Advice for the Great Deluge of 2017

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Wow this is a lot of rain, I hope people are keeping an eye on potted succulents and moving them under shelter or covering them to keep them from becoming over-saturated and rotting out. This is a good time to examine areas of the garden for standing water and observe which plants are growing there, these plants might show problems later in the season. You might determine later in the year to build french drains or re-plant in elevated containers if the plants in these boggy areas become damaged or die. Or alternately if existing plants fail due to boggy conditions consider planting bog loving plants like Bog Sage, Horsetail and Swamp Bacharis which will enjoy next years rain saturation.

Expect big populations of snails and slugs this year, physical removal is best but when the rains stop, application of Sluggo might be advisable. They just LOVE this kind of weather and reproduce at a furious rate.

Fungal disease will be very aggressive, do consider a second or third application of copper or sulfur spray on stone fruit to inhibit leaf curl and other problems. If you have questions about which fruit trees are affected and what safer sprays to use, call us at 510 755 1102 and we’ll figure it out together.

Lastly insect populations are going to explode across the board. Expect aphids, scale, mealy bug and yellow jackets in numbers you haven’t seen since before the drought began five years ago. Purchase some yellow jacket traps if you enjoy eating outside, keep an eye on holes in the ground for nests and check out rafters and over-hangs too. These are beneficial predators so if you don’t need to kill them, please don’t. But the best time to limit Yellow Jacket populations is in the next couple months as queens look for new places to build nests and reproduce, traps put out now will intercept queens before they can establish.

Stock up on Neem Oil or Safer 3n1 and consider implementing a proactive spray program for vegetables as I expect to see a lot of sad faces when aphids, cucumber beetles and scale devastates entire veggie gardens this year.

Lastly if you are worm composting, apply worm tea as often as you can, this will help strengthen the plants defense mechanisms. Be sure to add chitinous material to the bins for worms to eat. I mean add lots of dead bugs to the compost unit! When worms eat dead bugs they secrete a chemical in their leavings which plants absorb and makes them resistant to feeding insects.

Good luck out there! I’m off to build an Ark.
Jeff