June Tips: Southern California

June is an easygoing month in the Southern California garden. Your spring labors should be paying off, and the workload is slowing to an enjoyable pace.


+ enlarge image Douse your compost pile.
  • Keep up with watering chores. Soak containers well. If you can't keep up or they're wilting anyway, move them to a shadier spot. Also give your compost heap an occasional dousing to promote necessary decomposition. Also consider shading the heap to keep it moister longer.
  • Remember that drought-tolerant native plants and other dry-climate plants will need only infrequent, deep water from now until rains start later in the year.
  • Inspect your irrigation system, if you have one, for damaged sprinkler heads, which waste water. Replace as needed.

Drought Survival for Your Lawn -- Check out our lawn drought-survival tips.

Drought Survival for Your Lawn

  • Prune emerging flower stalks from palms if you don't want fruit. Also remove dead leaves, if desired, but be sure to leave the living leaves or you'll seriously impede the plant's health.
  • Transplant palms now since the soil is sufficiently warm.
  • If you haven't already, plant heat-loving vegetables such as corn, cucumbers, green beans, lima beans, okra, peppers, pumpkin, New Zealand spinach, zucchini, summer squash, melons, and eggplant.
  • Otherwise, stop planting all but the most heat-tolerant plants.

Deadheading 101 -- Continue to deadhead fading flower blossoms. Also cut back perennials where foliage has browned or become diseased to tidy them up.

Deadheading 101

Mulch Matters -- If you haven't already, apply a layer of mulch on flower beds and around trees and shrubs 2-3 inches around the base of plants. (Make sure it doesn't touch any part of the plants, however.) It reduces weeds, conserves moisture, and improves soil texture. Great stuff!

Mulch Matters

  • Now is the time to control a number of diseases. Watch for fungal disease on tomatoes and roses and spray with a fungicide (a botanical, earth-friendly one if possible). Keep an eye out also for aphids and other small sucking insects, as well as whitefly. Treat with insecticidal soap. Spider mites can be treated with pyrethrums, an extract from mums.
  • Fertilize your lawn.

Feeding Roses and Fertilizing Annuals -- Fertilize roses, citrus trees, fuschias, avocado trees, vegetables, and flowers.

Feeding Roses

Fertilizing Annuals

Fertilizing Plants -- Fertilize container plants.

Fertilizing Plants

  • Keep an eye out for yellow or pale leaves with green ribs -- a sign of iron chlorosis. Apply chelated iron according to package directions.
  • Clean up fallen fruit from citrus, peaches, pears, apples, and other fruit trees.
  • Keep mowing regularly. It's the best thing you can do to control weeds and keep grass thick and healthy.
  • Plant late-summer flowering annuals and perennials, as well as heat-loving tropical and sub-tropical plants.

Harvesting Vegetables -- Harvest veggies to keep them producing.

Harvesting Vegetables

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