Friday, October 12, 2018

100-Plus Rose Varieties for California


Rose Display at Amador Flower Farm

Here in California,  where we can garden year round throughout much of the state, January and early February is the best time to plant bare root roses, now available at nurseries.




Your success with roses depends on several factors, especially location: full sun, as well as decent soil with good drainage. Roses require regular fertilization and irrigation.



Tropicana (with cosmos)
In our old garden, the top performing roses include the white-flowered floribunda/shrub rose, Iceberg; Summer Sunshine, a yellow hybrid tea; Tropicana, an orange-red hybrid tea; Olympiad (medium red hybrid tea), Rio Samba (yellow blend hybrid tea), Jeanne Lajoie (climbing miniature, med. pink) and Mlle Cecile Brunner (light pink polyantha).

 For a more thorough compilation, noted Master Rosarian Baldo Villegas has studied thousands of roses throughout California, and has put together this master list. 

Although by no means a complete list, here are over 100 roses that do well in the local inland valleys, especially the southern Sacramento and northern San Joaquin valleys. Many of these roses will thrive in foothill regions and parts of the Bay Area as well. For a more complete guide, Baldo has a page that will link you to your area's rose society.

For gardeners in Sacramento and the surrounding area looking for fewer choices, here's a link to a previous post: The 10 Best Roses for Sacramento.

Thanks to rosarian Baldo Villegas for compiling the master list and pictures. Visit his website for more about roses, including rose pictures, planting tips, as well as pests and diseases of the rose garden. From his list of roses, here are choices for...


102 GREAT ROSES TO GROW 
MOST EVERYWHERE IN CALIFORNIA

(Rose variety / color / year of introduction / ARS Score, if any, on a scale of 1-10)




Hybrid Teas; Grandifloras (20)

Andrea Stelzer, light pink, 1992
Black Magic, dark red, 2000
Elizabeth Taylor, deep pink, 1985, 8.8
 
Fragrant Cloud, orange-red, 1967, 8.1

Gemini, pink blend, 2000, 8.1
Gold Medal, medium yellow, 1982, 8.5
Honor, white, 1980, 7.6
Ingrid Bergman, dark red, 1984, 7.2
Marilyn Monroe, apricot blend, 2000, n/a
Moonstone, white, 1998, 8.2
New Zealand, light pink, 1989, 7.6
Olympiad, medium red, 1982, 8.9
Saint Patrick, yellow blend, 1996, 8.0
Secret, pink blend, 1992, 7.7
Signature, deep pink, 1996, 7.7
Stainless Steel, mauve, 1991, 7.5
Touch of Class, orange pink, 1984, 9.2
Tournament of Roses, medium pink, 1988, 8.0
Veterans' Honor, medium red, 1999, 8.0


 
 Floribunda Roses (15)

Betty Boop

Betty Boop,  Betty Boop spray, red blend, 1999, 8.0
Bill Warriner, orange-pink, 1998, 8.0
Blueberry Hill, mauve, 1999, 8.0
Dicky, orange-pink, 1984, 8.7
Fabulous!, white, 2000
Glad Tidings, dark red, 1988, 8.1
Lady of the Dawn, light pink, 1984, 8.2
Lavaglut, dark red, 1978, 8.8
Margaret Merril, white, 1977, 8.4
Pasadena Star, white, 2002
Playboy, red blend, 1976, 8.2
Priscilla Burton, red blend 1978, 8.6
Sexy Rexy, medium pink, 1984, 8.9
Showbiz, medium red, 1983, 8.5
Sunsprite, deep yellow, 1977, 8.7



Polyantha Roses (10)

China Doll, medium pink 1942, 8.2
La Marne, pink blend, 1915, 8.8
Lovely Fairy, deep pink, 1990
Lullaby, white, 1953, 8.7

Margo Koster, orange blend, 1931, 7.5
Marie Pavie, white, 1888, 8.8
Mrs. R. M. Finch, medium pink, 1923, 8.9
Orange Morsdag, orange blend, 1956, 9.4
The Fairy, light pink, 1932, 8.7
Verdun, medium red, 1918, 8.7

