Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Plant Bare Root Stock
Bare root plants such as roses, fruit trees, artichokes, berries, and asparagus are available in nurseries and garden centers now and are a bargain. Bare root plants actually perform better because they are better able to adapt to the soil in your garden without suffering from transplant shock.
If you can't plant right away heel bare root plants into damp soil to prevent the roots from drying out until a permanent location can be found. Follow planting directions on the package.
Prune Deciduous Plants
Spring blooming plants such as forsythia and weigela should be pruned after they bloom, so wait to prune these deciduous shrubs until after they have finished flowering. The exception is wisteria, which should be pruned hard during the dormant season to produce large blossoms. Summer blooming plants such as hydrangea and fuchsia can be pruned during the dormant season. Fuchsia only blooms on new wood, so cut the plant back hard to it basic framework for best results.
Prune roses to direct growth, shape plants, and remove dead, diseased, or injured branches. Roses can be cut hard while they are dormant to open the basic framework of the plant, which will improve air circulation and help to prevent fungus disease during the upcoming growing season. Begin by removing all dead, diseased or injured wood. Next, remove any growth that crosses through the center of the plant, then prune for shape. Finally, direct new growth by pruning each branch to just above an outward facing bud.
Spray for Overwintering Pests
,After pruning deciduous plants spray with a copper/oil or lime/sulfur mix to kill overwintering insect pests. Pre-mixed, or RTU (Ready to Use) products are available at nurseries and garden centers. Spray on a calm day when no rain is predicted for the next 24 hours. Spray the area around the base of the plant to kill fungus spores overwintering in the soil.
Cover Tender Plants
Listen to weather reports daily and protect tender plants such as cactus, bougainvillea, and citrus when temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing. Use burlap, paper, or canvas -- never plastic -- to cover plants. Old bedspreads work well. Cactus can be protected by placing a styrofoam cup over the growing tip.