Magazine article Sunset

December: Your Northern California Guide

Magazine article Sunset

December: Your Northern California Guide

Article excerpt

To-do list

* Adjust automatic watering systems to run less often, and turn them off when it rains.

* Fill empty garden spaces with cool-season annuals such as pansies, primroses, stock, and violas.

* If a heavy freeze is predicted, cover citrus trees with burlap draped over stakes, making sure that fabric doesn't touch foliage or fruit, SUNSET CLIMATE ZONES 7-9, 14-17.

* Look for cabbage worms on broccoli and cabbage. Spray with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), an organic control.

* To smother overwintering insect eggs and pests, such as aphids, mites, and scales, spray deciduous flowering and fruit trees as well as roses with dormant oil after leaves have fallen, zones 7-9, 14-17.

* Make compost by layering "brown" material such as dry leaves from fall cleanup with "green" stuff such as veggie scraps.



Cut branches for decor

Trimmings from trees and shrubs like evergreen magnolia, fir, holly, pine, and redwood--straight from your own garden--are ideal to use in holiday wreaths and swags. When cutting, follow these pruning principles to keep plants looking good.

1 To force upward growth, use sharp shears to cut just beyond an upward-growing branch.

2 To foster spreading growth, cut beyond a downward-growing branch. …

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