Category Archives: Winter Landscaping

How To Make Poinsettias Last Longer

How to Make a Poinsettia Last Longer

Poinsettias come in a wide range of colors. You can find reds, marbles, whites, and even pinks. Whichever color you choose, the care is the same for a long lasting poinsettia.

1) The actual flower of a poinsettia is directly in the center. The leaves, the colored portions, are actually leaves that have colored up. They will start as a green leaf and turn red, pink, or white as it grows and matures. When selecting your poinsettias, pick ones that have the flowers in the center that aren’t open, this way the whole plant will last a lot longer for you. 

2)  Place poinsettias in a sunny area away from drafts – this is very important to keep the plant growing and thriving. You want to maintain the plant in a temperature of 65 – 75 degrees F.

3) Keep a poinsettia moist, but not soaking wet (if you need a refresher on overwatering, check out our blog 4 Signs of Overwatering Plants). If you have a pot cover, make sure to drain the water to avoid plant rot.

4) Poinsettias are very susceptible to carbon monoxide. If your poinsettia is constantly wilted, you might want to check your monitoring systems to make sure you don’t have high levels of carbon monoxide at your property.

5) If you really want them to last longer than 6-8 weeks, consider fertilizing them after the leaves fully bloom. You may get a few more weeks out of them!

In conclusion, give it sun, keep it warm, keep it well-watered (not soaked), and enjoy the holiday season a little bit longer with your Poinsettia this year!

Bay Area CA Winter landscaping and gardening list

Best of List: Winter Landscaping Tips for the Bay Area

Proactive winter gardening and landscaping in the San Jose, Santa Clara, and surrounding Bay Area, California, requires taking care of gardening tasks that are of extreme importance to keep your annuals, perennials, biennials, and lawns, safe from winter damage.

We may have a mediterranean climate that isn’t exactly synonymous with winter plant protection that, for example, our neighbors to the north, midwest or northeast, will have to endure.

However, there are some very important winter landscaping tips for Bay Area residents that will save you a lot of money and headache if you take care of now.

We’ve culled our top 5 winter landscaping tip blogs (and some from our sister company, Arbortek Trees) to get you prepared. Ready, set, go! 

1) Winter landscaping tip #1! Gutters are out of sight out of mind, but neglecting them is very costly. Read this blog to learn more on how to keep that spare holiday change in your pocket.

Clean Gutters Before They Clean Out Your Bank Account

2) Still pruning during frost season? Stop! We uncover when and what to prune during winter. Also, should plants be brought inside during a Bay Area winter? Get all the answers here.

Pruning During Frost Season? Stop!

3) Want beautiful, blooming, and bold roses next year? Winter pruning for roses is a separate set of instructions, and we break them down here:

Pruning 101: Step-By-Step Winter Rosebush Care

4) Brrr….It’s time to winterize trees. Dormant trees still need to be winterized to remain healthy. Have young trees? This blog is for you.

Brrrr…It’s About Time to Winterize Your Trees!

5) Got deadwood? Get it out of your yard before it’s a hazard to others. Determine which deadwood should be removed, and which should remain for important ecosystem development.

Why Removing Deadwood Is Worth Every Penny

That should do it, our “Best of” winter landscaping tips for the Bay Area! Time to get to work! Give Bayscape Landscape a call if you need help getting all of these winter gardening tasks into your busy schedule.

Pruning Rosebushes in Winter

Pruning 101: Step-By-Step Winter Rosebush Care

In the San Jose and surrounding Bay Area, roses never really go dormant, as our climate is mild. However, roses do rest and this is a very similar and vital process to their longevity and health. You may feel a strong urge to do something to rose bushes right after they have stopped blooming. Stop! Don’t do it! It is after they have done their work that they rest and collect starches and sugars and go into dormancy.

In the Bay Area, many debate on whether rose bushes should be pruned in spring or winter. You can try experimenting with both approaches. We’ve seen success both ways, but for this blog, we are going to focus on the most traditional time to prune rose bushes, in winter.

