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

Pomegranate Madera Master Gardeners
Madera Master Gardeners Hotline is working remotely. 

Questions? Send an email to mgfresno@ucdavis.edu Including photos is helpful.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

No phone service at this time or office hours. 

The UCANR Cooperative Extension Office has moved. New address is  145 Tozer Street Suite 103 Madera, CA 93638.


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. 

February 2023 MG website column Elinor

February 2023 MG website column Elinor Teague 

soil and seedlings
The springtime planting season in the Central Valley begins in February and ends when daytime temperatures begin to average 85 degrees and above, generally in mid-April until early May.Many gardeners concentrate on planting or transplanting perennials and summer annual vegetables and flowers as quickly as possible during the short spring planting season.Care for container plants including house plants is often overlooked or left until last.Spring is the best time to repot and shape or prune perennial container plants and to pot up new plants.
Check the soil level in container plants first.If the soil has subsided so that the top level is now well below the rim, the soil will need to be replenished. It’s easiest of course to just add more soil on top of the existing soil, but wet soil next to the stem or trunk will cause it to rot.It’s best to remove the plant from the pot and then add soil at the bottom where the roots are growing until the entire plant is raised up to one or several inches below the rim, depending on plant and pot size. 
Turn pots over to check drain holes for escaping roots.The best drain hole covers are coffee filters, but they decompose within a year or two and should be replaced.If roots are coming out of the drain hole it means that the roots have filled the pot, replacing the soil.The plant may need to be moved into a one-size larger pot or the roots may need to be trimmed or shaved to make room for more soil.Even small trees and large perennials can live for years in the same pot with regular annual or bi-annual gentle root trims using a sharp cutting knife.My mother’s Ginzu knife is still in use as a root shaving tool. 
Potting soil brands vary widely in formulation and quality.The most important consideration is the soil’s capacity to retain water and to drain excess water well.Finding the right mix is an ongoing experiment.Always use a potting soil specifically formulated for the plant type.African violets and other members of the Gesneriad plant family do much better in peat-based soils.Cacti and succulents need quick-draining sandy soils.Acid-loving shade plants including azaleas and camellias need the extra sulfur (which lowers alkaline higher pH levels) found in shade plant formulations.Supermarket orchids are often sold planted in light-weight mossy stuff which either dries out too quickly or never dries out.Replacing the mossy stuff with fresh orchid bark after buying and annually afterwards helps ensure a longer blooming life for the orchid.(As orchid barks decompose they lose their ability to hold water).
Remove the plant or tree from the pot as gently as possible to avoid damage to new roots that will be starting their spring growth spurt. Trim off any dead plant tissue or spent flowers and take leaf cuttings or divide favorite plants for starting new plants in spring.Container plants are dormant in winter and don’t require feeding from mid-October until February.Resume fertilization in spring with higher nitrogen foods for foliage plants and higher phosphorus foods for flowering plants.Nutrient deficiencies are common in container plants since watering washes away nutrients.Deficiencies usually can be remedied with an application or two of a high-quality citrus food and/or additional iron or sulfur.
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.