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.

-- JULIE CHAI

TECHNIQUE

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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