Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2000
Regional Report

Protect Young Trees


Trees planted in fall have ample time to grow new roots and anchor themselves into the soil before the spring growing season begins. However, the trunks need protection from the sun. On clear windless days, the sun warms the trunk of a young tree, causing it to heat up only along the side facing the sun. The rest of the trunk stays cool. The bark may then split and die, exposing the cambium layer beneath the bark, which may also die. To prevent the trunk from splitting, wrap it with tree wrap or cloth strips or paint it with white latex paint.

Dig Perennials

Dig up and divide large clumps of perennial plants such as lily of the Nile, Peruvian lily, lion\'s tail, sea foam statice, and Shasta daisy. Dividing large clumps rejuvenates plants and increases your stock. After you dig up the clumps, use a shovel or spading fork to separate individual plants. Add organic compost to each new planting hole, and replant. Water well.

Protect Beds from Squirrels

Hungry squirrels can do serious damage to annual flower beds as they bury their fall harvest of nuts. To protect young plants from damage, sprinkle ground chili peppers such as cascabella or Thai chili over the surface of the soil. The squirrels don\'t like the \"hot foot\" sensation and will search elsewhere for easy digging. Coarsely grind whole chilies in a blender or food processor, and then sprinkle them over garden beds. You may have chili seedlings the following spring - simply pull them as if they were weeds.

Plant Garlic

Now is the ideal time to plant garlic. Purchase garlic bulbs from local nurseries or through the mail. Grocery store garlic may not be the best variety for your area. Choose a sunny location with rich, well-drained soil. Separate the bulbs into individual cloves and plant them, pointed end up, 4 to 6 inches apart and 1 to 2 inches deep. Harvest next June.

Clean Under Fruit Trees


Rake and remove fallen leaves and fruit from beneath fruit trees. Insect pests and fungal diseases overwinter in decomposing fruit left on the ground and in leaf litter. By removing their hiding places, you lessen the chance that they will attack your trees next season. Compost the leaves and old fruit away from your trees.

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