We never know how erratic the weather will be for the next two month up here in Santa Clara County and the surrounding Bay Area. Our advice in summary, once “dormancy” (ahem, actually rest) is safely proven – when you are sure there won’t be another freeze -this is when you need to prune ASAP.

First, Pull out the Correct Rose Pruning Tools

Pruning requires certain equipment to prevent injury to yourself, or the rosebush.
Rose thorns are vicious, particularly when winter has whittled them hard and sharp, so wear gardening gloves. We suggest leather gloves for rose pruning so the thorns can’t poke through the gardening glove. You will need gardening shears, the same you use for cutting and maintenance will do just fine.

Next, Strip the Rose Bush before Pruning

Never skip this step! Strip rose bushes of all foliage two weeks before you prune. You may need to keep an eye on the 10 day forecast to plan this out correctly. Once the leaves are removed, the rose bush is given a signal to rejuvenate the foliage process.

Pruning Rose Bushes in Bay AreaThe first sign bushes are bouncing back is when you spot swollen eyes where new growth is to appear – at the joining place of leaf formations and stems. When rosebushes are resting (or dormant) the eyes are not visible, but when they begin to grow (accelerated by stripping the rose bush) they will turn red and swell. These are your incision spots for making cuts in the right places.

The vitality and strength of rose wood can be determined by examining the pith (interior wood) within the bark. Green or milky white is healthy. Brown or blackened wood is dead or very old and will not produce blooming roses. Fresh wood is also much easier to cut that deadwood. You’ll learn quickly the difference by the pressure on your shears, so be extra careful!

Remove all twiggy growth, unhealthy wood or deadwood, and weak or broken tall growth (if the tall growth is twiggy and waves in the breeze, it’s time for it to go). Split bark is also a sign of bark to be removed at this time.

Next,  Decide how Severely to Prune the Rosebush.

Depending on where you live, the space you have, and your gardening goals for this rosebush; this will guide you on how severe to prune your rose bushes. Light pruning requires a minimum of cutting, removing only twiggy or deadwood, and leaves the rosebush tall. Light pruning will result in short-stemmed blooms on a large rosebush. You may favor moderate pruning if you have garden display in mind your are attempting to design. Moderate pruning leaves 6 to 10, 1 1/2’ to 3 1/2’ canes per bush, depending upon its growth habits. Usually half the length of each cane is removed. Severe pruning leaves only three to four canes, sometimes less than 1’ tall.

Pruning height will vary by variety. Bushes don’t grow the same; they can not be pruned identically. Some grow tall, and no pruning technique you apply is going to make a difference! In fact, if you try to manipulate some of the natural growth patterns, they may spend their time during growing season to get back to the height at which they are most happy for blooming. Until they get there, they may not bloom at all (stubborn lil’ rosebushes!).

Now, Begin Cutting the Rosebush

Once you’ve pruned the rosebush to a height that suits you, look carefully for dormant eyes, which will be readily apparent to you if you’ve stripped bushes of foliage two weeks before pruning (see step #1!). Make cuts a 1/4″ above the eyes that point outward from the center of the bush (the direction in which you want new growth to develop). Angles formed by cuts are ideally 45 degrees, with the downward slope toward the rosebush’s center.

Lastly, Critique Your Pruning Techniques and Heed our Advice

Expert advice to remember: You can always take growth out, but you can never graft it back onto the rosebush. Well-cared-for rose bushes may last for more than 50 years, and the bud union will become big and gnarled. Remember that new canes are produced every year and are considered young only for the first two years, then middle-aged for one year. After that, they are old. How did the rosebushes make it through winter? Did they bloom as expected in spring? Note your techniques year after year, the results of your efforts, review them each fall or winter, and you’ll be an expert rose gardener in no time!

How To Mulch Flower Beds

Amazing Benefits of Mulching Flower Beds

You’re not just mulching a flower bed for aesthetics. It may make the flower beds look pretty, but mulching has great benefits!

