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Master Gardners tips 2008 May

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*Tip: Last month we suggested planting citrus for year-round fruit
and foliage. This month we highlight Mandarins! *

This is the month to plant new citrus as local nurseries
are loaded with fresh shipments of Mandarins and more. Mandarin
choices are extensive. For an early harvest in October - December,
try seedless Kishu. Satsumas follow with fruit in
December and January. As you are finishing your seedless and
easy-to-peel Satsumas, Page will be producing. Known for being one of
the best tasting and having the longest harvest season (January
– June), Page is a great bang for your buck. Gold Nugget, also
seedless, richly flavored, and easy to peel, begins bearing in March.
Gold Nugget is remarkably frost tolerant, and unlike many other
mandarins, the fruit holds well on the tree through summer. For the
latest season fruit, look for Encore, while Fremont is another master
gardener favorite
Some newer varieties that are quite early, large, and nearly seedless
are Shasta Gold and Tahoe Gold

*Tip: If you want more bees in your garden, plant some bee-attracting
annuals such as Cosmos, or simply allow your herbs to flower.*
With few exceptions, fruit will not form until pollen from male
parts is transferred to the female parts of a flower. Without
pollination, flowers
may bloom abundantly, but will not bear fruit. Some plants
are better at attracting bees and other pollinating insects and
animals than others. Give your fruit trees the gift of an
insect-friendly environment and give your family a better harvest!

*Tip: Bring your cut roses inside to enjoy.*
Cutting rose blossoms allows the plant to conserve energy and leads
to further flower production. During the growing season, the
rule-of-thumb for cutting blooms on first-year
plants is to make the cut above the first outwardly facing
five-leaflet leaf. On well-established plants, cut blooms somewhat
lower to ensure new canes can support the weight of the blooms. To
deadhead a rose bush, use the same guidelines as those for cutting
blooms. Landscape varieties do not need to be deadheaded. For all
your rose questions, be it cultivation, pests, or pruning, UC IPM
online has
the answers.

*Tip: If your neighbor’s lawn makes you green with envy, the
number one, easiest way to make your lawn look better is to not mow
your grass too short.*
Any time your lawn is mowed, its
ability to photosynthesize and to produce carbohydrates essential for
growth decreases. To maximize photosynthesis and reduce turf stress,
remove no more than one-third of the blade at one time. If the lawn
is repeatedly cut too short, carbohydrate reserves will be depleted,
weakening roots and predisposing the grass to weeds, diseases,
insects, and drought injury. For ideas about lawn alternatives (PDF),
or for more sustainable lawn tips, check out these sites, too!