Annual Labor Day Sale!
Our Annual Sale begins on Friday, August 31st at 7am and ends Sunday, September 9th! Don't miss out on the great values which are just in time for the fall planting season.
Things to do in your garden . . .
HOT WEATHER CONTINUES THROUGH SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER; BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR IRRIGATION SYSTEMS!
While the nights cool in September and October, the days remain hot. Be sure your irrigation systems are working adequately so that plants don't get too dry. Fertilize now and water again after fertilizing.
Check your systems for leaks, broken or malfunctioning parts and adequate coverage. You may need to add extra emitters on drip systems for maturing trees or shrubs or you may need to adjust the length of time the system runs. To gauge whether your plants are getting adequate water, check the depth of moisture in the soil the day following watering. Soil around trees and shrubs should show moisture to 12-18 inches. They will not need water again until the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry.
A Rapitest Moisture Meter is a very worthwhile investment. Use it for indoor and outdoor plants. Outdoors, test at the drip-line of trees and shrubs and in the center of the root ball. We have seen too many situations where the soil is moist at the drip-line but the root ball is dry. If your tree is planted in the lawn and is watered only with the lawn, it is not getting enough water. Consider using a Ross Root Feeder to supplement the tree's irrigation every 3 to 4 weeks.
Remember that lawns, trees and shrubs cannot coexist on the same water schedule!
FOR NEW PLANTINGS: Once planting is completed, water plants well. Check plants for water daily for the first week and if necessary, place hose on trickle near the base of the plant and leave on for up to 30 minutes. You may need to run drip or spray systems every 3-4 days for the first 2 weeks if you find that the top 2 to 3 inches of soil dries out quickly. You can then adjust according to the following recommendations: New plantings often suffer from dry root balls (see above).
LAWNS: Ideally, lawns should be watered 1-2 times a week for one-half to1 hour to encourage deep root systems. Late September is a great time to renovate lawns. Dethatch, aerate and then fertilize. Water well afterward.
SHRUBS & ROSES: For most drip or spray systems, once a week for one hour should be adequate -- drip or spray systems should produce 5 to 10 gallons per bush. You should use at least two drippers per bush. Remember to avoid direct water on rose foliage unless you water early in the morning in order to decrease the incidence of rust. Contrary to popular belief, wet foliage does not promote powdery mildew. Hosing down rose bushes early in the morning will help discourage spider mites, aphids and mildew.
TREES: Water established trees once a month through September for a few hours with bubblers at the drip line to ensure a deep soaking (wet to a depth of 16 to 24 inches is recommended). You can also build a basin at least 4 to 6 inches deep and flood monthly.
VEGETABLES: Soaker hoses work great for vegetable gardens. Run them 1-2 times per week for 4 to 5 hours. Turn pressure on until you count one drip every three seconds along the entire line.
Special tip from Ed: The Santa Clara Valley Water District offers home visits to evaluate water systems for water-wise efficiency. Call 1-888-439-6624 to schedule an appointment or contact them at www.valleywater.org. In the Redwood City area, call the Water Conservation Department at 650-780-7436 or check out their website http://www.redwoodcity.org/publicworks/water/water_conservation_program.htm.
Tips from the professionals. . .
• For those of you who enjoy growing annuals such as cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, dahlias, nasturtiums, and pansies from seed, now is the time to collect seeds from host plants. Seed pods should be allowed to dry in a paper bag. Once dry, the open pods will release seeds. Seeds should be stored in paper bags or envelopes in a cool, dry place (your garage is a good place). Never store in plastic or Zip-lock bags.
• Now is the time to start sweet peas from seed. Ideally, you should prepare a trench about 12 inches deep and wide amended with a ratio of one-third Master Nursery Gold Rush to two-thirds native soil. Add Master Start Fertilizer at the rate of 10 pounds to 500 square feet. Plant two seeds 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart and water in well. Special tip from Ed: For a novel twist, let sweet peas climb on existing shrubs. White sweet peas, for example, growing onto a red climbing rose or mixed sweet peas climbing on an ivy-covered fence provide a mildly wild look, boosting viewing pleasure.
