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Garden Advice Ask Us

Advice to Grow By.... Ask Us... Madera Master Gardeners

Pomegranate Madera Master Gardeners
Have a gardening question? 

Madera and Fresno Master Gardener volunteers are working to answer your questions. 

Please email your questions to mgfresno@ucanr.edu

Including photos is helpful.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Madera Master Gardener volunteers are working at the Three Sister garden on Tuesday am. Stop by and visit the garden and chat with our volunteers. 

Elinor Teague

Elinor Teague
A note from Elinor Teague to the readers:

After writing gardening columns for the Fresno Bee for 18 years, it is a pleasure to be able to continue to offer readers gardening advice and tips here on the Fresno and Madera County Master Gardeners’ website.

If you would like to read more articles from this past year by Elinor click here to read. 

Thank you Elinor for your support of the Fresno/Madera Master Gardener programs. 

See this month article below. 

July 2023 MG website column Elinor
July 2023 MG website column Elinor Teague 
The recent sudden rise in day and nighttime temperatures was a shock to plants that had flourished in cooler-than-average and longer-lasting springtime weather conditions.


The typical summer weather pattern in the Central San Joaquin Valley begins with the formation in late April or early May of a high pressure ridge or dome that traps hot, stagnant air and lowers humidity.  This year dangerously high temperatures and dry conditions did not develop until the Fourth of July holiday.  Some weather forecasts are anticipating high temperatures with very hot days and nights to be continuous for at least the next two to three months; heat spikes with several consecutive days of extremely high temperatures can also be expected.

Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.’ Central Valley gardeners struggle to mitigate the effects of heat stress, low humidity and air pollution on plants every summer growing season.  Some of our practices will need to change or be modified in order to keep plants alive and healthy as overall temperatures rise and weather patterns change.  Water conservation is always a concern.  

Deep, infrequent irrigation to encourage root development at deeper levels in the soil is still advised during periods of less intense heat.  We’ll still need to keep automatic sprinkler systems on the mandated schedule but increase watering times.  However, we now need to begin deep irrigation of vulnerable plants several days before heat spikes are predicted to arrive.  Use soaker hoses, bubblers on a hose or small oscillating sprinklers to slowly irrigate the soil under the most vulnerable or productive plants to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Test soil moisture levels frequently with the goal of keeping the soil consistently moist.  Most plants will need to be watered in summer when the top inch or two of soil has dried.  That maybe a daily or even twice daily occurrence during heat spikes.   

Plants that produce crops (fruit and nut trees, summer vegetables, roses) need replacement nutrients as crops are removed.  Fruit and nut trees should be fed after harvest with high nitrogen fertilizers.  Harvest of fruits and nuts may come sooner than usual as temperatures rise and crops ripen quickly.  Summer vegetables are another story.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and squashes will stop producing flowers when temperatures are above 90 degrees. Mediterranean varieties of those plants tend to be more heat-tolerant.  Heat-loving peppers and eggplants will continue to produce and hold flowers at higher temperatures.  

If your plants are holding their flowers and the fruit continues to develop feed lightly with a low-number, low-nitrogen fertilizer once a month.  Stop feeding summer vegetables and annual summer-flowering plants if all the flowers or the immature fruit have dropped and resume feeding them when new buds begin to show.  Some gardeners continued to put in transplants in May and June, well after the end of the normal summer planting season.  The new transplants with immature root systems will be unlikely to survive the first heat spike of July even when well-watered. 

Arboretum All Stars UC Davis

UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden

Our horticultural staff garden with many species of plants and, over the years, have gained unique insights into which plants work well in our area, even under difficult conditions. After narrowing down their favorites to a list, testing them in the Arboretum as well as field trials throughout the state, they picked these 100, hence the name, “Arboretum All-Stars.”

AllStarLogo UC Davis

Tree Care online resourses?

Thank you: Dave Wilson Nursery for your wonderful online resources about trees. 

Click here to see the videos posted about Tree care.