Help­ful gar­den tips for Novem­ber

Porterville Recorder - - HOME-GARDEN - Pey­ton El­las UC Mas­ter Gar­dener

Novem­ber is a beau­ti­ful month in our Cen­tral Val­ley and foothill gar­dens. We're fin­ish­ing up plant­ing and other gar­den jobs, usu­ally wel­com­ing rain and en­joy­ing au­tumn colors. It can also be a month that brings frost, so early in the month we need to pre­pare for it by wrap­ping pipes, cov­er­ing frost sen­si­tive plants with row-cover cloth or mov­ing ten­der plants into the house or onto the pa­tio or at least un­der eaves or un­der a large tree.

PLANT­ING: Novem­ber is my fa­vorite month to plant Cal­i­for­nia na­tive and other cli­mate-right plants. Once the soil has been sat­u­rated by the first rains of the sea­son and the air is cool and moist, the plants ex­pe­ri­ence lit­tle shock be­ing trans­planted. This is es­pe­cially true in the well-mulched gar­den. Frost sen­si­tive plants, like those from Baja Cal­i­for­nia, the Chan­nel Is­lands and some low-desert ar­eas, should be pro­tected through win­ter, or wait un­til spring to plant.

Novem­ber is an ideal month for plant­ing spring bulbs like daf­fodils and nar­cis­sus. Bulbs can be a great way to pro­vide early color and when planted in masses make a big wel­com­ing show. Nurs­eries usu­ally have a large num­ber of bulbs avail­able. Pur­chase only bulbs that are firm and do not show any signs of mold. Tulips and Hy­acinths will re­quire pre-cool­ing for 6 weeks be­fore they are planted. A good way to pre-cool is to place them in the re­frig­er­a­tor. Use the veg­etable/fruit drawer, but make sure there isn't any fruit near the bulbs. Fruits and veg­eta­bles can cause the bulbs to sprout pre­ma­turely.

Plant your bulbs where they will get a full day of sun­shine. A gen­eral rule to fol­low when plant­ing is to place the larger bulbs deeper. In most cases, you should plant the bulb three times deeper than its height. Usu­ally the pointed end of the bulb is placed up when plant­ing. If you can't tell which end is up, plant on side, the plant will rise to the sun. Add a hand­ful of bulb fer­til­izer to the base of the plant­ing holes and mix it into the soil. All spring bulbs should be planted by Thanks­giv­ing at the very lat­est. Here are some spe­cific tips about the dif­fer­ent types of bulbs:

Anenomes have lit­tle wrinkly tu­bers that re­sem­ble raisins. Soak the tu­bers in water for a cou­ple of hours be­fore you plant them 4-5" deep.

Daf­fodils are planted about 8" deep, un­less they are minia­tures. Minia­tures should be planted 4" deep. Daf­fodils will mul­ti­ply every year, so don't plant them to close to­gether. If you have a go­pher prob­lem, these are the bulbs to plant.

Grape Hy­acinths have lovely blue, pur­ple or white blooms. These bulbs will also mul­ti­ply every year. Plant about 4-6" deep.

Hy­acinth bulbs must be pre-cooled, oth­er­wise they will have short stubby stems and smaller flow­ers. These are treated as an­nu­als and are pulled out and dis­carded after their bloom time.

Ra­nun­cu­lus tu­bers look like dried minia­ture bunches of ba­nanas. Soak the tu­bers in water for a cou­ple of hours be­fore plant­ing. Place in the hole with the lit­tle pointy ends down, ap­prox­i­mately 2" deep.

Tulips: Plant 6"-8" deep. Tulips are also treated as an­nu­als in our area, as they rarely sur­vive the sum­mer. Pull out and dis­card them after they have bloomed.

You can still plant win­ter veg­eta­bles in Novem­ber, in­clud­ing greens, broc­coli, cauliflower and cab­bage, es­pe­cially early in the month when the soil is still warm. I've suc­cess­fully planted gar­lic and onions late in Novem­ber, har­vest­ing them in late May or June the fol­low­ing year.

It is best to trans­plant estab­lished shrubs, trees and peren­ni­als when they go dor­mant or drop their leaves, usu­ally towards the end of the month or in win­ter. Dig them up care­fully, and take as much of the root sys­tem as you can. Be sure to plant at the same ground level, and water and mulch well. If you plant them too deep, it will kill the plant.

MAIN­TAIN­ING: After the leaves fall, be­gin prun­ing shrubs and trees, not only to shape them, but to pre­vent storm dam­age. A tree with­out gaps in the leaf canopy may have bro­ken branches as a re­sult of the wind. Open up spa­ces by re­mov­ing a few branches from the trunk with thin­ning cuts. You should never top land­scape trees. Our Mas­ter Gar­dener

web­site has more com­plete in­struc­tions and il­lus­tra­tions on prun­ing trees.

Fall and win­ter bloom­ing plants and veg­eta­bles can be fer­til­ized. Do not fer­til­ize Cal­i­for­nia na­tive plants, av­o­cado, cit­rus, palms or other frost sen­si­tive plants.

If your peach or nec­tarine tree had de­formed leaves dur­ing the sum­mer, it prob­a­bly had "peach leaf curl". This is a fun­gal dis­ease that af­fects fruit­ing, and if se­vere, it can cause the tree to die. To con­trol peach leaf curl:

Rake leaves when they fall. Re­move any mum­mies and dis­card. Do not add these to your com­post pile.

Spray trunk, branches and the ground un­der­neath the tree with a cop­per-based fungi­cide or a Bordeaux mix­ture (a slurry made of hy­drated lime and cop­per sul­fate). You can also use a syn­thetic fungi­cide. Prod­ucts need to have 50 per­cent cop­per to be truly ef­fec­tive.

One ap­pli­ca­tion is usu­ally suf­fi­cient, how­ever, if we have a wet win­ter, then spray again be­fore the flower buds swell in the spring.

CON­SERV­ING: Re­duce wa­ter­ing due to cooler tem­per­a­tures and shorter days. You may only need to water once a week, if at all. It is im­por­tant that you fol­low your city's water reg­u­la­tions. If you have non-na­tive milk­weed, usu­ally with orange or yel­low flow­ers, make sure the flow­ers are pruned off to en­cour­age Mon­archs to mi­grate. The cold of win­ter will kill them if they stick around. You can check and re­fill bird feed­ers with fresh seed and check after rain­storms to make sure the seed isn't moldy. Con­sider leav­ing some seed stalks on some of your grasses and peren­ni­als for birds to for­age this win­ter.for

Happy Thanks­giv­ing!

an­swers to all your home gar­den­ing ques­tions, call Mas­ter Gar­den­ers in Tu­lare County at (559) 6843325, Tues­days and Thurs­days be­tween 9:30 and 11:30 am; or Kings County at (559) 8522736, Thurs­day Only, 9:30-11:30 a.m; or visit our web­site to search past ar­ti­cles, find links to UC gar­den­ing in­for­ma­tion, or to email us with your ques­tions: Uc_­mas­ter_­gar­den­ers/

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