 
Climbing Roses (12)
Altissimo, LCl, medium red, 1966, 8.5
America, LCl, orange-pink, 1976, 8.4
Candy Cane, Cl Min, pink blend, 1958, 8.2
Dublin Bay, LCl, medium red, 1975, 8.5

Fourth of July, LCl, red blend (striped), 1999, 8.2
Handel, LCl, red blend, 1965, 8.1
Jeanne Lajoie, Cl Min, medium pink, 1975, 9.3
New Dawn, LCl, light pink, 1930, 8.5
Pearly Gates, LCl, medium pink, 1999, 7.8
Pierre de Ronsard (Eden Climber), LCl, pink blend, 1987, 8.2
Rainbow's End, Cl Min, yellow blend, 1999, 7.9
Soaring Spirits, LCl, pink blend, 2005



Shrub Roses (13)

Abraham Darby, orange-pink, 1990, 7.5

Cocktail, red blend, single, 1961, 8.3
Gartendirektor Otto Linne, deep pink, 1934, 8.8
Golden Celebration, deep yellow, 1993, 7.8
Prospero, dark red, 1983, 8.6

Raven, dark red, 1992, 7.5
Robusta, medium red, single, 1979, 9.5

Rockin' Robin, red blend, 1997, 7.5
Sally Holmes, white, single, 1976, 8.9
Sharon's Delight, white, single, 1996, 7.7
Sunny June, deep yellow, single, 1952, 7.7
Tamora, apricot blend, 1992, n/a


Old Garden Roses (12)

Baronne Prevost, Hybrid Perpetual, medium pink, 1842, 8.7
Crested Moss, Moss, medium pink, 1827, 8.6
Green Rose, Hybrid China, green, before 1854, 7.4
Henri Martin, Moss, medium red, 1862, 8.7
Marchesa Boccella, Hybrid Perpetual, medium pink, 1842, 8.9
Mons. Tillier, Tea, orange-pink, 1891, 8.1

Mutabilis, Hybrid China, yellow blend, 8.7
Paul Neyron, Hybrid Perpetual, medium pink, 1859, 8.1

Rose de Rescht, Portland, deep pink, 8.9
Sombreuil, Cl Tea, white, 1850, 8.8

Souvenir de la Malmaison, B, light pink, 1843, 8.7
Yolande d'Aragon, Portland, mauve, 1843, 8.3

Miniatures and Minifloras (20)

Baby Ballerina, pink blend, 1997, 8.1
Baby Love, deep yellow, single, 1992
Black Jade, deep red, 1985, 8.2
Butter Cream, Miniflora, light yellow, 2002
Child's Play, pink blend, 1991, 8.0
Dr. John Dickman, mave, 2004
Elfinglo, mauve, 1977, 7.5
Giggles, medium pink, 1987, 9.1

Glowing Amber, red blend, 1996, 8.0
Gourmet Popcorn, white, 1986, 8.7
Hot Tamale, yellow blend, 1993, 8.2
Irresistible, white, 1989, 9.3
Jean Kenneally, apricot blend, 1984, 9.4
Loving Touch, apricot blend, 1983, 8.4
Luis Desamero, light yellow, 1989, 7.7
Marriotta, red blend, 1998, 8.2
Minnie Pearl, pink blend, 1982, 9.4
Peggy "T", red bend, single, 1988, 8.5
Pierrine, orange-pink, 1988, 9.2
Rainbow's End, yellow blend, 1984, 8.9
Ruby Pendant, mauve, 1979, 8.6
Soroptimist International, pink blend, 1995
Will-o-the-Wisp, Miniflora, pink blend, 1998

And, my personal favorites:
Lyda Rose
Lyda Rose

Oklahoma
Brandy
Pink Peace
Iceberg
Summer Sunshine

Rio Samba
Voodoo




Thursday, March 29, 2018

Four Plants to Create a Pollinator/Beneficial Garden Airport

Proven Winners recently held their 2018 plant introductions at Matsuda's wholesale nursery in Sacramento, showcasing their newest annuals, perennials and shrubs. Sort of like a car show, but only for plant nerds…well, ok, professional landscapers...and plant nerds like myself. 

