Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Clever Gardening Technique
Reusing Plastic Jugs
Cut off the bottoms of plastic gallon jugs, use the tops as mini-greenhouses, and use the bottoms as saucers for pots or shallow seed-starting trays. Cut a slit from one side to the center, and cut an inch-wide hole at the center for a perfect cutworm guard for tomato plants next spring.
Favorite or New Plant
This is the perfect time of year to plant a tree to beautify your yard. The roots will get well established before they go dormant, and will be ready for the spring surge of both foliage and root growth.
Decide what you want from a tree, where it will be planted, and for what purpose. If you want summer shade for the house, a deciduous tree planted on the south side would be appropriate. If you prefer a pleasant window view, a grouping of silver birches might be nice.
Fall colors come alive with many trees, including beech, birch, coral tree, gingko, liquidambar, magnolia, maidenhair, Japanese and other maples, crape myrtles, persimmon, Chinese pistache, sour gum, Chinese tallow, tulip tree (named for its tulip-shaped leaves), and zelkova.
Once you've made a preliminary choice, consider the mature size of the tree. Does the area allow the tree sufficient space when it's mature? Have you planned for the different needs of the shaded and moist soil underneath its widespread limbs? When all these considerations seem to fit, purchase it, and plant it.
Avoid planting trees prone to wind damage. These include acacia, ash, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, liquidamber, California pepper, and pine.