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 Deep Roots Garden Center             Newsletter                          September 2010


Labor Day Sale!

September 4 – September 12, 2010


10% reduction on pottery,

fountains & hard goods!


20% reduction

on all plant material!


Fall is for planting!!!

Free delivery to Manhattan, Hermosa and N. Redondo.


During sale only





"The Collection at Deep Roots"


We have a large stock of rare and unique plants for gardeners who are looking for something a little bit different. Come and see our rare and difficult to find succulents, begonias, water-wise plants and more.



7 common problems and

how to deal with them

Gardening is the #1 most popular hobby in America, but it is not without its trials and difficulties. One of the biggest hurdles for gardeners is recognizing and then appropriately treating common plants problems. Most plant problems have a variety of solutions. Here are seven of the most common problems:

(1) The edges of your plant's leaves are brown and dry.

Causes: Either the temperature is too high for your plant, it is receiving too much direct sunlight, or it is not in an area of sufficient humidity. Our beach air may feel humid sometimes but generally our air is dry and inside your house the ambient humidity is lower than the plant received during its infancy in a professional greenhouse.

Solution: Most indoor potted plants should only be watered when the soil is dry, but can really benefit from a daily light misting with a spray bottle. To create a more humid environment for your plant you can also set it in a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water, or place it next to a table top fountain or water feature. Outside move the plant into a semi-shaded area or wet the ground around the plant to provide more humidity.

(2) Browning of the leaf tips or on the leaf veins and margins.

Causes: This problem looks similar to problem #1 above but has different causes, probably fertilizer burn or poor water quality.  Fertilizers are basically salts. When fertilizing plants you are putting salts into the soil. If these salts stay in the root area and are not leached out by thorough watering, the salts build up and burn the roots which can lead to brown tips.The water that comes out of our faucets is high in alkalinity and chlorine, which can also cause the tips of the leaves to go brown.

Solution: Most houseplant fertilizer comes in liquid form. When you fertilize your plant water it thoroughly first, then add some drops of fertilizer to some water and water the plant again. Make sure you do not leave any water in the saucer under the pot.

    If your plant is suffering from fertilizer burn you need to remove the salts from the soil by watering the plant three times in a row and letting the water run out the bottom of the pot.  Over watering is already one of the biggest problems with indoor houseplant care so be careful to let the soil dry out after leaching the soil. You can also re-pot the plant in fresh soil.

    For plants in  your garden or a lawn that are suffering from fertilizer burn, a good soak with the hose may help. Generally, you need to catch the problem within the first 24 hours. If poor water quality is affecting your plants, use filtered water, bottled water, or let your water sit for 24 hours before using it to water your plants. Also using an acid fertilizer can help reset the Ph level of the soil.

3) The veins of the plants' leaves remain green, while the leaves turn yellow.

Cause: The Ph level of your soil is incorrect.

Solution: Purchase an in-home soil test kit and test the Ph level of your soil. In our Southern California area of low rainfall the soil is nearly always extremely alkaline. Added to that the water from our hosepipes is also alkaline with lots of chlorine and other salts. If the soil is too alkaline the plant cannot absorb certain nutrients from the soil. Amend your soil according to the results you obtain from the test. If your soil Ph shows high alkalinity amend the soil with a soil acidifier or with a bag of acid based compost. Some plants may have an iron deficiency and may need feeding with an Iron Chelate product. Citrus trees are especially prone to this condition and need regular feeding with a fertilizer formulated for citrus trees.

4) Tiny white spots on leaves, with small cobwebs

Cause: Your plant may have spider mites.

Solution: Spider mites really thrive in warm, dry drought-like conditions. Your best defense is to make sure that the air around your plants maintains proper humidity levels and moisture. See #1 above for tips on how to increase humidity. If you have a spider mite infestation, make sure to isolate the affected plant because they can migrate quickly to other plants. Wash and dry the leaves to remove the mites and their webs, and then try spraying the plant with a solution of one part rubbing alcohol to one part water. If this fails to eradicate the problem we have a range of organic and chemical sprays and systemic pesticides at Deep Roots Garden Center.

5) Fuzzy gray mold on plant leaves, flowers and stems.

Cause: This mold is botrytis blight, which is a disease that generally takes hold when dead flowers and leaves are left on the plant.