• Wild flower seeds (such as California poppies and goetia) can be planted toward the end of the month. The ground for these seeds must be adequately prepared; you can't just throw the seeds on the ground unless you plan to feed the birds. Adequate preparation as a minimum means to rake the area clear of any standing grass or weeds. Then, rake the round enough to rough up the soil. Scatter your flowers seeds and cover with about one-half inch of Master Nursery Gold Rush.
• If planted now, summer annuals will give you 2-3 more months of color. Plant marigolds, alyssum, petunias, lobelia, cleome, salpiglossis, fibrous begonias, zinnias, bedding dahlias, calendula, forget-me-nots, larkspur, Iceland poppies, cosmos, and ageratum in full sun. For the shade, try impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, fibrous begonias, primrose, cinerarias and coleus. Some full sun annuals will also perform decently with an only few hours of sun, such as alyssum and lobelia.
•Some summer annuals including vegetables will start to show mildew by the end of the month. Don't bother spraying at this late date. Do not compost diseased plants.
• Winter annuals are available now and include fibrous begonias, forget-me-nots, Iceland poppies, cinerarias, primroses, stock, snapdragons, cyclamen, pansy, viola and Calendula. Winter annuals should be planted before the soil cools by mid-October; otherwise they become semi-dormant and fail to bloom.
•Fertilize annuals monthly with a granular fertilizer such as Master Nursery Rose & Flower Food or Formula 49.
• Don’t forget to apply Sluggo or Cooke Pest Granules after planting annuals. The Pest Granules are most effective but use Sluggo if you have dogs or children. If seedlings are chewed off to the ground and there are no snail or slug tracks, suspect birds (especially white or gold-crowned sparrows).
• Spring-blooming bulbs are here! Shop now for the best selections of tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, Dutch iris, ixia, leucojum, sparaxis, freesias, narcissus, iris, anemone, and ranunculus.
• Remember to refrigerate tulips, crocus and hyacinths for 6-8 weeks before planting to get normal stem lengths. Store bulbs in paper bags in the refrigerator away from ripe fruits. Be sure bulbs stay dry.
• Bulbs that don't need refrigeration can be planted now. Remember to amend soil with Master Nursery Gold Rush and to broadcast Master Nursery Bulb Food when planting. You can also add Master Nursery Bulb Food to individual bulb holes. The general rule of thumb for the depth of the hole is 3 times the length of the bulb. Special tip from Ed: Plant daffodils and Dutch iris about 8 inches deep (at the base) and then plant annuals such as violas, lobelia or alyssum right over the tops of them. You can mix Narcissus (daffodils) and Dutch Iris in the same bed. The Narcissus will come up first followed by the Dutch Iris and grow right through the annuals. Then next summer plant more annuals over the bulbs.
• To decrease the occurrence of Eutypa in apricots, prune in September. Eutypa spores are most prolific after the first rains, and spread by splashing rains. Pruning at this time allows pruning wounds to callous before the rains start and thus prevents Eutypa spores from entering the cuts. Do not prune trees again in winter. If trees are infected with brown rot, be sure to remove dead or diseased wood showing signs of oozing sap and cankers. These past three years have been particularly bad for apricots and brown rot. You must spray three times See our Care Guide on Apricot Trees.
• Cut back caneberries, such as blackberries and raspberries, now. Prune to the ground those canes which fruited this summer and tie up new canes. These new canes will fruit next summer.
• Fertilize deciduous fruit trees and vines around Labor Day with Master Nursery Fruit Tree & Vine Food or Dr. Earth Citrus & Fruit Tree Fertilizer. This is one of the most important times to fertilize. Deciduous trees take up nitrogen and store it for their spring growth.
• Fireblight appears as blackened branch tips and most commonly affects pears but also pyracantha, apples, photinia, loquat, and some other plants in the rose family. To control, cut 9 to 12 inches below affected tissue, sterilizing pruning tools between each cut with rubbing alcohol, a bleach solution or Lysol. Spray next spring according to our Dormant Spray Schedule for Fruit Trees and Roses Care Guide.
• To control powdery mildew and grey mold on grapes, continue spraying every two weeks with sulfur until the crop is harvested. Avoid overhead watering. Fertilize after harvesting your crop.
