Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2012
Regional Report

Plant Cole Crops Deeper

Plant cole crops up to the first set of leaves to prevent their maturing into weak, leggy, less-productive plants.

Plant Artichoke, Asparagus, and Rhubarb

Transplant artichoke and asparagus crowns and rhubarb rhizomes about six inches deep and a foot apart in soil that's well amended with lots of manure and compost -- these perennials are heavy eaters! Cover them with a fluffy mix of soil, manure, or other organic mulch, and water in well.

Prune Dormant Fruit Trees

This is the big month for pruning deciduous fruit and nut trees. Basic guidelines for winter dormant pruning are to remove crowded or crossed branches, to open the center for good light exposure and airflow, to repair structural weakness, and to remove vigorous vertical-growing branches (waterspouts). The height or width of the tree can also be reduced. Take care to not leave stubs or to overprune in any single year, as this encourages excessive new foliage and less fruit.

Prune Roses

Prune established roses even if they have not lost all their leaves. Remove crowded or crossed branches, and open the center of the plant for good light exposure and airflow. Prune branches at a 45-degree angle just above a bud that faces outward or toward a side that needs filling in. Remove any leaves that have dead or diseased portions, and destroy (don't compost) them. Old-fashioned roses with a single bloom cycle in the spring, as with climbers, should be pruned following that bloom.

Plant New Roses

When transplanting roses, add humus and potash, but be spare with nitrogen fertilizers, as these hasten new foliage which may be damaged by late frosts.

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