Shorter Days in November Mean Less Time in the Garden in Southern California

Fewer daylight hours in November means less time to garden. Pick one or two outdoor projects to focus on this month.

Add Last Minute Fall Color: There is no reason why your flower garden can’t look beautiful in fall and winter. Buy flowering plants from the nursery and plant now. Fall annuals include pansies, violas, primrose and calendula. Perennials that bloom in fall should be considered also. They include nemesia, Russian sage, chrysanthemums, aster and oriental lily.

Cut Back On Watering: Unless we get a late blast of Santa Ana winds, water plants and trees less frequently. Newly planted varieties, however, should be routinely watered until established. Dormant trees do not need watering.

Last Time To Water Outdoor Cacti And Succulents: Water outdoor succulents before they go dormant in winter. If the plants are indoors, they’ll need to be watered year round when the soil becomes dry. Give the plants a good soak once a week and let the water drain.

Plant Trees: Fall’s cool nights, mild days and occasional rain are ideal conditions for tree planting. Planting now gives young trees time to establish a healthy root system before growing season in spring. Select a location for your tree before shopping. Do you want an evergreen or deciduous? Is the location near walkways? Roots can lift up sidewalks. Will the tree need to be in the shade or get plenty of sun? Amend the soil if necessary, dig a hole that’s at least twice the size of the root ball and plant. Trees grow slowly the first few years so be patient.

Prevent Peach Leaf Curl: A common fungal organism in peach and nectarine orchards results in peach leaf curl. If your tree leaves become deformed, now is the time to get rid of the bug by spraying the tree with an organic lime sulfur. Wait until most of the leaves have fallen before spraying.

Mulch Plants: Add a layer of mulch around the garden. When rain comes, mulch will stop rain-producing mud from splashing onto plants and prevent runoff.

Winterize Lawns: Mow lawns very short, sow grass seed, scatter a light covering of soil amendment and water to produce a green winter lawn. Rake falling leaves from lawns as leaves could impede lawn growth. If a lawn is looking “tired,” sow in seeds to cover brown spots and to introduce new growth. After seeding, scatter a light covering of soil amendment and water thoroughly. To avoid the “dead” look of winter Bermuda lawns, overseed the lawn with annual rye to cover up brown.

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