Torrey Pines Landscape Company

Torrey Pines Landscape Company
As featured in Ranch & Coast Magazine ( design by )

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thank goodness, preparing for snowy weather is not on our list for your San Diego gardens. Despite what folks from the east coast may think, we do have seasons with indivual requirements for landscape maintenance that change cyclically with the changes in the amount of annual precipitation. Some years we receive more rains than we can absorb and other years there isn't enough rain to supplement our already taxed imported supply of water. The wet years hold their own challenges: soil erosion on slopes, whipping winds, flooding in low-lying areas, drainage obstuctions or inadequate drainage causing root rot or mold. Many of these issues can be prevented or managed with a professional design, installation and maintenance plan. Since we've had some rains already, check run-off from the slopes, roofs and patios now. Standing water or loss of soil can alert you to potential problems that can be addressed before they turn into disasters. Drier seasons have the obvious irrigation challenges. Here again, getting a professional to help design a garden that has waterwise choices in plantings and irrigation in mind helps in the long run.

The "To-Do" List:
Lawns: There are two "kinds" of lawns. Cool-season lawns like ryegrass, bluegrass and fescue are in their growing period. Maintenance entails fertilization, aeration and setting mowers to cut them shorter. It's a good time to plant (seed) or install (sod) a new cool-season lawn. If your neighbors have problems with gophers, avoid having them yourself with an extensive net of chicken wire installed beneath your new lawn.Warm-season lawns like Bermuda, zoysia and St. Augustine are slowing down in their growth and don't require as much attention.

Ground Covers: November is a great time for planting ground covers that spread. If you have been considering reducing your water usage by replacing some or all of your lawns, there are many great choices for ground covers that do well in the full sun that your lawn once enjoyed like Sedums, Osteospermums, or Gazanias. There are other ground covers suited for the shadier places in your garden like Hedra helix (Needlepoint Ivy), Ajuga reptans ( Carpet bugle) or Trachelospermum jasminoides (Star jasmine). Slopes stay in place when covered by a variety of shallow rooted ground covers and deeper rooted plantings.

Pruning: Because we traditionally experience more winds in fall and winter, plan for it by opening spaces in dense trees and the tops of heavy shrubs to allow the increasing winds to pass through.

Rearranging: Now through winter is the time to relocate young trees and shrubs in your garden. Transplant deciduous plants after the leaves have fallen and the plant is dormant. Remember the hour glass principle and prune the top to balance it with the loss of root coverage.

Color: A general guideline is that if you want colorful spring flowerbeds, the time to plant is fall. October planting is ideal, but November is not too late. The variety is incredible: delphiniums, foxgloves, calendulas, coral bells, and pansys to name just a few. They will thrive if fed with a product high in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. My personal favorite: Ranunculus. These natives of Asia Minor are tuberous rooted and provide long lasting color. Wild flowers, like California poppy and sweet alyssum, can be planted from seed if your willing to keep their beds moist. Most wild flowers, if grown in a well prepared ground tilled with soil amendments, don't need fertilizer.

Roses: It's time to slow down the care (fertilizer, spray and water) to encourage the winter dormancy.

Edible Garden: Continue to plant winter vegetables and strawberries.

Sound like too much 'to-do'? Need help? No worries! It's what we do. Having a garden that you can enjoy year-round is one of the many perks that have drawn so many to San Diego. Torrey Pines Landscape Co. wants you to help you to get outside to enjoy your garden, not work in it.

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