November 2009 Garden Tips (for more great information visit www.AndersonsLaCostaNursery.com)
 
November can bring us glorious weather for gardening in the San Diego area. Warm but mild days and cool nights are ideal growing conditions for cool-season plants. Working in the garden is usually a very pleasant and rewarding experience this month. November is a particularly good time to add trees, shrubs and ground covers to your landscape. November can deliver some much needed rain here in Southern California as we typically see about 10% of our rain in November. You may want to prune dense trees and make sure young trees are well-staked now before the winter arrives.
 
Here in California we have many lovely wild plants and although they look wonderful in many landscapes they are sadly under-utilized. If you want to add some natives or wildflowers to your garden November is the time to plant them. Remember, even drought-resistant natives need watering when getting established so if the rains are late - irrigate.
 
Onion seed, garlic and strawberries all need to be planted in the first half of November so don't delay. In addition (if like most of us) you didn't finish your fall planting in October don't wait any longer. Transplant strawberries now so they'll develop sturdy root systems over the winter, ready to burst into lush foliage and heavy fruit set in the spring. Dig in lots of organic material and compost first to feed roots over the winter and through the summer.
 
New Plantings Biennials: These showy cottage-garden favorites (Canterbury bells, hollyhock, and Queen Anne's Lace) do best if planted in late fall so that they will establish roots before soil temperatures drop and be ready to bloom on schedule come spring.
 
Cool-Season Lawns (fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass) can still be planted from seed. Fertilize lawns with slow-release nitrogen for gradual, consistent feeding all winter long. Continue to mow the lawn as long as it still grows to encourage branching of individual grass plants for a thicker healthier lawn that chokes out weeds. Rake leaves off the lawn to allow air, light, and fertilizer to reach the soil surface.
 
Cool-Season Vegetables: Plant cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, lettuce and other greens. You might also add beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, and other root crops (more info at bottom of page).
 
Cool-Season Flowers: Plant cool-season flowers. These include calendula, cineraria, dianthus, delphiniums, Iceland poppies, nemesia, pansies, snapdragon, stock, wild flowers (more info at bottom of page).
 
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Garlic: Plant garlic before mid-month to ensure the bulbs develop. Plant cloves base down (pointy side up), 1-3 in. deep and 3-5 in. apart.
 
Natives: November is an excellent time to plant California natives. There are many natives that are wonderful landscape plants including: California Lilac (ceanothus),Toyon or California Holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Monkeyflower (Diplacus), California Tree Mallow (Lavatera assurgenteum), Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica). Several low growing varieties of Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) also make great native ground covers.
 
Wild Flowers: For long-lasting color choose a western seed mix that has both annuals & perennials or make your own mix using your favorites. Good candidates for a wild flower mix include California poppies, larkspur, clarkia, Chinese houses, godetia and gypsophila.
 

Garden Maintenance

Bermuda Lawn: If you have a Bermuda lawn and want a green lawn in winter over seed Bermuda grass with annual winter ryegrass this fall. Cut the grass short and mulch it with composted manure or fine sifted compost. Keep the ground damp until rye seeds sprout.
 
Chrysanthemums: After they finish flowering cut chrysanthemums back leaving 6-inch stems. They will begin to grow again next March. Old clumps can be lifted and divided.
 
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Peaches: If your peach or nectarine had leaf curl (puckered, yellow and red leaves) this year spray it with lime sulfur at full leaf fall. Do not use this spray on apricot trees.
 
Hydrangeas: Contrary to some references or your own temptations do not prune hydrangeas this late in the year. Hydrangeas bloom on one-year-old stems (except for the 'Endless Summer'). Pruning now will eliminate most of next year's flowers. To try to get blue or lavender flowers on an otherwise pink plant start applying Aluminum Sulfate to the soil now. White flowered varieties will not change color and not all pinks will be effected the same.
 
Tropicals & Subtropicals: Many of these will still be blooming and looking good. It is not unusual for many of these to have a big fall flower burst now. Look for lots of color now on plumeria, hibiscus, bougainvillea and ginger. Let these heat loving plants harden off a bit before the cool temperatures of late fall and winter. Reducing or eliminating nitrogen fertilizer and cutting back on watering will help the plants get ready for the cooler months ahead. These warm-weather plants are better planted earlier in the spring or summer.
 
November And Pansies: Pansies are an ideal solution for quick color and if you haven't planted them November is an ideal month to get them growing. Wide selections of plants are available at the nursery.
 
