With shorter fall days, it can be a challenge to find time to complete all that needs to be done in the garden before winter.
Add Mulch Around Trees: Spread several inches of organic mulch around trees to the tree’s drip line (the outermost circumference around a tree’s branches). Leave at least three or four inches of exposed soil around the trunk base. Doing so helps the soil around the tree retain water while exposing the trunk to warm fall sun.
Plant Strawberries: Prepare the ground by mixing organic amendments into the soil. Space plants about one foot apart in a sunny location. The soil should always be loose and rich in nutrients. Strawberries will appear in spring.
Prune Mature Trees; Stake Young Trees: The expected El Nino could bring not only heavy rains but strong winds. Open and thin dense trees so the wind can pass through and be sure young trees are well staked so they hold up in extreme weather.
Use Rain Barrels: Collect rainwater in rain barrels and use the water in your garden during dry spells. Some cities offer free rain barrels as part of their water conservation efforts. Rain barrels are also sold online and at home improvement stores. Keep them covered so they do not attract insects.
Divide Perennials: Divide spring-blooming perennials such as Shasta and seaside daisies, blanket flowers, bugleweed and arum. They will have plenty of time to establish themselves before flowering in spring.
Plant Cool Weather Annuals: Plant blooming fall annuals such as pansies, violas, primrose and calendula for quick color. Flowers should last well into spring. Perennials including chrysanthemums, nemesia, godetia and schizanthus are also available now in bloom. Chrysanthemums flowers can last as long as two months. Once the blooms begin to fade, cut the plant back so it is only two inches above the ground. With only little care, they will begin to grow again in spring and bloom in July.
Move Container Plants Next To A Wall: Container plants should be moved next to a wall or fence to absorb reflected daytime heat, stay warmer in cooler nighttime temperatures and be protected from wind.
Add Tree and Shrubs: Cooler weather and a good chance of rain make November an ideal time to plant almost any type of tree, shrub or groundcover. Drought-resistant groundcover includes lantana, verbenas and succulents such as varieties of ice plant and sedums. California native plants that thrive when planted now include California Lilac, California Holly, California Tree Mallow and Manzanita.
Bill Camarillo is CEO of Agromin, an Oxnard, California-based manufacturer of soil products and the composter for cities throughout Southern California. Each month, Agromin receives more than 30,000 tons of organic material and then uses a safe, natural and sustainable process to transform the material into premium soil products. The results are more vigorous and healthier plants and gardens, and on the conservation side, the opportunity to close the recycling loop, allow more room in landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. agromin.com