• Table grapes should be watered deeply once every 7-14 days. Wine grapes, on the other hand, are generally watered less frequently (once a month) in order to concentrate flavor and sweetness in smaller fruit.
• Table grapes such as Thompson’s seedless and Flame are particularly well adapted to the hot weather of the Central Valley and do not ripen well in the Bay Area. Instead, the two varieties most adapted to our climate and with the best flavor are Suffolk and Himrod.
• It is normal for fruit trees such as peach and plums to have leaves turn yellow and start to drop when they have finished producing fruit.
• Next year, if you want to prevent crinkled leaves on your plums and cherries, spray the leaves with Malathion when they are only one-half inch long and then two weeks later. The crinkled leaves are caused by aphids.
• Peach leaf curl is best controlled by three dormant sprays at the end of November, end of December and end of January. Research at UC Davis has found that these are the most effective controls if applied when trees are dormant and that growing season controls, such as picking off infected leaves or blasting leaves with water is not effective.
• Brown rot of apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums manifests as dieback of and/or oozing from short fruiting spurs or branch tips and a decrease or absence in fruit production. While it is too late to spray for this disease this year, next year apply two additional copper or Daconil sprays at pink bud and full bloom. When pruning this summer or next winter, you should remove dead wood, oozing wood and any wood with cankers. See our Care Guide on Apricot Trees for more details. Just a note--We were recipients of some gorgeous looking peaches which developed brown rot within a few days. This is another of the effects of the brown rot fungus and can be prevented by spraying the fruit a few weeks before harvesting.
• Spray apple and pear trees now for woolly apple aphids, which appear as a white cottony substance, usually in crevices, pruning cuts and on the roots close to the base of the tree. Use Malathion, but not within 7 days of harvest.
• To prevent sunscald paint deciduous fruit tree trunks with a white, water-based interior latex paint cut 50% with water. This is especially important for young trees and trees planted in blazing hot locations. Paint from the ground level up into the first scaffold branches.
• Check citrus for snail damage and for scale. Scale is a sucking insect that usually clusters along fruit stems, new growth and the undersides of leaves. If scale is found, UC Davis recommends spraying with a mixture of horticultural oil and Malathion. Spray a second time, two weeks later. Don’t use horticultural oil more than 4 times during the growing season. Wait at least 2 weeks between applications. Ants running up and down the stem are often an indication of scale.
• Be sure to water new plantings growing in full sun to about 6 inches deep every 3-4 days. Erigeron, Convolvulus, Creeping Rosemary, Ceanothus and Manzanita are excellent groundcovers for hot, dry locations (though they do need water while becoming established). Special tip from Ed: Blue Star Creeper, Woolly Thyme and Creeping Chamomile fill in nicely between stepping stones in full to part sun and are able to withstand some foot traffic. For the shade, try Campanula, Sweet Woodruff and Vinca Minor.
• Fertilize newly planted groundcovers with Formula 49 three times a year, in February, May and September. For established groundcovers, fertilize once in May.
• To ward off slugs and snails, bait with Sluggo (safe for pets and people). Cooke Pest Granules; available in powder and pellet form is poisonous to pets and people but it is most effective in controlling snails and slugs.
• If lawns show raccoon damage, apply Grub Control to kill ground-dwelling grubs and cutworms. Although it is too late to use Beneficial Nematodes, consider applying them next April and July. Beneficial nematodes are microscopic organisms which consume various destructive soil-dwelling insects, such as cutworms. They do not harm earthworms and are completely safe around pets and people.
• If you have had problems with weedy grasses or other plants in your lawn, now is the time to apply Concern Weed Prevention Plus (made from corn gluten) an organic favorite. Amaze is another chemical pre-emergent. Remember, pre-emergents will not kill existing perennial weeds such as oxalis or dandelions. Use Bonide Weed Beater Ultra or Turflon Ester for them.
• Otherwise, continue feeding lawns with Master Green Lawn Food or Easy Livin' Fall and Winter Feed. For an organic product use Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer.
