stand in a vase (without water) and place in a dry location.
North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/hydrangea-macrophylla/
Oregon State University https://landscapeplants.oregonstate.edu/plants/hydrangea-macrophylla
Oregon State University – General care for hydrangeas https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/flowers-shrubs-trees/general-care-hydrangeas
Missouri Botanical Garden https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=249023&isprofile=0&#:~:text=Noteworthy%20Characteristics,harsh%20winters%20or%20pruned%20smaller
The New Sunset Western Garden Book, Third printing 2017 pages 367-369
Photographs - Courtesy of Sherida Phibbs
The one thing all UC Master Gardeners have in common is our love of gardening and a passion to share it with others. There are many people in our community who have no idea of who we are, and what we do. I would like to provide some insight into our program.
The Master Gardener Program is part of the University of California, Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources and administered under the local county's Cooperative Extension office. Other Cooperative Extension programs in our counties include, 4-H, the Master Food Preservers, adult and youth nutrition programs, as well as the various staff advisers (farm, livestock, forestry, nutrition, etc.).
Once the training is completed and passing of the final exam, our volunteers give back a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer services their first year. Every year thereafter, to remain certified, they volunteer a minimum of 25 hours and attend 12 hours of continuing education.
Our trained volunteers offer free science-based gardening information to home gardeners, community gardens, and school gardens throughout Del Norte and Humboldt Counties. Our primary goal is to educate and mentor our community about topics related to home horticulture, pest management, and sustainable landscape practices.
Are you growing food this year and have questions? Do you have bugs in your garden and need help? Do you want to know how to care for a particular landscape plant? Do you want more pollinators visiting your garden? Do you want advice on California native plants for our area? Do you want to learn about composting and worm composting? Do you want to conserve water in your landscape? You can submit your questions to our team of garden detectives through our Help Desk service at https://ucanr.edu/mghelpdesk
Perhaps you would like a speaker for your group to speak on a gardening topic? Do you want a reliable resource for gardening information? Then visit our website at: https://ucanr.edu/sites/hdnmastergardenrs or https://ucanr.edu/helpmg. You will find various topics as well as previous recordings of past presentations. Make sure to sign up for our quarterly newsletter.
UC Master Gardeners can be found at various events in Del Norte and Humboldt from the county fairs to farmers' markets. We give presentations to clubs and service organizations. We share information via social and printed media.
We are all about teaching, learning, and having fun! As the program coordinator, the one thing I enjoy the most is the sense of family and the friendships that are made within our program.
If you have any gardening questions, please visit our website, and submit a Help Desk Ticket. If you have an idea for possible collaboration, feel free to contact us.
Photo - UCCE MG Myron Kelso Used with permission.
Visit our Website: https://ucanr.edu/sites/hdnmastergardeners/
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumboldtMG/
Check out our Blog https://ucanr.edu/blogs/CoastalGardener
- Author: Jennifer Bell, UCCE Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver
- Editor: Sherida Phibbs, UCCE Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver
UC Master Gardeners are notorious for an over-abundance of produce from their garden. UC Master Gardener Jennifer created a non flour quiche crust using chard.
"I used to make this all the time! What happened? So it is a quiche with a chard crust. A great opportunity to use lots of garden veggies and clean out items in your fridge. You can either steam the big leaves or scatter them in a pie pan and microwave. Several layers are needed to prevent leakage. Layer in ingredients, all the yummy things your family enjoys. Add beaten eggs before putting cheese on top (I forgot about that-it's tough to get the eggs to penetrate the cheese layer). Bake this at 350 for about 1/2 hour then broiled for a few minutes. Needs to cool before I dig in!"
Photos - Jennifer Bell Used with permission.