Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Keep Walkways Safe
Now that the winter rains have begun, keep walkways and driveways safe by treating them with a solution of 1/2 % bleach to prevent moss from growing. Moss will grow quickly in shady areas and will make for slippery walking if not kept under control.
Slug and Snail Control
Until the weather cools, hungry slugs and snails will be feasting on your new spring plantings. Copper foil, diatomaceous earth or beer traps all work well in the battle against these hungry creatures.
Fertilize Rhodies and Azaleas
If you didn't fertilize azaleas, rhododendrons and dogwoods earlier in the season, now is your last chance to enhance the spring bloom. Scratch the fertilizer into the top 1 to 2 inches of soil. Use an acid fertilizer specially formulated for rhododendrons.
Help for Houseplants
Remove dust from indoor plants. Even a light coating of dust will prevent indoor plants from photosynthesizing. Also, don't fertilize your indoor plants again until early spring. Tropical plants need a rest period during the winter months. Cut back on water and fill saucers with gravel to create humidity trays or mist daily.
Dig and Store Dahlia Tubers
Put your precious dahlias to bed for the winter by digging the plants carefully from the ground. Discard any tubers that have been nicked by the shovel. Shake off excess soil and allow the tubers to dry in a single layer until the foliage has turned brown. At that point, remove and compost the foliage, dust the clean tubers with sulfur and store in sawdust or shredded newspaper in a cool, dry area until the soil has warmed in the spring.