Stop pulling weeds

Ever wonder why a bare patch of soil loves to grow weeds? That’s just mother nature protecting her soil from blowing or washing away. Mulching is a chore that will save you time and headache from pulling weeds. It keeps weeds down, mainly by blocking out light they need to grow.

Mulching can help control erosion

Mulching conserves soil moisture by reducing evaporation, and helps prevent erosion caused by rain and wind. Bare soil often gets a crust on it that prevents rain from penetrating easily. Also, the bare soil can lose about 5 times as much sediment as soils covered with mulch.

Mulch moderates soil temperatures

Mulch keeps soil cooler in summer and helps to reduce the risk of damage to plant roots in winter.

Mulch keeps top soil loose and airy

Organic material adds all-important humus, the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms. Great for plants!

How to Lay Mulch in a Flower Bed

  • If re-mulching a bed, remove some of the old mulch. Sometimes mulch has been added to the beds 3 or 4 times. Take out some of the mulch that has built up over time.
  • Layer mulch 2″ to 4″ deep over bare soil around your plants. Don’t put it right on top of perennials and keep it from direct contact with the bark of trees and shrubs, as excess moisture right up against the bark can cause rot or disease.
  • When you get close to an edge, such as pavement, stone or tiles, be sure to thin out the mulch so the presentation is even.
  • What season to lay mulch? Preferably early spring, before hot weather comes and while your annuals & perennials are still small enough to work around.

Quick Tip! If you have a few spare 1 or 2 gallon containers, put them over the top of your plants first. Then, shovel the mulch material right onto your bed without worrying about covering them or dirtying leaves! Lastly, don’t forget to mulch around your trees. Learn more about the benefits of tree mulch here.

Frost Protection Tips for San Jose

Pruning During Frost Season? Stop!

It’s officially winter and many of us are off from work, kicking back, relaxing with some egg nog and sleeping off the holiday meals. But for us gardeners, there is one very important task you can’t skip over during your “off” time.

 

We are talking about FROST.

 

A cold hard frost can be devastating to gardens and trees. While some plants can come back and leaf out after the frost season, others may not be as lucky.

Before we get into how to protect plants from frost, let’s learn how to tell if frost is on the way:
 
1. Still air.
2. No cloud cover. 
3. Low humidity. 
4. Low temperatures (45 degrees or less by 10pm).

 

If you notice frost warning signs, do the following to protect plants against frost damage:

 

Before the frost hits, water plants, but don’t water succulents (a succulent stores water in its tissues and can develop ice crystals, which will damage the plant). Water only enough so soil around the plant is moist. Moist soil holds and releases more heat than dry soil, which creates a more humid environment around the plant.

Move potted or container plants near the walls of your home, where they’ll benefit from radiated heat. If you place in the garage, place near the shared wall to your heated home. You can also move to a closed-in porch, anywhere there may be some heat to spare!

If the plant can not be moved, use frost cloth or sheets. Prop up the fabric in a tent-like structure, so the fabric does not come in contact with the plant. In the morning, remove the cover and allow the plant to breathe and, if it’s sunny, soak up some rays. If frost is predicted for the next night, cover them again and repeat until no more frost (if you have outdoor plants you are afraid of losing, take some cuttings now and root them indoors).

 

Frost has damaged my plants. How do I treat the plants?

 

Leave them be. Plants should unthaw naturally and gradually to avoid rupturing plant cells in the leaf tissue. Pruning away the damage can encourage the plant to produce new growth, which will be more frost tender than the older growth. You may also accidentally prune healthy growth, mistaken for frost damaged growth. We suggest you do not prune frost sensitive plants until danger of frost has past.

Need more advice? We have been maintaining landscape throughout San Jose and Santa Clara County for over 35 years and are standing by to assist you! Feel free to contact Bayscape Landscape Management.

 

Is it a Garden Snail or Slug?

Is it a Garden Snail? Or is it a Garden Slug?

