Can You Put A Flower Bed Around A Lime Tree Southern California Gardening Can Take a Back Seat To Holiday Festivities in December

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Southern California Gardening Can Take a Back Seat To Holiday Festivities in December

December is an ideal month to take time to garden and enjoy the holidays, but there is still plenty to do for those who love to garden regardless of the season.

Turn off the automatic sprinklers: Most cities prohibit watering for 48 hours after a rain, but you can usually wait longer to start watering again. Rain usually saturates the soil much better than sprinklers. Turn off automatic sprinklers and let the weather guide you when watering, or install a soil moisture sensor so sprinklers only turn on when needed.

Fill in the bare areas of the lawn: Add grass seed to bare spots in your lawn. Place a topping mixture over the seeds to protect them from birds and speed up germination. If the winter rains come, the seed will get the water it needs to grow. Be aware, however, that you will need to water the seeds if dry conditions continue to encourage growth.

Pruning weak tree branches: Winter often brings strong winds that can break tree branches. Inspect trees for weakened limbs or limbs that could cause property damage if they fall. Now remove the limbs.

Get to the bottom of curling leaves on fruit trees: Citrus leaf curl can be caused by a number of problems: insects such as aphids, overwatering (or underwatering), and nutrient deficiencies. Take a sample of curled leaves to a qualified horticulturist for a diagnosis and suggested remedy to keep your trees healthy by spring.

Planting Dormant Deciduous Fruit Trees: The end of December is the time to plant young dormant fruit trees. They are available at affordable prices because they are often soilless (bare root). Deciduous fruit trees need cool nights (below 45 degrees) to encourage buds to flower and set fruit. Some trees need colder nights than others. Fruit trees that do particularly well in the more temperate climate of Southern California include varieties of apples, apricots, blueberries, cherries, figs, and varieties of nectarines and peaches.

Add interior color with plants: December means entertainment during the holidays. Add festive colors to indoor spaces with seasonal plants such as poinsettias and blooming chrysanthemums, lilies, antheria, begonias, cyclamen and African violets. These plants are not bothered by poor light. Keep them away from heaters and fireplaces.

Make a compost pile: Create your own compost pile. Add equal parts carbon and nitrogen: leaves and trimmings from shrubs and trees (carbon) and grass clippings, flowers, coffee grounds, and fruit and vegetable scraps (nitrogen). Choose a well-drained location about 3 x 3 centimeters in size. Start with a layer of leaves, followed by green materials and food scraps, a layer of soil, and then more leaves and wood materials. Turn the pile every few weeks to keep it well ventilated and not overheated. Consider putting a tarp over your compost pile when it rains. It will prevent the pile from getting soggy and retain the heat needed by microbes to break down the material. By spring you will have fresh compost for your garden.

Jump on the weeds: One storm can trigger weed growth. Keep weeds under control by placing a layer of mulch over flower and vegetable beds.

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