April Garden Tasks

    Color season is reaching its peak—spend time outside enjoying it!

 

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

Your garden plants will reach full glory this month in southwest gardens. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy them.

~ Reset irrigation schedules and increase watering time as temperatures rise

~ Plant cold-tender perennials, preferably in pots so winter protection is easier

~ Transplant Joshua trees and yuccas from March to mid-April

~ Work compost or soil amendments into planting beds to improve moisture retention as summer approaches

~ Keep mulch on the soil–especially with organic matter such as leaves, bark, or chipped wood–to temper the drying and heating effect of the sun; irrigation will be more effective with less frequency and quantity

~ Teach your plants to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water established plants deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

~ Check aphids on new growth; wash off with a strong jet of water, or spray a solution of Neem Oil mixed with water on affected plants.

~ Continue pulling weeds before they form seed heads (if weeds are brown, you waited too long); you’ll have fewer weed problems later. Remember that weeds need disturbed soil to prosper; if you disturb soils with a hoe to remove weeds, you are cultivating the perfect bed for next year’s weeds. Instead, pull weeds by hand to minimize soil disturbance, or mow weeds before seeds form, then cover with mulch to prevent next year’s weed crop from forming. If you don’t have enough mulch to cover all your weeds, mow repeatedly during the spring growth season often enough to remove flowers before seeds develop. After just a season or two, you will greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for weeding.

 

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for April

 

 March Garden Tasks

    Warm, mild weather this month prompts rapid growth of plants, as well as insect pests

 

Check aphids on new growth; wash off with strong jet of water -- or bring in ladybugs to help out!

Check aphids on new growth; wash off with a strong jet of water — or bring in ladybugs to help out!

~ Plant perennials as early as possible this month if you missed the fall planting season

~ Plant bare-root trees and shrubs through early March

~ Transplant Joshua trees and yuccas from March to mid-April

~ Reapply any mulch around plants removed by rain or wind

~ Replace batteries in your irrigation clocks when Daylight Savings Time starts

~ Teach your plants to grow deeply for moisture. In spring, for average soils, water deeply only every two to three weeks. By the time summer’s heat arrives, plants’ feeder roots will be growing deeply for moisture, and the plants won’t need watering more than once a week during very hot spells.

~ Check aphids on new growth; wash off with a strong jet of water

~ Get rid of weeds while they are small, especially before they reseed

 

 

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for March

 

 

 February Garden Tasks

    Good month to control winter weeds before they flower

 

Prune the rest of your summer-blooming deciduous fruit & nut trees, roses, and dormant shrubs

Prune the rest of your summer-blooming deciduous fruit & nut trees, roses, and dormant shrubs

 

~ Plant shallow-rooted ground covers, bulbs, low-water-use plants, & natives if you missed the fall planting season

~ Plant bare-root trees and shrubs now through early March

~ Prune the rest of your summer-blooming deciduous fruit & nut trees, roses, & dormant shrubs

~ Prune evergreens now, but not later in spring or summer

~ Fertilize perennials & trees with slow-release food for consistent & gradual nutrition throughout season (most natives and drought-adapted plants do not need fertilizer)

~ Reapply any mulch around plants removed by rain or wind

~ Turn off irrigation timers if it rains

~ Water trees deeply to prepare for their spring growth surge (deep watering encourages deep roots, which protect trees from blowing over in strong winds)

 

 

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for February

 

 January Garden Tasks

     Frost is likely on dry, windless, clear nights this month

Apply mulch around plants and under drain spouts to retain water, prevent soil erosion, and feed nutrients into soil with each rain.

~ Keep plants watered to prevent frost damage

~ Wrap irrigation valves and pipes to protect from freezing

~ Turn off irrigation timers if it rains

~ Apply mulch around plants to retain water and soil, and to feed nutrients into soil with each rain

~ Prune roses and summer-blooming deciduous fruit trees

~ Don’t prune frost-damaged plants until spring growth

~ Plant bare-root trees and shrubs now through early March

~ Mulch under downspouts with bark, compost, or gravel to help rain soak into soil instead of running off

~ Check tree stakes & ties for support against strong winds

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for January

 

 December Garden Tasks

     Winter begins and plant growth is on hold until February

Prune to shape evergreens, and save some of the trimmings for holiday decorations, such as from this Hollyleaf Cherry.

Prune to shape evergreens, and save some of the trimmings for holiday decorations, such as from this Hollyleaf Cherry (yes, my ocean-bred husband does wear shorts all year, even in winter unless it is literally freezing).

~Prune to shape evergreens like arborvitae, juniper, pines, and cypress—and save trimmings for holiday decorations

~Prune dense trees to avoid wind damage; make sure young trees are well-staked

~For overnight protection when frost threatens, cover delicate plants with large cardboard boxes, old sheets, or tarps

~Consider setting irrigation timers to “off”, and manually water in response to our irregular winter weather, based on winds, rain, or snow; using the manual mode on your controller in winter can save precious water

Check out our featured
Plant of The Month
for December

 

 November Garden Tasks for Southwest Yards

     Last chance for fall planting season while roots are still active

This is your last chance for the fall planting season while roots are still active in warm soils

This is your last chance for the fall planting season while roots are still active in warm soils

You may continue planting this month even with cooler temperatures, but plants will establish roots more slowly than earlier in fall

Finish planting California natives

Plant seeds for spring & summer blooms; choose mix of western wild flowers with annuals & perennials for long-lasting color

Irrigate frequently during Santa Ana winds, which pull moisture from both plants and soil

Give one last deep watering to deciduous trees and grapevines but discontinue feeding to harden them off for cold weather

Irrigate fall-planted trees and bushes deeply once or twice this month to ensure good root formation prior to dormancy

Check out our featured “Plant of The Month” for November