Our January climate brings cool, wet weather which provides perfect conditions for slugs and snails to attack our gardens! Snails and slugs feed on the leaves of many plants. They also eat ripening fruits and vegetables (they aren’t picky, slugs and snails like the leaves and fruits of a wide range of crops such as lettuce, basil, broccoli, and strawberries).

If slugs are abundant one year, it does not mean they will be as common the following season; the relative number of slugs depends on how moist the growing conditions are, and if you employ preventative measures to control slugs and snails. Before we get to how to treat for snails and slugs, first we need to learn how to identify a snail, how to identify a slug, and how to tell if you have snails and slugs in your garden!

 

Chances are, if you have snails in your garden, it is the common garden snail…

 

…also called the brown garden snail. The common garden snail can be identified by its brown coiled shell and gray body. Shells on their backs and are 1 to 1-1/2 inches long. 

Slugs are best described as snails without shells. They are a type of mollusk, related to clams and oysters. Slugs are soft bodied, generally brownish or grayish, with eye stalks. They vary in size from 1/8 to 2 inches long (longer when stretched out). It’s cousin – the banana slug – may be up to 4 to 6 inches long

Most slugs and snails are dark or light gray, tan, green, or black; some have darker spots or patterns. Slugs and snails leave a slime (mucus) trail that they secrete as they move. Eggs are clear, oval, or round, and are laid in jelly-like masses.

 

How to find snails and slugs in the garden:

 

 To find slugs or snails, look after dark, before dawn, or on cloudy days. Check underneath plants, bottoms of boards and rocks, and on low growing foliage, especially in shady areas.
Look for colorless eggs, about the size of a BB, in clusters under dirt clods or on the underside of large leaves near the crown of plants. Egg laying occurs during warm months, especially in the fall.

 

How to identify slug and snail damage to plants:

 

Slug damage is apparent in irregularly shaped chewed out spots on leaves. Slugs are especially fond of lush or succulent plants like basil, beans, cabbage, citrus trees, dahlias, hostas, lettuce, and strawberries. Watch for the silvery trail they leave behind as they move. If you’re not sure what’s causing damage to your plants, this secretion is a telltale sign of slug or snail activity! Read our next article on how to organically control and treat snails and slugs.

Treating Slugs in the Garden

How To Organically Control Snails and Slugs in the Garden

A typical San Jose January brings cool, wet weather which provides perfect conditions for slugs and snails to attack your gardens – and they are especially damaging in shady gardens. The severity of the damage from snails and slugs could really depend on the type of slug or snail that you are dealing with. Be sure to review our previous article, how to identify a slug versus a snail.

Slugs are especially numerous during rainy seasons and in well-irrigated gardens. If slugs are abundant one year, it does not mean they will be as common the following season; the relative number of slugs depends on how moist the growing conditions are, and if you employ preventative measures to control slugs and snails. In this article, you will learn several effective methods to get rid of snails and slugs. We list many organic ways to get rid of slugs and snails and preventative measures to help control snails and slugs in the garden.

 

Organic treatments to control – or get rid of – slugs and snails:

 

  • Rake your garden to remove leaves, plant debris and slug eggs. Also remove boards, rocks, or anything that provides them shelter (they love hiding out in dark, shady places).
  • Do not place mulch any thicker than three inches, and avoid large wood chips. You get the benefits of mulching for your plants and trees, but also minimize a desired environment for slugs and snails.
  • – Introduce beneficial insects and pests to the garden. There are many types of beneficial pests that feed on slugs such as beetles, toads, turtles, shrews, starlings and other birds. Be sure to minimize the use of chemical pesticides, to maximize the effect of natural pests to the garden. You can reduce chemicals by using baits and avoiding unnecessary pesticides applications. Don’t worry, these natural pests won’t touch the valuable crops and plants.
  • – Gritty substances, such as crushed eggshells, diatomaceous earth, and sand make effective snail repellents, as they cut the snails and injure them. Sprinkle around plants that the garden snails seem to prefer, and grit will deter and eventually kill these pests (diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of sea organisms. Read more about it at diatomaceous.org).
  • – Certain plants deter slugs and snails. An effective way to deter the slugs and snails from roaming your garden is to grow these plants around and in-between your valuable crops and plants. Plants to consider include: sage, yucca, hydrangeas, lavender, rosemary, and mint. Plants that deter slugs in shaded areas include astilbe, dicentra, vinca, and viola. Plants resistant to slugs that grow in partial shade include phlox, mentha, and campanula.
  • – a vinegar solution is an effective organic home remedy to get rid of slugs and snails. This works with a snail trap method. Set up a wooden board at night so the slugs and snails gather. The next morning, check under (and on) board for any unwanted pests and spray with vinegar solution (don’t get any of the solution on the plants themselves).
  • – Who knew?! Slugs LOVE grapefruits. Cut a grapefruit in halves and discard the pulp (you can save this and enjoy later). Once all the insides are removed, place the grapefruit peels upside down in your garden and leave them overnight. The next morning, you should have hopefully captured some slugs and snails. 