 Based in Michigan, Proven Winners chooses plants based on flowering, growth habit, disease resistance and overall garden performance…but only after they have successfully grown at trial gardens throughout the country, including here in California.

Michael Galli of Metamorphosis Landscaping in the Bay Area was at that show, and he told me what it takes to be a successful landscaper. “How do your plant choices make the client feel as the garden matures?” Galli asks. “If it makes a person happy at the end of the day, we’ve done our job.”


These days, gardeners are getting more smiles out of having a pollinator garden within easy view of a patio or window. Plants that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are at the top of the list.
 

Galli says it only takes a combination of three or four different, long-blooming plant varieties to make a pollinator-loving gardener happy: salvia, lantana, butterfly bush (buddleia) and verbena.
 

“I have an 86 year-old client; she’s been with me for 20 years,” says Galli. “We took out her lawn and put in a pollinator garden. She called me recently and said it brings her such joy to sit on her patio and drink coffee, and watch all the pollinators in action.”

Galli’s favorite Proven Winners varieties that attract the birds, bees and butterflies, yet are drought tolerant and don’t take up too much space include:
 

• The lantana variety “Luscious”. Flower colors come in a wide array, including shades of fuchsia, orange and yellow, blooming from planting until a hard frost. This lantana gets about 18-30 inches tall with a spread of about 20-30 inches.

• Lo & Behold buddleia. “This low growing butterfly bush variety is very showy and reliable,” says Galli. “Its smaller size (18-30 inches) makes it a great border plant, with flowers from summer through early fall. It attracts so many butterflies, it looks like an airport in front of our house.” Flower colors include blue and purple.


• Playin’ the Blues salvia. No California pollinator garden would be complete without an unthirsty, hummingbird-loving salvia variety. “Playin’ the Blues” attracts bees and butterflies as well, with blue-purple flowers that reach for the sky on a 24-48 inch plant. This salvia variety doesn’t produce seed, so it has a very long bloom season, possibly throughout the year if there’s a mild winter.


• “Royal Chambray” verbena. This low-growing (6-12 inches), long blooming (April to October) verbena variety needs little pruning or deadheading. It has a mounding habit to attract butterflies to its purple flowers. The plant spreads about 24 inches.
 


A couple of tips to attract these garden good guys to your pollinator garden:

• Make it look like a neon sign to attract the attention of hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Mass each variety together in a sizeable area, about four feet by four feet, or more.


 • Everybody needs water. Install a water feature in your pollinator garden. It could be as fancy as a recirculating fountain, or as simple as a pan with water. Put that water feature in an area where predators (cats) can easily be spotted by hummingbirds.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tips for the Beginning Vegetable Gardener

 

 

If you're new to backyard (or front yard) gardening and want to start growing vegetables, here are some tips:


 Location, location, location: Give the garden a sunny spot. Pick a garden location that gets at least six hours a day of full sun; more is better. Good drainage is key. That's why raised beds are so popular (that, and the soil in raised beds warms up sooner in the spring). Make sure a source of water is nearby.
 
• Can you see the garden?
By late summer, I hear about a lot of ignored gardens among first time vegetable growers. Initially, they’re into it: planting, irrigating, fertilizing, weeding, and harvesting. However, by the time late August rolls around, their interest has waned, and the garden becomes a jungle of unpicked, overripe veggies and thriving weeds. One of the reasons I hear the most regarding this neglect: “I forgot to check the garden.” One tip that works for us: situate the vegetable garden so it’s visible from the kitchen window. If that’s not possible, put the garden where it can be seen from a high-traffic window, such as the dining room, family room, or a glass patio door.

