Updated October 2023. Will we have another warm, wet El Nino winter? Even the Experts aren’t sure, but note we have high ground saturation from an unusually wet 2023. That can present more flood and slide dangers.
Luckily, the rain gardens (aka bioswales) and native plants that support gardens through drought also direct water away from structures and stabilize slopes. Here are the steps we take to optimize gardens already well-prepared for whiplash weather.
Keep your gardens safe and celebration-ready this holiday season.
- Turn off (non-weather based) irrigation controllers – enjoy the rain!
- Clean gutters and check waterways to protect structures
Keep gardens structured and thriving:
- Harvest winter veggies like fennel and parsnips
- Prune conifers and other deciduous trees and deep-feed citrus trees
- Continue to cut back thriving natives and native grasses as they experience growth spurts
- Divide grasses
- Plant, mulch, plant and mulch!
The New Year is a time for list making. Here’s ours for keeping gardens in top shape:
Ensure rainy-season peace of mind:
- Clean gutters to protect homes and structures
- Monitor run-off and water catchment systems to protect slopes
- Re-stake trees to ensure support during seasonal winds
- Adjust irrigation quantity and timers
- Make sure rain sensors work
- Prevent El Nino-related disasters (checklist)
Do the heavy lifting that brings a beautiful spring:
- Cut grasses to their bases
- Evaluate empty spaces for great fill-ins
- Feed citrus and acid loving plants
- Prune ornamental shrubs, conifers, deciduous trees, roses, ornamental fruits, native an
- Prune Mediterranean foliage to make room for spring growth and inspire proper form
- Spray roses and ornamental fruits with ecofriendly dormant oil and organic amending with blood meal
We may start to see blooms emerge on our hillsides. This month, we prepare gardens to thrive in rain or shine. We:
Conserve Water and Soil Moisture:
- Identify and fix irrigation leaks
- Add mulch to retain water and build soil quality
- Change batteries on irrigation timers
- Adjust clocks on irrigation and lighting timers
- Prune Mediterranean foliage
- Reduce evaporation from lawns by raising mower heights
Prep for a Beautiful Year:
- Identify cut flowers to brighten indoor spaces
- Plant edibles to match meal interests
- Exchange plants for long term resilience