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5 garden tips for this week, Dec. 2-8

By in Press Enterprise on December 2, 2017

By Jack Christensen

1 Keep an eye on the cold

Check weather forecasts regularly and protect sensitive shrubbery from nighttime freezes from now through February. A string of holiday lights often provides enough warmth to do the job. Or support a bed sheet or clear plastic above and around (but not touching) plants at night. For plants that do get nipped, wait until March to prune off damaged stems no matter how unsightly they look, because the dead foliage will provide insulation against future damage.

2 Delay tactic

Wait a bit longer before harvesting those now-orange naval oranges and tangerines. Otherwise, they may be sour or bitter enough to curl your eyebrows. Robertson naval oranges will be sweeter in a couple of weeks; Washington naval oranges usually sweeten around Christmas and continue getting sweeter in January and February. Most home-grown tangerines taste best if you can wait until February to start the harvest. So for now, look — and maybe drool a bit — but don’t touch yet.

3 Fighting disease

To prevent springtime fruit tree diseases, such as peach leaf curl, apply dormant sprays to deciduous fruit trees as soon as leaves fall completely. Spray from the ground up with Liqui-Cop Fungicide combined with Neem Oil within the next few weeks kill disease spores and to smother overwintering insect pests hiding inside the bark. Both products are commonly available at home and garden centers.

4 Preventive measures

Carrotwood trees are blooming now. To prevent the formation of those hard, messy seed pods and fruits on these and other ornamental trees, spray the foliage with “Florel Fruit Eliminator” now before flowering ends. It’s available from garden centers and home improvement stores. The active ingredient, a natural plant hormone called ethephon, causes the fertilized flowers to fall off so fruits can’t develop.

5 Growing tip

You and/or your children may enjoy growing a […]    

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