Keep Irrigation Going: During our cooler November days plants don't require as frequent irrigations as the warmer months. We should receive some rain however plants will still require irrigation when the soil begins to dry. Use frequent irrigation during Santa Ana winds. Automatic sprinklers that still come on when it is raining are a gross waste of precious water. Consider installing a rain shutoff sensor to your automatic sprinkler system that will shut it off when it rains.
 
Give one last deep watering to grapevines and deciduous trees but discontinue feeding. This will begin hardening them off for cold weather. You want to discourage new growth that will be tender and susceptible to damage.
 
Plant Canterbury Bells: Canterbury bells (also called cup and saucer flower) is a lovely old-fashioned flower that has seen a surge in popularity in recent years because it is an important flower in English or cottage garden style landscapes. The large impressive, bell-shaped flowers are produced on spikes and usually come in blue-purple but other shades are sometimes available.
 
Lightly prune top-heavy trees to reduce wind resistance by cutting out whole branches so you can look through the tree; this means wind can blow through. Hold off on heavy pruning until the trees are completely dormant.
 
Plan your dormant fruit tree spraying schedule to coincide approximately with cool weather holidays (Thanksgiving, New Year's Day, and Valentine's Day). Specific cues are the fall of the last leaf (Thanksgiving), the height of dormancy (New Year's Day), and bud swell (Valentine's Day). Spraying at the precise period of bud swell is especially important (before the buds swell is too early and after the blossoms open is too late).
 
Oil sprays smother the eggs of scale insects, aphids, and mites. Lime sulfur and powdered or liquid copper sprays discourage the growth of fungus (peach leaf curl) and virus. Choose a copper spray that contains at least 50 percent copper. On apricot trees use only copper sprays (sulfur will damage them). If the rains haven't thoroughly moistened the soil of trees to be sprayed deep water them a few days before spraying. Spray on a cool, dry, sunny day during a windless period to minimize evaporation and drift. Make sure that all leaf, branch, and trunk surfaces are thoroughly covered with the spray solution. Drenching the soil from the trunk to just beyond the drip line is also helpful. Reapply if rain falls within 48 hours of the application.
 
Plant colorful ornamental cabbage and kale for vibrantly rich reds, blues, and purples to accentuate other garden colors all winter long.
 
Discontinue watering and feeding roses and mulch roses with manure and compost. Prune them lightly to remove the long bloomed out canes but save hard pruning until January when plants are fully dormant.
 
Plant azaleas, camellias, forsythias, dogwoods, and oriental magnolias so they'll settle in nicely. Renew acid mulches under azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons. Water them well to make sure they don't dry out from winter sun and winds. Twist off small buds on camellias for fewer but larger blooms.
 
Water cacti and succulents (last irrigation) that will go dormant during the winter. If they are in containers place them under house eaves or other cover so they'll still receive bright light but winter rains won't drown or rot them.
 
Move container plants that are next to a south or west-facing wall so plants absorb reflected daytime heat but are shielded from winds.
 
For our inland gardeners be aware that the best frost protection for plants is to have sufficient water in the soil. Irrigate fall-planted trees and bushes deeply once or twice this month to settle them in well and ensure good root formation prior to dormancy.
 
Rearrange indoor plants as needed for winter conditions. Keep them away from cold drafts by windows and away from drying heat of fireplaces or vents. Move them closer to windows to get what winter sunlight they can. Many houseplants also go dormant at this time of year so they need less water and fertilizer.

Planting Guide

Flowers From Seeds:
Alyssum, Ageratum, Baby's breath, Calendula, California poppy, Carnation, Cineraria, Clarkia, Columbine, Delphinium, English daisy, Forget-me-not, Foxglove, Gaillardia, Godetia, Hollyhock, Larkspur, Linaria, Lobelia, Mignonette, Painted tongue, Pansy, Phlox, Scabiosa, Schizanthus, Shasta daisy, Snapdragon, Stock, Sweet pea (bush), Viola, Wildflowers
 
Flowers From Bedding Plants:
Calendula, Columbine, Coral bells, English daisy, English primrose, Fairy primrose, Foxglove, Iceland poppy, Pansy, Snapdragon, Stock, Sweet pea (bush), Viola
 
Vegetables:
Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Endive, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce (head & leaf), Onions, Peas, Radishes, Rhubarb, Spinach, Swiss chard, Turnips
 
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