Ahhhh, November! Finally….much cooler temperatures, pumpkin everything, and cozy nights by the fire. As the weather turns so do the beautiful colors on the trees, serving as a reminder that winter is near. Your yard is getting ready for a reprieve from the exhaustive heat and many plants will go dormant. Now is the time to create a visual feast with pomegranates, miniature pumpkins, Indian corn, gourds, fall flowers, and herbs from your garden. So, what does your Fresyes garden require from you this month?
- Keep an eye on rainfall and adjust irrigation to keep soil moist, especially for new plantings. This is usually the month I turn my irrigation off completely and let the rain, along with cooler temperatures keep the garden healthy. (So thankful for our first rain last weekend, even if I was caught in it while watching my daughter’s soccer game!)
- Protect tropical and subtropical plants from frost. Historically, November 15th is the average first frost date for the Fresno area, but it can occur earlier.
- Avoid overhead sprinklers if frost is expected.
- Keep beds and lawn clear of debris to eliminate hiding places for pests.
- At the end of the month, apply dormant oil spray, such as Neem oil, to deciduous fruit trees to control overwintering insects.
- Before winter rains begin , spray peach, nectarine, and apricot trees with copper fungicide to control shot hole disease on twigs.
- Prune shrubs and trees to shape. Discard diseased wood.
- Fertilize cool weather plants, veggies, and lawns with timed release granular fertilizer.
FROST PROTECTION: Frost damage occurs in California when winter nights are cold, dry, and calm. If temperatures drop below freezing, serious damage or even loss of the plant itself may result. This occurs when ice crystals form in plant cells, rupturing cells, restricting water flow, and causing damage to leaves, twigs, or even large branches. If you have ever seen the stems of your plant appear waterlogged then turn brown and die, you have experienced frost damage. As the moisture evaporates, the plant dries out and dies.
Most frost-tender plants will be damaged if temperatures fall below 30 degrees, and will need protection when colder temperatures are predicted. Grab your potted plants and move them to a covered patio or the garage. Plants in the landscape, however, are a different story. You can purchase “frost blankets” from local nurseries or use an old sheet or canvas. Use cardboard boxes to cover small shrubs. Plants near buildings or walls will stay warmer by releasing heat absorbed during the day. Healthy plants will stand up to frost better than stressed or neglected plants, so be sure to stay aware of moisture. Lastly, do not do any hard pruning before frost. Most perennials will be damaged from the frost. The damaged parts of the plant will act as a protective blanket for the new growth emerging. The beginning of spring (late February or March) is the time to prune back the dead parts of the plant to let the new growth continue to flourish.
Now that you won’t be worrying over frost-bitten plants, you will have more time for pumpkin treats and apple cider. A great start to the fall season, if you ask me! Please comment below if you are unsure of the frost hardiness of any of the plants in your FresYes garden and I’ll be happy to advise!