 
Know your soil. Do a pH test (which measures the relative alkalinity or acidity of the soil), or a full soil test. One of the best bargains for a complete soil test is the University of Massachusetts. They will analyze your soil for under $20 (at this writing). They also include a brief interpretation of what all those measurements mean to you. Or, purchase an inexpensive pH and macronutrient test kit, one that will tell you your soil's acidity/alkalinity, along with its needs for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

For organic gardeners, I highly recommend the soil testing services of Citrus Heights-based organic gardening consultant Steve Zien's Living Resources Company. Besides a full report on all the numbers, Zien explains in detail what they all mean and offers organic recommendations for any soil shortcomings.
 
• Amending the soil with a good quality compost is a great idea, if your soil has never been amended. Mix in a cubic yard of compost for every 300 square feet of garden. That is a rule of thumb that I follow. After the first growing year, no rototilling is necessary. Just add a few inches of compost to the top of the soil; let the winter rains work the compost in.

• Fertilize the soil. I prefer to use low-dosage organic fertilizers, such as a mix of fish emulsion and sea kelp. There are plenty of great all-in-one organic fertilizers on the market labeled for use in vegetable gardens. Be sure to follow the label directions. If using a non-organic granular fertilizer (such as a 10-10-10- formulation), put a tablespoon in the bottom of the planting hole, cover with a couple inches of soil, and water in thoroughly. Don't let the sensitive roots of the tomatoes and peppers come in direct contact with the fertilizer. If you'll be using a water soluble, non-organic fertilizer on an every-other-week or monthly basis, use half the recommended amount for this first feeding.
 
Top the soil with a thin layer of worm castings; put two to four inches of a coarse mulch on top of that. Worm castings improve the overall tilth of the soil as well as the microbial activity. A mulch of bark or chipped/shredded tree trimmings helps preserve soil moisture and warmth, controls weeds, and slowly feeds the soil as it breaks down. Instead of asking Santa for a rototiller, ask for a chipper/shredder. Your soil will thank you!
Oregon Spring V

Good sources of information:

 
Not in the West? The Sunset National Garden Book is a good reference...if you can find it. 

If you are down South, the New Southern Living Garden Book is excellent.

The UC Davis Vegetable Research and Information Center is a good website with more garden starting info.

For California gardeners, the Farmer Fred interactive Vegetable Planting Calendar is a good guideline for when to plant. Also, clicking on the individual vegetables brings up information on how to grow it.

That's the basics! What you plant is up to you and your family's appetites. 

Read on for more detailed gardening information for the first timer:


Peppers spaced 2 feet apart. They WILL fill the bed! Trust me on that.
For tomatoes and peppers:

• Plant tomatoes deeply. Pinch off the lower leaves of the plant and bury the tomato deeply, leaving only the top four sets of leaves above ground. New roots will form along this underground, stripped section. If it's a very tall plant, dig a trench, lay the plant on its side in the trench, and bend the top section up (carefully) to stand above the soil level; fill in the trench.
Tomatoes spaced three feet apart. They also WILL FILL THE BED.

  • Give tomatoes room. Full-size tomatoes grow on vines that can reach five feet high or more. Plant them three to four feet apart. Prepare a staking system now while they're still manageable.

  • Space peppers about two feet apart. According to local horticulture professor Debbie Flower, peppers can be planted deeply, just like tomatoes.

 
Water. Don't let the soil dry out while the roots are getting established. During the warmth of summer, water tomatoes and peppers regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist. One common problem with tomatoes, blossom end rot (the bottom of the tomato turns brown and mushy), can be traced in part to irregular watering habits. Deep, infrequent waterings (once or twice a week) with drip irrigation or soaker hoses work great. An added benefit: drip systems and soaker hoses can be hooked up to a battery operated timer, watering these summertime treats while you're vacationing. Because raised bed plantings and containerized plantings will dry out quicker, they will need more frequent irrigations. 
Use a moisture meter to determine when the soil is beginning to dry out at the root zone to help you develop a watering schedule. Remember, that schedule will change as the weather fluctuates. Prices of moisture meters vary considerably. The one pictured on the left has worked for me for over 10 years. The green one on the right, although inexpensive, has surprised me with its durability over the years, and fairly accurate and consistent moisture readings. Also, it measures pH and light (of questionable accuracy). Still, it might last you longer than a year. Maybe.