• Set mowers to 2.5-3 inches for fescue and bluegrass lawns and 1-1.5 inches for Bermuda grass lawns. Special tip from Ed: Consider leaving lawn clippings on the lawn. As clippings break down, they provide the lawn with nutrients, reducing the need for fertilizers by 30-50%. Clippings will completely decompose within one or two weeks and will not cause thatch.
• Mid to late September is a perfect time to patch holes and bare spots in your lawn. See our Lawn Restoration Care Guide.
• Lawns seeded through September may need watering up to 3 times a day so that germinating plants do not dry out.
• You may consider laying sod instead of seeding. Again, you will need to water 2-3 times a week during hot weather to prevent the roots from drying. Sod orders placed with Wegman’s usually take 2-3 days for delivery. Call us for details! Remember: You cannot use pre-emergent products for 3-4 months prior to seeding a lawn or laying sod. To clear the area of weeds, you can, however, use Bonide Weed Beater Ultra or Bonide Kleen-Up 3-4 days before seeding or laying sod. Before installing, pick up or download from this site our Care Guide on Lawn Preparation.
Special Tip from Ed: If you know there are gophers in your lawn area. After following our Care Guide on Lawn Preparation, install a layer of 1 inch by 2 inch welded wire fabric, 14 gauge (at OSH) over the prepared area and before seeding or sodding.
• If you have had problems with Bermuda grass in your lawn, apply Turflon Ester, which also kills annual and perennial broadleaf weeds in established lawns. For crabgrass and some other weed grasses, as well as a host of other tenacious broadleaf weeds, use TRIMEC.
• For oxalis (the plant that looks like clover) and other broadleaf weeds, use Bonide Weed Beater Ultra, a liquid that can be sprayed over entire lawns. Because oxalis is so tenacious, several applications will be needed. Turflon Ester may be more effective.
• Fertilize perennials in September with Master Nursery Rose and Flower Food or Dr. Earth Rose & Flower Fertilizer. If you intend to use a different fertilizer, keep in mind that many of the drought tolerant perennials prefer not to be pampered with high nitrogen, high phosphorus fertilizers. Never use high Phosphorus fertilizers on Australian plants. All fertilizer are required by law to list the percentages of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (N,P,K) in their product and in that order.
• Be sure to deadhead as blooms fade to ensure bloom throughout fall.
• Apply BT, Spinosad, Nature's Pest Fighter, Safer Yard & Garden or Malathion as directed to control caterpillars on pelargoniums (geraniums) and petunias. We have become great fans of Spinosad, an improved version of the organic Bacillus thuringensis (Bt).
• Most of the ornamental grasses are in flower. Special tip from Ed: Check out Blue Oat Grass, Mexican Feather Grass, Rattlesnake Grass, Feather Reed Grass, and Bamboo Muhly. Grasses lend an architecture and texture to the landscape unmatched by other plants. They are also drought-tolerant and deer-resistant.
• Special tip from Ed: Check out Butterfly Weed, Cape Fuchsia, perennial Lobelia, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Penstemon, and Agastache for the sun, and Thysanotis, Jacob’s ladder, Chinese Foxglove, and Bacopa for the shade.
• A nice handful of sun-loving perennials double as both deer-resistant and drought-tolerant plants include: lavender, yarrow, the Salvias, Echinacea, sea lavender, society garlic, Penstemon, and Brachycome. All provide excellent summer color in addition to these practical attributes.
• Bait perennials with Sluggo or Cooke Pest Granules.
A quick word on using horticultural oil on roses during the growing season!
• September will be the last time to fertilize roses this year. Fertilize roses now with Master Nursery Rose and Flower Food or Dr. Earth Rose & Flower Fertilizer.
• We are recommending that you stop dead heading your roses by the end of September to force them into deeper dormancy. Mild winters have caused roses to not become as dormant as desired. An added bonus is that if you have Rugosa roses they will produce beautiful hips and adorn plants through winter.
• The inevitable aphid can be controlled by blasting off with water or by spraying with Safer EndAll Insect Killer, Safer Insect Killing Soap, Monterey Take Down Garden Spray or Malathion.
• Watch for katydids and cucumber beetles, both of which chew on flower buds, leaving holes in flower petals. Treat as for aphids (see above except blasting with water) or Spinosad.
