Fall is one of the best times of the year to plant in California. The soil is still warm, and the rainy season is coming. The root systems will become established during the fall and winter, and the plants will be off to a fast start in the spring.
Established plants should be fertilized one more time. Apple Harvest If you are on the Central Coast this month, apple harvest is in full swing in See Canyon, between San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. On US 101, take the exit that goes west to Avila Beach. Turn right on San Luis Bay Drive then left on See Canyon Road. There are several apple farms within a few miles. Unless you are adventurous, go back out the way you came in. If you want a back country drive, continue on See Canyon Road back to US 101.
See Canyon is oriented in such a way that the sun goes down very early in the afternoon in the winter. Nights get colder than other areas on the Central Coast, which is just what apples need. Even in the summer, lows are in the 40’s. Most of the orchards sell fresh apples and cider. The Avila Valley Barn on Avila Beach Road also sells fresh produce, baked goods and gifts. If you live on the Central Coast, you can grow apples too. We get more chill here than Southern California. We can grow the low chill varieties, but we can also grow varieties that require more chill hours. Fall Planting Time Transplant seedlings of the cool season vegetables and flowers you sowed last month, or buy six packs from the nursery. Plant ground covers from flats and shrubs and trees from containers.
Cultivate and amend the soil before planting flowers and vegetables. If you are planning extensive landscape planting, wait until next month when the cool and rainy season is closer and water needs are lower. Buy bulbs now while the selection is best, but put tulips, crocus and hyacinths in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks before planting. Daffodils, muscari, freesia, sparaxis and Dutch iris will naturalize easily in our climate. They get along just fine with not much more water than our winter rains provide. Be sure to add a little super- phosphate to the soil below the bulb. Lift and store summer bulbs, including glads and dahlias and, when they finish blooming, tuberous begonias. When selecting new plants for your landscape, keep in mind the ultimate size and shape you need in a plant.
There are compact varieties of most popular shrubs. A shrub that does not outgrow its position in the landscape will need only minimal pruning and will be able to retain its natural shape. This is even more important with trees. Give a tree all the room it needs. Choose small trees for small spaces. Trees should never be “topped” or otherwise cut back to stubs. Fertilize “Feed the root” — Roots grow actively during the fall and winter months, so fertilize lawns, shrubs, trees, ground covers, citrus and deciduous fruit trees. Fruit trees will absorb the nutrients before leaf fall and be ready for rapid growth in the spring. So remember Labor Day almost everything in your garden with a complete fertilizer. Weed Preventers Many pre-emergent herbicides (weed preventers) are effective for six to eight months. If you applied one to your rose or shrub beds in March, it’s time for another application now. You must apply a half inch of water after applying granular weed preventers. You may want to wait until just before the rains for this application. These herbicides will prevent the usual crop of winter weeds. Fall Pruning
Prune any long stems from your hedges and shrubs so new growth will harden before cold weather arrives. Reach well into the plant to cut back wild stems. A compact shape provides the greatest protection from frost. Of course, heavy frosts are rare in USDA Zones 9 and 10, but they do occur. Remember Christmas 1990? Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec to Garden California © 1997 by Jim Clatfelter This page hosted by
Fall is in the air! This is our best month for planting. Soils are still warm and demand for water is going down. Days are shorter and cooler, and there is always a chance of rain in October. Fall is for Planting Plant shrubs and trees, natives, xeriphytes, spring blooming bulbs, perennials, ground covers and cool season annuals and vegetables. Divide crowded perennials like daylilies, callas, yarrow, Shasta daisies. Prune back dead and overgrown stems. Many perennials can be cut nearly to the ground. Some woody perennials look much better when they are cut far back than they do if they are sheared. Prune pine trees by thinning and shaping. You can remove by hand the needles that will fall next spring. Let the tree grow and fill out during the growing season. Lawns Fertilize lawns on Halloween with a complete (NPK) fertilizer. This is the one time of the year when a complete fertilizer is recommended for lawns. Phosphorous and potassium feed the roots over the winter. This is the best month to plant new lawns from seed or sod. Tall fescues are well adapted to our climate. Compared to bluegrass blends, they need less water, resist diseases better, tolerate more shade, require less fertilizer, and stand up better for even watering. Overseed thin cool season lawns with tall fescue or bluegrass and perennial ryegrass blends. Overseed bermuda lawns with these grasses or with annual ryegrass. Pull out dead crabgrass, and patch bare areas with a seed mix that matches the lawn. Top dress with mulch, and keep the seeds moist. Lower your mower blade to 1.5 inches. This will reduce water use too. Aerating your lawn each year at this time will improve penetration of water into the soil and promote new root growth. Last Chance for Apples! You can buy apples all month at See Canyon and other apple growing regions of California, such as Oak Glen, Apple Hill and Julien. Fuji apples are harvested in October. They are grown at See Canyon and in northern Santa Barbara County too. Crabapples too!
Crabapple or Malus is easy to grow and is well adapted to Central and Northern California. There are many varieties. They are valued for their flowers and their fruit. They look great in October. Fall Back Water needs are lower by half this month. Reduce watering times on your automatic timer, and turn it off during a rain. Cut back on watering for deciduous trees, including fruit trees. We set our clocks back to standard time at the end of the month. Don’t forget to set back the clock on your sprinkler timer too. It’s a good time to put in a new battery too. Timers will lose their programming during a power failure if the battery in not fresh. Insects and Diseases and Weeds Watch out for cool weather insects and diseases – aphids, scale insects, rust, black spot, powdery mildew, snails and slugs. Red thread may be a problem in lawns. Weeds like cooler weather too. Mulch will keep most from germinating. Those that do come up will be easy to pull. Spot spray weeds in lawns; use a weed-n-feed only for heavy infestations.