Torrey Pines Landscape Company

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More about Rose Care

January is the month for pruning in San Diego. If you are a transplant from another part of the country like the East or Midwest, what worked there doesn't apply here. We certainly don't have the winters that those places do, so a heavy fall pruning isn't necessary for the roses to survive.
The Basics:
Technique for cutting - put the blade of the pruner next to the part that will remain. Make slightly angled cuts 1/4" above the buds that will generate growth to the outside of the plant
Remove all that is dead, damaged and diseased
Remove spindly growth, old spent canes (at bud union), suckers, foliage and branches that block air and light from the center of the bush
Each rose variety has a slightly different need in pruning. For example: floribundas we would cut out the center branch from each cluster, Tree roses require removal of all of the sprouts growing from the roots or trunk, English roses should only be cleaned of dead wood and leaves for the first two years after planting
Disease Control
Selecting a rose variety that is known as disease-resistant is the way to go, especially if you are organicallyminded. Similarly to shopping for produce, the organic route won't produce the 'best-looking' specimen year-round. There will be a stressed look for the second half of the year. Most roses need some chemical spraying to control fungus, mildew and rust and now is the time to apply it. As licensed applicators, we follow all of the safety procedures & protocol. There are also systemic pesticides that can be added to the soil along with fertilizers, but there are dangers here too. There are environmentally friendlier products we use upon client request. Most pest aren't active yet, so we hold off on pesticide application until later.

In our blog, "Things to do in January", number one on the list was to plant bare root roses. At Torrey Pines Landscape Co., we have an extensive rose-care program that helps to ensure that our clients roses are flowering and healthy. Here are a few basic points from our staff that we feel are the foundation to any successful rose gardening.
Choosing a Purpose and a Variety
Roses are versatile and the many varieties of types available means that they can be used in a wide range of situations. They can be borders, hedges, beds, climbers, ramblers or potted in containers. The can be planted to create a riot of unstructured color or planted to add an air of formality. Because of centuries of hybridizing, there are an incredible variety of colors, shapes, sizes, hardiness and fragrances.
Planting Position
Select a site that receives sun each day where the roots of the rose will not be in competition for water and nutrients with the roots of shrubs or trees. The exception to this rule is the ramblers which grow well near to trees. To prevent foliage disease, the location should have air that circulates freely and soil that drains well. In warmer areas of the county some shade from the afternoon summer sun will help prevent damage. There are rose varieties that are suited for shadier situations. If you are replacing an older existing planted area with roses, it's important to dig generous planting holes for a lot of fresh soil. Roses will grow in a wide range of soils, but whatever type they do appreciate good soil preparation. We till a generous quantity of well rotted manure before planting to help ensure strong growth.
We plant as soon as possible, never allowing the roots to dry out at any time prior to and during planting. When planted, the base of the canes (bud union) are at ground level. We water in well, fertilize and mound the base of the canes with about 6 inches of compost, soil & bark chippings.
Regular watering is essential, the rose will be stronger, healthier and produce more flowers. Depending on the location of the garden in the county and the time of year, we deep water at least once a week to moisten the entire root system.
Roses, especially the repeat flowering varieties, need a generous supply of nutrients regularly through the growing season. We use slow release or organic fertilizers applied to the ground. Fertilizer application should be timed according to the bloom periods.
Mulching with organic matter is a very important part of rose growing: helping to conserve water, keeping the soil surface from hardening, deterring weed growth, keeping the soil cool and feeding the microorganisms and worms in the soil. It contributes to creating a healthy soil structure that is aerated and permeable for water and root growth. Mulch should preferably be well rotted and, if it starts to disappear during the season, we reapply.
Next blog we will continue to share our team's tips for rose care by discussing disease and pest control along with pruning.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Plant Climate Zones for San Diego

Currently the state of California has 24 recognized Plant Climate Zones. This general zoning was compiled and refined based on average temperatures, precipitation, sun exposure, winds and relative humidity. The leading factor for success in selecting plants that will thrive is understanding the relationship between cold temperatures and each plant species. Other key factors are: understanding the micro-climates of each property, taking into consideration the varied soil and drainage conditions across our county, understanding evapotranspiration (the loss of water from evaporation and transpiration) as well as having a working knowledge of plant factors (the percent of supplemental water each plant needs relative to evapotranspiration) and finally, realizing that seasonal conditions do change from year to year. Torrey Pines Landscape Co. works in the San Diego Coastal Edge & Valley Zones and the Inland Valley & Foothill Zones. We have some of the driest and warmest parts of the state here in Southern California hosting both Mediterranean and arid climate conditions. The moisture needs of landscapes and gardens in San Diego are usually met by the rainfall from December through February. Selecting plants that can thrive with less supplemental water while being aesthetically design worthy is a challenge that we meet gladly every day.
The Coastal Edge &Valley Zones are dominated by ocean influences most of the year. This is reflected in a mild winter and warm summer temperatures. The average days per year: above 90 degrees is 2-5 and days below 32 degrees is zero to 2. The growing season throughout most parts on this zone is 12 months (with available irrigation). The average precipitation is about 46" annually. Sub-tropical plants are an option as well as a palette of arid plantings provided they are positioned in the garden in an area with enough sun and warmth. The popularity of natives is booming which is great because native plants have adapted in response to the amount of natural water in the environment.
The Inland Valley & Foothill Zones have short mild winters and long dry summers. The average days per year: above 90 degrees is 40-70 and the days below 32 degrees is 10-30. The average precipitation is 44- 50" annually. The precipitation from the winter is not enough to support a tropical garden here without heavy supplemental irrigation. Plants that are from temperate Mediterranean and arid climate zones grow well here year round. For those clients who want a tropical look, selecting the hardier species and placing them in the garden in areas protected from those colder days is the way to go.

