Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

November, 2013
Regional Report

Water Deeply

Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees but discontinue feeding. This will help them begin hardening them off for cold weather. You want to discourage new growth that will be tender and susceptible to frost damage.

Leave Asparagus Ferns

Wait to cut asparagus ferns until they've turned completely brown, generally after the first hard frost. By then, they've reabsorbed all their energy back into the crowns for next year's edible shoots. Cutting them sooner means throwing away this recycled nutrition. Trim the fronds at the soil level rather than yanking them to avoid injuring the crowns.

Plant Chilled Spring Bulbs

Plant the spring-blooming bulbs you've been chilling in the refrigerator for six to eight weeks -- primarily crocuses, hyacinths and tulips. Other spring bloomers, including anemones, daffodils, freesias, narcissus, grape hyacinth, ranunculus, and sparaxis, don't need this prechilling. For a single spectacular bloom period, plant the same type of bulbs at the same depth. For longer lasting color, plant them at several depths over several weeks' time. The shallower ones will bloom first, and the deeper ones later.

Plant Colorful Winter Annuals

Plant winter-color annuals above your spring- and summer-blooming bulbs for instant and long-lasting color. Some best bets include calendulas, pansies, Iceland poppies, primroses, and violas. Cyclamen are especially good in fast-draining containers in filtered dappled light. Knee-high sweet peas are wonderful, especially the fragrant ones; but keep blooms picked to encourage continuous flower

Trim, Don't Prune

Trim to shape evergreens like arborvitae, junipers, magnolias, pines, pittosporum, and spruces. This is a great way to get trimmings for holiday decorations while manicuring the plants. But don't let your zeal for snipping spread to pruning spring-blooming shrubs, or you'll remove the future blossoms (they form on old wood); instead, prune after they've bloomed.

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