Science based solutions for Colusa County's gardening communities.
March in the Garden
In the garden:
- Check your irrigation system and do necessary maintenance.
- Fertilize roses, annuals flowers, and berries with slow-release fertilizer when spring growth begins.
- Fertilize citrus and deciduous fruit trees.
- Watch for aphids on new growth on the roses; spray with a strong spray of water to remove them, or use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil spray.
- Prepare garden beds by incorporating compost before planting spring vegetables. You can plant lettuce, carrots, and cilantro directly in the vegetable bed. Mid-March is a good time to plant potatoes.
- You can plant canna, gladiolus, and crocosmia for summer blooms. Early in the month you can still plant bare-root trees and shrubs if the garden center still has any.
- Don’t be tempted by the plants in the garden centers unless you have a way to warm up the soil. It is still early for tomatoes, eggplant and peppers (although you could try late in the month if it is still warm.) Nights should be above 55°.
- Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs and trees after they finish blooming.
- Fertilize the lawn with a slow release fertilizer.
- Keep on the weed patrol; pull them while they are small.
- Use iron phosphate bait for slugs and snails or go on a night hunt and kill them up when you find them.
Create drought resistant soil
- By incorporating 2-4 inches of compost into the soil you will increase the water holding capacity of the soil.
- Topdressing compost around plants will reduce water needs but not up to the plant base. Space @ the base.
- Mulch all exposed soil to reduce evaporation with bark, leaf litter or rocks
- Reduced water usage
Grow California or Mediterranean natives
Check out the UC Arboretum All-Stars
- Plants thrive with little irrigation
- Planting in the fall allows the roots to grow without competition
- Irrigate until established
- Minimize high water use ornamentals
- Reduce watering
- Reduce trimming
- Reduce fertilizing
- Reduce spraying
Minimize the Lawn
- The use of native groundcovers, grasses, shrubs and trees make an eye catching garden
- Reduce the size of the lawn and plant Tall fescue. It is a cool season grass that does well in summer. Most cool season grasses need a lot of water to look good
- Avoid slopes, plant a ground cover instead of lawn
- Conserve water
- Conserve energy
- Conserve labor
- By grouping plants together by water and light needs plants tend to be healthy
- When you group your plants together by water and light needs then you can properly water each micro-climate
- Use California natives
- Healthy plants
- Conserve water
- Less pruning
- Remember to change your irrigation timer seasonally. Monthly adjustments are encouraged
- Use an automatic controller on your irrigation system
- Use drip for your flower and shrub beds
- Replace old sprinkler heads with high efficient ones. If your system is over 10 years old check out the new sprinkler heads at your local garden center
- Use multiple run times if you have a lot of run-off before the timer shuts off. For example; you should irrigate every other day for 20 minutes but after 15 minutes the water is running off the lawn. Instead run the system for 10 minutes, wait 1 hour and run for another 10 minutes. This works especially well on slopes.
- Limit evaporation and run-off
- Limit disease
- Limit weeds
Irrigate according to the season
- Know your watering needs (Lawn water kits are available in our office)
- Adjust watering to the season, use chart in Lawn Watering brochure
- Water early
- Water slowly
- Water deeply
- Appropriate watering slows plant growth
- Promotes plant health
- Reduces pruning and mowing
- It is estimated that overwatering causes 85% of all landscape problems
Make every Drop Count
- Water wisely and slowly.
- Mulch is one of the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to save water
- Repair leaks and broken sprinklers
- Reduce overspray areas
- Adjust the system frequently to the season
- Mulching exposed soil reduces evaporation.
- Prevent urban drool
- Conserve water
- Save money
- Urban landscape water use can be reduced by 50%
UC Master Gardeners of Colusa County
The University of California Master Gardener Program provides the public with UC research-based information about home horticulture, sustainable landscape and pest management practices. The program is administered by local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) county offices that are the principal outreach and public service arms of the University’s division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The UC Master Gardener program supports sustainable gardening practices that protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and take into consideration each gardener's lifestyle and goals.
What do UC Master Gardeners do?
UC Master Gardeners are trained to help residents of California become better gardeners. Using a variety of activities such as workshops, lectures, and garden hotlines these volunteers answer questions about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping, and integrated pest management using University of California research-based information.
After their training UC Master Gardeners are qualified to help the public with problems in areas such as:
- Weed Control
- Plant Problem Diagnosis
- Integrated Pest Management (insect and pest control)
- Soils, fertilizers and irrigation
- Selecting and caring for fruit and landscape trees
- Growing annuals, perennials and food crops
- Lawn care
- Vegetable Gardening
- Plant Pathology
Each county develops programs to address local needs. Some typical activities are:
- Using mass media to disseminate gardening information
- Teaching workshops, or lecturing on gardening practices
- Participating in research activities with academics within UC
- Answering gardeners’ questions via email or helplines
- Speaking to the public on horticultural and gardening topics
- Manning county fair information booths
- Consulting with gardeners to improve their landscape practices
Asian Citrus Psyllid
Asian Citrus Psyllid is an insect that carries a devastating disease in Citrus trees and there is no cure. The insect and disease is usually detected in home citrus first. Click here to read more about the Asian Citrus Psyllid and the Huanglongbing disease.
Click here for Spanish
Fruit Tree Care & Garden Irrigation
Saturday March 29, 1-3pm
Master Gardener Blog
The European honey bee, also known as the Western honey bee, has been in the United States for s-o-o-o long that we think it's a native. It's not. European colonists brought the honey bee (Apis mellifera) to the Jamestown colony (Virginia) in 1622....