When deciding where to plant your vegetable garden, choose the best available location by keeping the following factors in mind:

When is the soil ready to plant? You may have little choice concerning the soil type available to you, but you can use a simple test to find out whether your soil is in good condition for planting. Squeeze a handful of soil to test for moisture content. If the squeezed soil forms a clump, the soil is too wet to work. If you work soil that contains this much moisture, it might form into hard, cement-like clumps, which can cause problems for the remainder of the year. If the soil crumbles easily when it is squeezed, it is in an ideal condition to work. However, if that handful of soil is bone dry, water the area thoroughly a day or two before working or planting the soil.


Broccoli in the Winter Garden
 The Year-Round Garden. In California, there are 3 to 4 seasons, depending on your location, in which vegetables can be grown. Yet, many gardeners grow only summer crops. By planting a spring crop, a summer crop, and a fall crop, a gardener can get 3 crops from the same space.
 
Level ground is best for growing vegetables. It is easier to prepare, plant, and irrigate than sloping ground. If you must plant on sloping ground, run rows across the slope, not up and down, to keep the soil from washing away during irrigation.




Preparing a Garden Plan
It is best to plan on paper before planting your garden. A well-planned garden can provide fresh or preserved vegetables for use all year.  




Plant perennial crops, such as rhubarb and asparagus, to one side of the garden so that the plants are not disturbed by preparations for future crops. Plant tall crops, such as corn and pole beans, on the north side of the garden so that they will not shade low-growing crops.

Trellising and staking. Do not grow horizontally what you can grow vertically. Twining crops, such as tomato, squash, cucumber, and pole beans, use a great deal of space when allowed to grow along the ground. Trellises, stakes, or other supports minimize the ground space used and increase garden productivity. Support materials can consist of wood, extra stakes, twine, or a nearby fence.

 
For the beginning vegetable gardener, choose more hybrid vegetables than heirlooms. Hybrid vegetables are bred to have more disease and pest resistance, as well as larger yields. Heirloom varieties have more unique shapes and flavors, but can be problematic for the first time gardener. Sure, buy some heirlooms for the flavor; but for your first garden, plant mostly hybrids. After that, you may prefer the flavor of the heirlooms. I still plant a mix of both. Just starting out? In most cases, choose plants over seeds, it's a lot easier. Exceptions would be sweet corn, squash and melons. These are big seeds that germinate readily; but wait until nighttime temperatures are steadily over 50 degrees before planting these seeds in the garden.

Succession planting consists of sowing seeds of a given crop at 1- to 2-week intervals to produce a continuous supply of vegetables. Corn, beans, lettuce, turnips, and beets are well suited to this practice.

Intercropping involves planting early-maturing crops between the rows of late-maturing crops to increase production in a small area. For example, beans, radishes, green onions, spinach, or leaf lettuce may be planted between rows of tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, or corn. The quicker-maturing crops will be harvested before the others become very large.


What to Plant
Plant enough of each vegetable crop to meet your family's needs for fresh, stored, and preserved supplies. When choosing vegetable varieties or hybrids, consider such factors as disease resistance, maturity date, compactness of plant, and the size, shape, and color of the vegetable desired. Refer to the individual vegetable links on the Farmer Fred Interactive Vegetable Planting Calendar for variety recommendations.
For more information about some of my favorite tomato varieties, click here. 
 

• Conquer ADD in the garden.
We all have a bit of attention deficit disorder when we go into the yard. Intending to do one task, we get sidetracked by something else. Before you know it, it’s dinner time and the vegetable plot hasn’t been checked for aphids and tomato worms (your original task in the morning). Limit the “distraction time” by keeping a set of garden tools, trash can and a source of water nearby the vegetable plot. Position the garden nearby a water faucet and hose. Smaller hand tools can be kept in a converted outdoor mail box adjacent to the garden; for larger tools, perhaps a small shed (or large dog house) nearby. Do anything it takes to reduce the number of trips to the garage to get what you need for the garden. Because you know there’s something in the garage that will also demand your attention!