Solution: make sure to deadhead your plants to keep them healthy and encourage continued flowering. To prevent this and other molds attacking your plant make sure not to overcrowd the plants so as to allow enough space for air to circulate freely.

6) Powdery, white mildew growth on the tops and bottoms of leaves.

Cause: Powdery mildew is caused by an airborne fungal disease that many plants in our coastal region are subject to, including roses, tomatoes and squash.

Solution: Air flow, sunshine and ventilation discourage mildew growth so make sure your plants are well ventilated and not crowded. If you do spot powdery mildew developing try this home remedy first: mix up a quart of of warm water, 1/2 cup baking soda, and a few drops of dish washing liquid in a bucket. Stir until the baking soda dissolves, then pour it into a spray bottle and spray your plants. If this does not work we have organic and chemical fungicides at Deep Roots Garden Center to treat this problem and problem # 5 above.

7) Sticky spots on foliage. 

Cause: Sticky leaves are most likely cause by aphids. You can effectively remove aphids by plucking or rubbing them off the plants. Or you can knock them off with a blast of water. If you have a serious infestation try spraying with a mixture of one cup vegetable oil, 2 cups water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid soap. Lady bugs are an effective predator of aphids. If none of these remedies work we have organic and chemical sprays at Deep Roots garden Center to eradicate the problem.


And here is another problem: Squirrels!


We have had a lot of enquiries about how to control squirrels which eat all the fruit off our fruit trees before it is even ripe, and dig holes in our flower pots to bury their winter nuts and peanuts. According to our Internet research the pest in question is the Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), a non-native species first introduced into Southern California in 1904. Apparently it reached our area in 1993 and has been a pest ever since. Not only do they eat our fruit, but once they find their way into our attics or under our roofs they are VERY difficult to get rid of, and they can be extremely destructive, tearing ventilation covers and grills off access points until they can get in. They may be very pretty dancing their way along electrical cables above our heads, but they represent a serious pest problem that is only now beginning to manifest itself.

   Controlling them is extremely difficult as they are not afraid of humans and have very few, if any, predators in our urban  area. They reproduce quickly and as long as they have plenty of food sources there will be no limit to their numbers.First and foremost, PLEASE do not feed the squirrels no matter how cute they are. These animals can vector diseases between each other and may also do the same for you or your pets. It is thought that squirrels may carry the fleas that cause Bubonic plague and we do not want these fleas anywhere near our cats and dogs. I continually find peanuts buried in my plant pots - evidence that one of my neighbors is feeding these animals...

   Also don't feed the birds. Don't feed any kind of animal outside. Even pets should be fed inside, never leave their food outside. Squirrels are very mobile, and a pet dish or bird feeding station is "open" territory. We Americans are inveterate bird-feeders, and industries have grown up, catering to those that like to feed the birds. Restrain yourself. True naturalists will confirm that feeding wildlife (including birds) is not a good idea. So will any pest exterminator. The animals will find their food well enough without our help and be better for it.

   How to prevent squirrels from eating the green fruit off your trees is altogether another problem. Squirrels are extremely intelligent and are not deterred by netting or fake snakes or fake owls. You can also forget about mothballs, loud rock music, basil, mint, garlic, marigolds, ammonia, bleach, borax or boric acid, Bounce dryer sheets and catnip.  There is also no device, electronic, magnetic, sonic, stroboscopic, or any combination of these, that will consistently deter these pests.

   I have had some success by throwing reels and reels of fishing line through my fruit trees thereby cutting off access to squirrels and birds, and causing them visual confusion. It is unsightly in the winter when the leaves are gone but it has protected a certain percentage of my fruit from being eaten. New products that contain various animal unrines may also work.

   If you have a deterrent  that works please e-mail Barbara at so that I can pass it on in following newsletters. These pests are here to stay but we do not have to make it easy for them to increase in numbers by growing food for them to eat.

Deep Roots

Garden Center & Flower Design Studio

201-207 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

Manhattan Beach,

CA 90266


Garden Center: 310-376-0567

Flower Shop: 310-379-3634

What to do in the garden in September

 September: the kids go back to school, people return from vacation, plants begin to prepare themselves for the fall equinox and shorter daylight hours, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness... and hot blasts of dry air from the desert.  

