Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Fall Frost Protection
By the end of the month we\'ll need to provide some frost protection to plants. The best protection is to have sufficient water in the soil. Irrigate fall-planted trees and bushes deeply once or twice this month to settle them in well and ensure good root formation prior to dormancy. But be careful not to overwater soil that doesn\'t drain well.
Covering Up for Frost
Another way to protect plants from frost is to cover them. Support coverings such as plastic or floating row covers away from foliage to keep from conducting the cold directly to the leaves. Since cold air settles, the best approach is to cover the tops of plants but leave the sides open for air circulation.
Touch Up Pruning
While most of your pruning will be done later in winter while trees still have their leaves, prune dead or damaged tree limbs now. You can also mark limbs with paint to be pruned later. Often it's easier to see which branches to prune while the leaves are on the trees, than once they've all fallen.
Cultivating Soil for Birds
Cultivate the top inch or so of soil in annual and vegetable gardens and around plants and trees. By disturbing the soil, you\'ll bring overwintering insects and weed seeds to the soil surface. Birds who are foraging for food will get a snack, and you\'ll have less work next spring.
It\'s garden cleanup time. Plant debris, stacks of pots, lumber, and garden furniture can become nesting places for earwigs, snails, slugs, and other pests. Clean up all of these and put them away. Discard, don\'t compost, any old fruits or \"mummies\" left on fruit trees to avoid spreading any diseases they may carry.