Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

December, 2009
Regional Report

Clean and Sharpen Pruning Equipment

It's time to get your clippers, loppers, and hedge shears in shape for the pruning season. Sharp tools make clean cuts. Clean cuts mean healthy plants. Use a metal file to sharpen smaller hand tools, and mechanical grinders for larger blades, including shovels, spades, and hoes. You will be amazed at how well a sharpened shovel blade cuts through tough soil.

Prune Deciduous Plants

Roses, fruit trees, and other deciduous plants can be pruned now. Remove any dead, diseased, or injured wood first. Next, remove any rubbing or crossing branches. Finally, prune for shape and size. Keep fruit trees low so that you can reach the fruit when it is in season.

Clean Under Fruit Trees

Fallen fruit left on the ground is an invitation to insect pests. Remove all debris from under fruit trees after pruning. Spray with horticultural oil to smother overwintering insect eggs.

Prune Landscape Roses

Bushy little landscape roses should be given a haircut to keep them tidy and in bounds. Use hedge shears to reduce the overall size. Once the plants have been cut back, look for and remove any dead branches.

Search for Bare-Root Plants

Bare-root plants including roses, fruit trees, asparagus, berry vines and artichokes will be available soon. Bare root is the most economical way to add new plants to your garden. If you can't plant right away, make sure the bare root stock stays moist by heeling it into the soil.

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