   September is a swing month in our gardening world with the official arrival of Autumn later this month, and the return of cooler weather. In the meantime be prepared for the hot dry Santa Ana winds that we usually experience this time of year.

  Here in Southern California we do not have markedly different seasons like colder climates, but in September plants respond to our shorter daylight hours and growth slows down. Many plants are sensitive to day length and others to the cooler nights of Fall. During the Fall they will use much less water as they put their energy into root growth instead of flowering.

   Check your irrigation system so that plants are not overwatered. The switch from above ground growth to root growth means that the Fall is an excellent time for planting. Newly planted shrubs, perennials and trees still have plenty of time for root growth before they go dormant for our very short winter, ready to spring forth with vigorous growth as soon as the days begin to lengthen. New plants require regular watering until they have established themselves.

   Now is a good time to sow your fall and winter vegetable crops such as leafy greens, lettuces, peas, and all root crops such as carrots, turnips, rutabagas and beets. Keep the seedlings well watered during the Santa Ana winds. Also later in the month sow sweet pea seeds for a strong show of pretty flowers early next spring. Soak the seeds overnight in water to encourage germination.

   Fall is considered by many rose growers to be a "second spring". Prune roses a little more aggressively this month to encourage a strong Fall bloom, in time for your Thanksgiving table. Open up your rose bushes by removing diseased or dead shoots and very thin canes.

   Many summer perennials are nearly spent but can be brought back for a last blaze of glory by hard pruning. Keep dead-heading your geraniums (pelargoniums) and feed them regularly for continuing bloom. Many of the summer blooming salvias will put on a second bloom if the dead flowers are cut off and older canes removed. If ornamental grasses are flopping or looking ragged they can be cut short and will soon bounce back.

  September is also a good time to divide Cymbidiums, bearded irises, Watsonia and many other bulbs. 

   If you have any fallen fruit left after the squirrels have got to them now is the time to pick them up and throw them out. This will help interrupt the life cycle of many insects and fruit tree pests.

CSA Vegetable boxes

We are now an established drop off point for Community Supported Agriculture vegetable boxes. They are delivered to Deep Roots every Wednesday at 2pm and we store them in  our large flower cooler. This project has been gaining in popularity among our customers who order a box every week, every two weeks, every month or simply when they feel like one. This summer we have had a regular supply of water melons, other varieties of melons, summer squashes, kale, cherry tomatoes, and more recently, butternut squash and spaghetti squash. Why not come in and order a box? Or you can e-mail and order one.  At $16 a box it is great value for money.

Days are getting shorter

  The days are getting shorter... darkness arrives earlier and earlier.  Have you ever wondered if daylight hours affect the life of a plant? They certainly do, playing a crucial role in the ability of a plant to flower and most plants are drastically affected by how many hours of darkness they experience.

   The effect of the length of day and night on plant growth and development is referred to as photoperiodism.                        Photoperiodism can be defined as the developmental responses of plants to the relative lengths of the light and dark periods.

   Some of the more important responses related to photoperiodism include: flowering, tuber and bulb formation, and bud dormancy.

  Not all plants respond the same. There are three distinct groups: short day, long day and day neutral plants.

1. Short dayplants will be induced to flower only when the number of daylight hours is below a certain critical level. If the critical day-length is exceeded, the plant remains in a vegetative state, and does not produce flowers. The critical day-length varies among species and cultivars. Examples are chrysanthemums, poinsettias and Michaelmas daisy.

2. Long day plants will be induced to flower only when the critical day-length is exceeded, and the number of required daylight hours is reached. Until the day-length exceeds the critical length, vegetative growth continues and flowers are not produced. Examples are leafy vegetables, spinach, beet, and radish. This is why the fall and winter is a good time to grow these vegetables in our region as we want to delay the flowering of these plants and prolong the leafy stage.

3. Day neutral plants will flower under any day-length and are exemplified by plants such as tomato, cucumber,dandelion, and rose. Other factors, such as heat and vegetative growth induce these plants to flower.  This is probably why this has not been a particularly good year for tomatoes in our region...not enough HEAT!

Deep Roots Garden Center • 207 N. Sepulveda Blvd. • Manhattan Beach • CA • 90266

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