• Rose weevils and curculios chew holes at the bases of buds then lay their eggs within. When larvae hatch, they eat their way through flower buds and petals. The only control for these pests is to disbud plants as if deadheading.
• Rose slugs are the larvae of a wasp which eats the rose leaves until the leaf is full of holes and looks like a piece of lace. Spray with Sevin, Malathion or Spinosad.
• You may also notice activity by leaf cutter bees, which remove neat, semi-circular notches from the margins of leaves. Disregard this activity. These notches are harmless and the leaf cutter bee is extremely beneficial in the garden.
• Mildew and spider mites are favored by hot, dry weather which accounts for their proliferation this past summer. Hosing down the rose bushes first thing in the morning will make your roses happier. Spraying with SAFER brand fungicide (sulfur) will control both the spider mites and mildew, but must be sprayed before the leaves show infection.
• Mixed results have been reported with Bayer All-in-One Rose Care. Bayer Two-in-One with Dursban is too poisonous for Mr. Ed to use.
• Do not spray herbicides such as Round-Up within 100 feet of roses. If weeds appear in rose beds, hand-dig or use a tool such as a hula-hoe to remove and then sprinkle Concern Weed Prevention Plus over the area.
• Powdery Mildew appears as whitish splotches on the surface of leaves and on buds and stems. Use Safer Garden Fungicide or wettable sulfur as a preventive. If these measures aren’t satisfactory, use Triforine, Daconil or Horticultural Oil.
• Rust appears as small yellow to black spots on the upper surface of leaves, which, when flipped, show rust-colored pustules. Use the aforementioned products as a preventive or an eradicant.
SHRUBS & VINES
• Fertilize conifers, evergreen shrubs and evergreen vines in September with Master Nursery Formula 49 (8-4-4).
• Fertilize rhododendrons, camellias and non-blooming azaleas with Master Nursery Camellia, Azalea and Gardenia Food (4-8-5) or a 0-10-10 product or even Master Start (5-20-10). If you prefer a natural product try Dr. Earth’s Rhododendron, Azalea & Camellia Fertilizer (4-5-4).
• If your gardenias show brown buds which drop off before opening, the cause is probably thrips. Use Spinosad or Malathion. Keep in mind that gardenias need an acid soil. Mulch yearly with Master Nursery Gold Rush and apply Iron Sulfate Valentine's Day and 4th of July. Many people grow their gardenias in part shade and are disappointed by the poor flowering. Mr. Ed grows them in full sun from dawn to about 2 p.m. and has blooms 8 to 9 months of the year in his Redwood City garden.
• Special tip from Ed: Three of the fastest growing shrubs for hedges and screens are Black-twig Pittosporum, Red-tip Photinia and purple hopseed bush. Left un-pruned, each will reach approximately 20 feet tall and wide but each can be maintained at 6 to 8 feet if desired. Remember to prune newly planted hedges seasonally, even if lightly. This will encourage plants to be bushy and dense.
• Watch for evidence of thrips and black vine weevil on rhododendrons. Thrips damage appears as a mottling or bleaching of the upper surfaces of leaves and small, glossy black dots on the undersides of leaves. Weevils leave distinctive notches along leaf margins as they feed. Both can be controlled with Malathion or Spinosad.
• Fuchsia gall mites create gnarled leaves with reddish blisters and are common on hybrid fuchsias. If symptoms appear, prune out disfigured growth and spray with Sevin once a month, starting in March. You can also begin a preventive program using Sevin once a month right after pruning in February. Consider species fuchsias, which are mite-resistant. While not as showy as the hybrids, they offer the same bloom time and a surprising diversity of foliar textures. Repot and prune hybrid Fuchsias in February and start the spray cycle at that time.
• If flower petals on your azaleas turned brown last year (azalea petal blight) spray this year while still in bud about every two weeks with Ortho Garden Disease Control (Daconil) or Ortho Rose Pride Disease Control (Funginex).
• If the camellias do the same (camellias petal blight), there is not much you can do. Removing the infected petals helps but be sure not to compost the infected petals.
• Fertilize conifers and evergreen trees now with Master Nursery Formula 49. You can also use the Ross Root Feeder (with 25-10-10 pellets) for trees that are isolated in the landscape.
