Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Time Fruit Tree Sprays Properly
Plan your dormant fruit tree spraying schedule to coincide approximately with cool-weather holidays -- Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, and Valentine's Day. Specific cues are even more important to follow -- the fall of the last leaf (Thanksgiving), the height of dormancy (New Year's Day), and bud swell (Valentine's Day). Spraying at the precise period of bud swell is especially important. Before the buds swell is too early and after the blossoms open is too late.
Give Water and No-Nitrogen Fertilizer for Best Frost Protection
Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees to make them more cold-hardy. Feed all overwintering plants with a no-nitrogen, high-phosphorus, high-potassium fertilizer to help them become cold-hardy.
Prepare Soil for Rain
To enable rain to penetrate soil more easily and not puddle or run off, cultivate lightly to create more tiny crevasses. Around trees and shrubs, break down basins and berms so rain won't collect close to the tree trunks.
Let The Sun Shine In
Remove mulch from under trees back to at least the drip line. The bare soil can then more easily absorb the day's heat and release it to the trees at night. This also discourages overwintering of disease-carrying bacteria and insects.
Change indoor houseplant locations if necessary for winter conditions. Keep them away from cold drafts by windows and away from drying heat of fireplaces or vents. Move them closer to windows to get what winter sunlight they can. Many houseplants go dormant at this time of year, so they need less water and fertilizer.