Gardening With Tony

Cultivars Of California Native Plants

cultivars
UNITED STATES—Native plants are obviously happy with local climates and soils. Otherwise, they would not be native. They had been living here long before the first landscapes. They survived without irrigation, fertilizer or any maintenance. Regional varieties adapted to regional environmental conditions. Some of such varieties became cultivars that are now familiar. A variety is, more or less, a naturally...

Garden Rotation Shares The Goodies

garden rotation
UNITED STATES—Certain parts of the vegetable garden are ideal for certain types of vegetables. Wire fences are perfect for pole beans to climb. Corn belongs at the northern edge where it will not shade lower plants. Vegetable gardening would be simpler if it were like permanent landscaping. Instead, vegetable plants are seasonal and very consumptive. They prefer fresh resources....

Vegetables From Winter To Summer

vegetables
UNITED STATES—Cool season (or winter) vegetables are now finishing their season. Some continue to produce later than others. Eventually though, they all succumb to warming spring weather. As they do so, they relinquish their space to warm season (or summer) vegetables. Many warm season vegetables want to start growing as soon as possible. Later phases must wait for space...

Last Frost Dates Help Scheduling

last frost
UNITED STATES—Frost is not as much of a concern here as it is in other climates. It is very rare in some of the coastal climates of Southern California. The potential for freeze damage increases farther inland, farther north, and at higher elevations. Regardless, it is generally tolerable locally. Even if it is necessary to protect a few marginal...

Invasive Weeds Waste No Time

invasive
UNITED STATES—With few exceptions, the most aggressively invasive weeds here are exotic. In other words, they are not native. They came from other regions where they were likely compliant participants of their respective ecosystems. At home, where they must compete with other members of their ecosystem, they may not be so aggressively invasive. Ecology is the opposite of a...

Spring Pruning Of Flowering Trees

spring pruning
UNITED STATES—Most major pruning happens while the plants that need it are dormant through winter. That is why it is known as 'dormant pruning.' Such pruning would be so much more disruptive while plants are blooming, fruiting, foliating or growing. Pruning that happens during other seasons is not as aggressive as dormant pruning. Spring pruning, although practical for some...

Coppicing And Pollarding Annoy Arborists

coppicing
UNITED STATES—Coppicing and pollarding are the most extreme of pruning techniques. They may also be among the oldest in some cultures. Yet, arborists are correct to condemn both as improper. Coppicing is the complete removal of all stems and trunks back to a stump. Pollarding is the removal of all stems back to main stems and trunks. Both procedures...

Summer Bulbs After Spring Bulbs

summer bulbs
UNITED STATES—It was easy to bury spring bulbs so discourteously in shallow graves last autumn, prior to concern about summer bulbs. None of them got proper funerals. Perhaps cool season annuals obscured their interment sites. No one needed to know they were there. It seemed like a perfect crime, until now. They are back like the undead. After all,...

Pruning Roses During Winter Dormancy

pruning roses
UNITED STATES—Contrary to what the pleasant weather suggests, it is still winter. Most plants are resisting the temptation to break dormancy prematurely. They must know that the days are still short, regardless of the weather. Most plants are surprisingly proficient with scheduling. Nonetheless, dormant pruning should happen sooner than later. This includes pruning roses. They have been ready for...

Citrus Fruits Ripen Through Winter

citrus fruits
UNITED STATES—Winter seems like an odd time for fruit to ripen. Winter weather is cool enough to inhibit vascular activity in plants. That is why most plants are dormant to some extent through winter. Most familiar fruit trees are deciduous, some defoliate in winter chill. Stone fruits ripened through early summer. Pome fruits ripened through late summer and autumn....
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