Tools
You only need a few, good quality tools for a small home garden:

Trowel. One of the handiest garden gadgets, it is useful for transplanting and for loosening soil around plants.

Shovel. Use a round-edged shovel for digging.
  
Spade or spading fork. Use to turn the ground, to turn under organic matter, and to break up large clumps of soil. In my heavy clay soil, I find the spading fork indispensable.

Rake. Use to smooth out the soil after spading and after preparing the seedbed. You can also use it for clearing up rubbish and removing small weeds.

Hoe. Use a long-handled hoe to remove tough weeds and to cover seeds after planting. When turned sideways, you can also use a hoe to dig a V-shaped row for planting.


Following these simple guidelines will keep your tools in good condition:


Clean tools after each use. A putty knife, jet nozzle on a hose or a wire brush is good for scraping off dirt. If tools get rusty, soak them in kerosene for a few hours, then use a wire brush or fine sand to scrub off the rust. Oil them with a light lubricant after cleaning.


Keep cutting tools sharp. The basic sharpening tool for hoes, pruners and shovels is an 8" mill file.
 

Keep tools in a dry place to prevent rust.


Growing your own food is easy, fun for the entire family and good for you! The healthiest food you can eat is the food you grow yourself.

Monday, February 19, 2018

What Should You Do For Your Plants AFTER a Freeze?

Sometimes a gardener feels as if they're in a heavyweight boxing match: Your Tender Plants vs. Mr. Freeze. Your citrus, succulents and perennials that may thrive in milder climates might be able to take a frosty punch or two here in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valleys, foothills, and inland portions of the Bay Area. But several cold blows to the flowers, leaves, stems and roots? 

We aren't talking about light frosts, or temperatures that hover around 30 degrees (F) for a couple of hours; that would be normal; the possibility of a frost in Sacramento is anytime between November and late March. The most typical frost period here is December and January. Usually by late February, gardeners thoughts - mistakenly - have turned to planting warm season annuals and putting away the frost cloths for the season. What area gardeners are going through right now is several days of extended hours of below freezing overnight temperatures, with prolonged bouts of plant-killing cold in the mid-to-low 20's. 

So, what should a shivering gardener do...after a hard freeze, when temperatures are at or below 28 degrees for several consecutive hours? Should they:
a) remove all plants that look frost-bitten; 
b) prune away all freeze-damaged plant parts;

                   
c) Purchase and plant again this month those same varieties of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals;
                 
d) Water the garden, even if the plants resemble toast;
            
e) Fight the urge to prune and plant by staying indoors, next to the wood stove.

The answers happen to be the easiest to accomplish on a cold weekend: d) and e).

If plants in your garden look blackened and wilted now, new growth may emanate from the base of the plant when the weather warms up in a couple of months.

New growth beneath the frosted branches of a geranium.

Pruning away the dead portions now exposes buds that may still be alive; another frosty morning could wipe out those survivors. Keep the shears in the garage and let the dead portions of the plants protect the understory.
 
 It may take until mid-Spring before you see new growth. Patience is key before you pick up the pruners. In the meantime, tolerate the ugly.

Make sure your garden and potted plants remain moist, especially if it isn't raining. Water gives off heat, and this can protect plants from freezing, especially borderline citrus trees, such as lemons and limes. Damp soil retains heat better than dry soil, protecting roots and warming the air near the soil.

Succulents, such as cactus, are the exception, however. According to the Arizona-based Desert Botanical Garden, most succulents survive freezing temperatures best if the soil around them is dry. 
It's dead, Jim.
Some of those dead plants may be summer annuals that survived our unusually mild early and mid-winter. This impatiens,  for example took its sweet time to croak. Mornings hovering around 25 degrees can do that to a summer annual. Put them in the compost pile; plant more in the spring, after all danger of frost.

Frosty the Ficus
What about those plants that have frozen past the point of no return? Should you replace them with the same varieties? That frozen ficus may be Mother Nature's way of telling you: "Hey! This ain't San Diego! Pick outdoor plants that can take colder temperatures!"