Here's a general breakdown by Zone:

ZONE 21: Thermal belts in Southern California’s areas of occasional ocean influence ( Poway)
Zone 21 gets weather influenced by both maritime air and interior or inland air. Your garden can be in ocean air or a high fog one day and in a mass of interior air (perhaps a drying Santa Ana wind from the desert) the next day. Because temperatures rarely drop very far below 30°, this is fine citrus growing country. At the same time, Zone 21 is also the mildest zone that gets sufficient winter chilling for most forms of lilacs and certain other chill-loving plants. Extreme lows—the kind you see once every 10 or 20 years—in Zone 21 average 28 to 25°.

ZONE 23: Thermal belts of Southern California’s coastal climate (Rancho Santa Fe)
One of the most favored areas in North America for growing subtropical plants, Zone 23 has always been Southern California’s best zone for avocados. Frosts don’t amount to much here, because 85 percent of the time, Pacific Ocean weather dominates; interior air rules only 15 percent of the time. A notorious portion of this 15 percent consists of those days when hot, dry Santa Ana winds blow. Zone 23 lacks either the summer heat or the winter cold necessary to grow pears, most apples, and most peaches. But it enjoys considerably more heat than Zone 24—enough to put the sweetness in ‘Valencia’ oranges, for example—but not enough for ‘Washington’ naval oranges, which are grown farther inland. Temperatures are mild here, but severe winters descend at times. Average lows range from 43 to 48°, while extreme lows average from 34 to 27°.

ZONE 24: Marine influence along the Southern California coast (Del Mar, La Jolla, Coronado & Mission Hills)
Stretched along Southern California’s beaches, this climate zone is almost completely dominated by the ocean. Where the beach runs along high cliffs or palisades, Zone 24 extends only to that barrier. But where hills are low or nonexistent, it runs inland several miles. This zone has a mild marine climate because south of Point Conception, the Pacific is comparatively warm. The winters are mild, the summers cool, and the air seldom really dry. On many days in spring and early summer, the sun doesn’t break through the high overcast until afternoon. Tender perennials like geraniums and impatiens rarely go out of bloom here; spathiphyllums and pothos become outdoor plants; and tender palms are safe from killing frosts. In this climate, gardens that include such plants as ornamental figs, rubber trees, and scheffleras can become jungles. Zone 24 is coldest at the mouths of canyons that channel cold air down from the mountains on clear winter nights. Partly because of the unusually low temperatures created by this canyon action, there is a broad range of winter lows in Zone 24. Winter lows average 48° in San Diego. Extreme cold averages from 35° to 28°. The all-time high temperatures aren’t greatly significant in terms of plant growth. The average all-time high of weather stations in Zone 24 is 105°. Record heat usually comes in early October, carried to the coast by Santa Ana winds. The wind’s power and dryness usually causes more problems than the heat itself—but you can ameliorate scorching with frequent sprinkling.

from the office of Torrey Pines Landscape Co., Inc

Friday, January 7, 2011

Landscaping is a major joy as well as investment; and too many gardens have been destroyed by poor management. At Torrey Pines Landscape Co., Inc., we are committed to providing a service that will properly maintain the aesthetics and long term health of your landscapes. Many of the maintenance tasks we provide throughout the year are seasonal; meaning that there is at least a 3 month window to get the jobs done. January, however, has a specific list of to-do's that shouldn't wait. We love Pat Welsh's quote: "So rejoice that the holidays are over, dig in, and enjoy the promise of a New Year, which to the true gardener is always the same: this year the garden will be better than before." What a wonderful sentiment as well as a goal to strive for!
So here are some of the items from our January To-Do List for maintenance:
1. Plant bare-root roses, trees and vines
2. Plant Camellias and azaleas - pick off existing blooms/ deadhead
3. Plant cool-season flowers like fox-glove, primrose and pansy
4. Plant blooming cacti and succulents for a punch of color
5. Prune roses, deciduous fruit trees, naked coral trees and conifers
6. Mow and feed cool season lawns since they are growing now
7. Fertilize and control pests appropriately to plant specimen
8. Frost prevention plan for low-lying inland gardens
No matter what the month,
9. Get out there and enjoy your garden!