Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

January, 2013
Regional Report

Plant Garlic, Onion, and Shallots

Plant garlic cloves, bulb onion sets, and shallots where they will be able to dry out for a month before harvest next summer. When digging to plant these, move the soil as little as possible. Remove a full scoopful with a small hand trowel, place the clove/bulb in, and gently crumble the soil back on top. Sprinkle just to settle the soil around it.

Don't Stomp On Soil

Now that the soil is thoroughly cold and moist, be careful to not compact it when transplanting or otherwise working it. Dig and replace the soil gently, and barely water in the transplant -- just enough to settle the roots. Do not stomp it with your hand or foot. Tamping the soil more than lightly will damage the soil tilth by compression, squeezing out all those precious air pockets where the roots breathe.

Don't Prune Frost-Damaged Plants Yet

If plants are damaged by frost, don't remove any of the dead foliage or branches. Plants may look messy, but these damaged portions will help protect sensitive growth further inside the plants from later frosts. Wait to start trimming until growth begins in spring. You may find that branches that appeared dead are alive and well after all. Plants that have frost damage should not be fertilized until spring growth begins, when more frost is unlikely.

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 well as climbers, should be pruned following their bloom period.

Rake Lawns

Lawns, especially frosty or soggy ones, need to breathe, so keep leaves and litter raked up, and walk on the grass as little as possible.

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