Oh, and keep your frost protection gear handy...just in case.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Late February Freeze in Sacramento? Yep, It Does Happen.

A late winter surprise for our area: frost and freeze watches are posted for Northern California from President's Day (Feb 19) through Wednesday morning. This is not typical, but not out of the realm of possibility. The usual "frost season" for Sacramento - when there is a 50% or greater possibility of temperatures dipping below 32 degrees - is mid-December through mid-February. However, frosts have been recorded here from the first week of November through the last week of March. It's the "Freeze Warning" issued today by the National Weather Service for Northern California that should have gardeners, homeowners and pet owners concerned.

What is cold? Some definitions:

Frost: temperatures dip to 32 °F (0 °C) for short periods of time. Occurs with fair skies and light winds.
Freeze: temperatures at or below 32 °F
Hard Freeze: temperatures below 28 °F for several hours.

 Fruit-laden citrus trees could be threatened by very cold mornings in the weeks (or days) ahead. Some planning tips for the upcoming cold mornings:

When a frost is forecast:
1. Move potted plants to a warmer spot next to house or under patio cover, especially on south side.

 2. Check that plants are well-watered since dry plants are more susceptible to damage, and moist soil retains heat better than dry soil.

3. Cover plants with a row cover before sunset to capture ground heat radiating upward at night, but remove covers daily if it is sunny and above freezing to allow soil to absorb heat.

4. Add heat by using outdoor lights: hang a 75 watt corded work light or Holiday string lights to the interior of the plant. Use the old C7 or C9 large bulbs, not new LED lights which do not give off heat.

5. Wrap trunks of tender trees if hard freeze is expected, using towels, blankets, rags, or pipe insulation.

6. Harvest ripe citrus fruit. Generally, both green and ripe fruit are damaged below 30 degrees, but there is some variation by species (refer to the chart in UC/ANR Publication 8100, "Frost Protection for Citrus and Other Subtropicals").

7. Winterize your gasoline-powered garden equipment. Gas can go bad and screw up your engines if allowed to overwinter, unused. Drain the tanks or turn off the supply valve and run the engine until it stops. For containerized gas (or gas still in equipment) add a stabilizer. Run the engine for 10 minutes or so to make sure the stabilized gas is thoroughly mixed into the engine.

When a Freeze or Hard Freeze is Forecast (temperatures remain at or below 28 degrees for several hours)

 
 1. Wrap any exposed plastic water pipes with pipe insulation tubes; use a cover for outdoor faucets. Turn off the water supply to outdoor irrigation faucets, if possible. Allow those faucets to drain.

 






2. Disconnect garden hoses and lay them out straight...away from driveways!

3. Adjust your pool, spa or pond filtration timers so that they are running when the chance of freezing temperatures is greatest, between two and nine a.m. Moving water is less susceptible to freezing.

4. For dish-shaped fountains: Turn off and let drain to the holding tank below ground. Remove any standing water in the dish.

Frosty the Fuchsia
After a frost:
1. Identify damage: dark brown or black leaves and twigs.

2. Wait to prune out damage until after danger of frost is past, and new growth begins in spring.

3. Make sure the backyard birdbath isn't frozen over in the morning. Daily fresh water for dogs and cats is also a good morning habit.
Tips for Getting Ready for Frost/Freeze Season here:
• Identify cold spots in landscape by monitoring with a thermometer that registers high and low temperatures.
• Identify plants at risk: citrus, succulents, tender perennials, tropical and subtropical plants.
• Have supplies ready: sheets or frost cloths, lights, wraps for trunks, thermometers, stakes or framework to hold covers off foliage.

• Prepare tender plants: avoid fertilizing and pruning after August to minimize tender new growth. 

• Plant insurance: In September and October, take cuttings from frost sensitive perennials; keep cuttings in a sunny, indoor area.
• Monitor weather forecasts and note how low temperatures will be and for how long. 


Pipe Wrap: Cheap Frost Insurance