Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2011
Regional Report

Control Moss

Moss grows where it is shady and damp. To prevent moss from taking over, prune trees to allow more light to hit the ground. Aerate soil to maximize air circulation and improve drainage.

Control Annual Grass Weeds

The recent rains have encouraged annual grass seeds to germinate. Use a scuffle hoe to dislodge young weeds before they take a firm hold in the soil. Cultivation is the key to success with annual weeds. Keep the soil turned and the weeds won't be able to grow.

Protect Trees During Construction

Even established trees need protection from damage by heavy equipment during construction projects. At a minimum, demarcate the area within the drip line of trees as a "No Drive Zone;" even wider is better, as tree roots often extend out beyond a tree's canopy. More than half of a tree's roots are located in the top foot of soil. Driving over the root zone will compact soil, making it difficult for roots to take up water and oxygen. Magnolia grandiflora is especially sensitive, even to foot traffic, under the drip line.

Plant to Save $$$

Planting a deciduous tree on the sunny side of your home will save money on heating and cooling costs throughout the year. During the summer months, the tree will shade the home, reducing cooling costs. When it loses its leaves in the winter, sunlight will help reduce heating costs. Do your homework before purchasing a tree. It will be a life long investment.

Plant Multi-Variety Hedges

To prevent future holes in your garden hedge, plant a variety of shrubs instead of just one type. For example, instead of planting only boxwood (Buxus) try planting a combination of wax myrtle (Myrica californica), tea tree (Leptospermum), escalonia and juniper. Not only will you reduce the likelihood of a severe insect infestation caused by mass planting of a single variety, it will also be less conspicuous when it becomes necessary to replace and replant a failed shrub.

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