Nov. 2013 To-Do List: Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys

Home Depot

THD-Echo-chainsaw-pruning-tree-branch-560x400This is a good time to inventory your pruning tools and see what you might be missing. If you need to cut small to medium-sized limbs and dry branches, opt for anvil or bypass hand pruners. Choose loppers, which are long-handled pruners, if you need more reach and sufficient leverage to remove branches up to 2″ in diameter. Chainsaws will handle bigger branches and entire trees, while hedge shears let you trim and shape hedges and shrubs. Always wear protective eye gear when using these kinds of tools, and don’t work alone. Safety first: call a professional when needed.

  • Be ready with floating row cover to protect spinach and lettuce from sudden cold spells.
  • Cut back perennials, except for spring bloomers, roses, and mums, to a few inches above the ground.
  • Sow a wildflower meadow or use the seeds to cover bare spots you would otherwise have to mow. Choose a mix blended especially for this region. If you broadcast the seeds, rake them in lightly and top-dress with compost.
  • Wait until the temperatures drop to mulch around shallow-rooted plants. Avoid piling mulch too high, which can cause rotting. A thick layer may not be a good idea if rodents have been a problem; mice like to nest in straw and hay.
  • We hope you’re following our series on stretch gardening, so you dried and preserved some flowers and foliage from your yard to make into holiday gifts and decor. If you didn’t, no worries. You can substitute commercially dried or silk flowers. Look through our projects and start soon to get a jump on the season.
  • Keep mowing warm-season grasses to a height of 1-1/2 to 2″, just a bit shorter than you should cut in spring and early autumn.
  • Reseed now to prevent weedy patches next spring.
  • Avoid using a pre-emergent weed killer on a newly seeded lawns until the seeds have had time to germinate.
  • Research the appropriate time of year for pruning. It varies according to growth and bloom habits of each species.
  • Dig summer blooming bulbs. Let them air dry, brush off the excess dirt, and store them between layers of newspaper in a cool, dry location.
  • Plant sugar peas, protecting them with floating row cover or netting as they germinate, so hungry birds won’t feast on them.
  • This is our last call for planting daffodils and tulips. Put them into the ground, pointed ends up.
  • Rake and clean up unused garden areas. Compost plant parts that are disease and pest free.
  • Plant kale, garlic, leeks, shallots, and early onion sets. Fava beans or field peas can go into empty spots in the garden. They make excellent green manure, and you can make soups from the beans and peas.

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