Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Ready, Set, Prune!
It's time to prune deciduous plants such as roses and fruit trees. First, prune out dead, diseased, or injured wood, then anything that crosses through the center of the plant to maximize air circulation, and finally for shape. Spray with lime/sulfur to kill overwintering insect pests when you have finished pruning.
Don't Let Container Plants Sit in Water
Empty standing water out of saucers to prevent root rot. Set larger containers up on blocks to keep them above standing water, or remove saucers entirely until spring.
Force Bulbs Indoors
Plant amaryllis, hyacinth, and narcissus in pots to enjoy indoors. Place the planted pots into the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator for a few weeks (or another cool spot) before bringing them out to a bright, sunny location. Chilling encourages root growth and strong flower production.
Clean Wooden Decks
Remove accumulated debris from between the boards of wooden decks using a narrow blade. There are dedicated tools for this job, but whatever you decide to use, do it soon. Standing water will rot even the finest wooden decks. Pet hair, potting soil, leaves, and other debris can clog the spaces between the boards.
Protect Tender Plants From Frost
If you hear that a hard freeze is predicted, cover citrus, bougainvilleas, fuchsias, cymbidiums, and other tender plants with insulated plastic or fabric coverings. Don't use single-ply plastic. Water the plants well before the cold weather hits to prevent severe frost damage.