• In both San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, the olive fruit fly has rendered olives unusable for home curing. If you’re thinking of home curing olives, be sure to have fruit checked for larvae. Currently, the only treatment for this pest is a pheromone trap and Spinosad.
•Special tip from Ed: If you are considering having specimen trees pruned, we strongly encourage you to seek certified arborists or other licensed technicians. While you will pay more for their work, you can be assured that the longevity of your trees will not be compromised by poor practices such as topping.
• Remove vegetables that are finished producing to free up space to start your winter vegetable garden (see our Winter Vegetable Gardening Care Sheet). Don’t tear out tomatoes, squash or other vegetables that continue to produce. Prepare soil by covering it with 1 to 2 inches of Master Nursery Gold Rush, scattering Master Start Fertilizer at the rate of 10 pounds per 500 square feet and digging it all in to about 6 inches deep.
• Cool season greens, such as lettuce, spinach, cilantro, chard, and mustard can be planted by seed at this time.
• Plant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and the rest of the Cole crops that do well in our area. Be sure to space transplants 12 to 18 inches apart. Try kohlrabi and bok choy for deliciously different tastes. Rutabaga, parsnips and the other root vegetables can also be planted now from seed.
• When string beans have finished, replace them in the same spot with your favorite peas from seed. Plant 2-3 seeds in each hole, about 12 inches apart. Bush peas will bear sooner but pole peas will bear more pods for a longer time. Sunset Magazine recommends Super Sugar Snap peas.
• To save seeds from heirloom tomatoes, extract seeds from overripe tomatoes by mashing them in water, decanting the pulp and rinsing the seeds in a kitchen strainer. Pour wet seeds onto a paper towel, dry for 24 hours and store in paper bags or envelopes in a cool, dry place. Don’t try this with hybrid tomatoes because they do not produce true from seed.
• If you have had problems with verticillium wilt on tomatoes and potatoes, next year consider solarizing the beds with clear plastic for 6-8 weeks during the months of June to early September. Solarization sterilizes the soil by cooking harmful microbes in the soil. Cover beds with clear 2 mil plastic and be sure to anchor the edges of the plastic with dirt or heavy objects. While these beds will be unusable for a season, the sacrifice will pay off in healthy plants the following year.
• Whiteflies on tomatoes are difficult to control but Master Nursery Year Round Spray Oil is your best bet. Apply a second treatment one week later. Consider using whitefly traps and a 'Dustbuster' vacuum in conjunction with the sprays for more effective control. This has been a particularly difficult year for tomatoes. When daytime temperatures exceed 90 degrees, the blossoms fall off and when night time temperatures dip below 55 degrees, the blossoms also fall off resulting in a gap in fruit production.
Ideas for special situations . . .
• Liquid Fence has proven to be extremely effective in deterring deer from yards and gardens. The trick is to use it exactly as instructed.
• Likewise, Mole & Gopher Med has proven to be effective in ridding yards and gardens of gophers and moles. The secret, again, is to follow the instructions exactly as instructed. Mole & Gopher Med will not kill the pests but rather chases them someplace else.
• Special tip from Ed: Consider utilizing beneficial insects in lieu of insecticides. Ladybugs and their larva feast on aphids and are especially useful in rose gardens and vegetable gardens. Release 50-100 at a time, in the evening. Set out shallow dishes of water along with plant parts covered with aphids. These props will encourage ladybugs to stick around.
• Container plants must be fertilized with an appropriate granular fertilizer monthly: March to October. Liquid fertilizers may also be applied monthly. if you tire easily, use Osmocote Plus which is applied every 4 months.
• Consider watering indoor plants with a solution of 2 Tablespoons of vinegar to 1 gallon water once a month in order to reduce salt build-up and neutralize high pH.
• Don't forget to put out water for the birds. When you see the birds from your garden drinking and bathing in gutter water, you should feel guilty. Remember, even scrub jays will eat their weight in bugs each week!
• Special tip from Ed: Sharp pruning tools make clean cuts that heal quickly. Check out our Pruning Tool Renovation service, which includes cleaning and sharpening and replacing missing parts for Felco and other pruners. If you’re unsure whether we can service your tool, bring it in for assessment.