 

There are chemical treatments for garden snails and slugs. A variety of slug and snail baits and poisons are available from a commercial provider, but many of them are highly toxic to humans and pets. For a safer solution, look for baits made of iron phosphate. Scatter baits evenly in slug prone areas in the early evening after watering.  We suggest  to call a professional, like Bayscape Landscape Management, to assist and advise with placing and using chemical treatments for snails and slugs.

 

Bayscapes Summer Bulb Planting Guide

There’s A Big Pay-off to Planting Summer Bulbs Now

It’s the most wonderful time, of the year! As we hang mistletoe, place our perfectly bright red poinsettias around the hearth, and fill the home with the sweet aroma of holiday dishes, we are also thinking of another important holiday tradition  – planting summer bulbs!

Wait? What? Planting summer bulbs?!

Gardeners across the US baffle at the fact that over here on the California Coast, and even up through parts of Northeast, NOW is the time to plant those bulbs. See, our ground (rarely) doesn’t freeze! You may see morning frost on your car windows, but throw on some gloves and head to the garden this afternoon. Take a few minutes to get those bulbs planted and enjoy a beautiful gift of dynamic and healthy blooms in just a few short months. Your summer garden will thank you!

 

This wouldn’t be a complete article without a  list of summer bulbs to plant in the San Jose area, so here it goes:

 

Agapanthus
Amaryllis
Begonia
Calla Lily
Dahlia
Begonia
Poppies
Peruvian Daffodil
Persian Buttercup
Jacobean Lily

 

And what  bulb arrangement will you follow? Here’s our favorite DIY design ideas for summer bulbs:

 

  • Plant bulbs in clusters. Bulbs give the biggest impact of color when in one concentrated area. Bulb stalks can be thin, so when planted alone, they won’t have as much aesthetic effect. 
  • Try “stacking” bulbs. Choose a small and large bulb that flower during the same period. Plant small bulbs in a layer right on top of large bulbs. This will create a layer effect when the bloom. Like Bayscape’s seasonal color program, you could try staggering the bloom time by planting mid- and late-season bloomers together, creating a display that blooms in succession, for a whole season of amazing color to your landscape!

 

So, throw on your scarf, head out to the gardening or home improvement store, then grab your gardening spade. There are many reasons that summer bulbs make the world a more colorful, happier place to be (we even wrote a blog about the versatility and benefits of bulbs). As you are spreading the holiday cheer this time of year, spread some cheer into your garden and receive the gift of beautiful blooms next spring! Visit our website to learn more about how Bayscape Landscape can help you with your seasonal bulb color arrangements.

Cleaning Gutters Bayscape San Jose

Clean Gutters Before They Clean Out Your Bank Account

Gutters. They are out of sight, and out of mind. Unlike major aesthetic parts of your home – a large outdoor fire pit, for example – gutters are a part of the house that most people don’t spend much time thinking about or looking at.

The problem is that, much like a healthy heart, things that you can’t see or just don’t look at still need to be maintained so that they can keep functioning. According to the Insurance Information Institute, ice, snow and wind can have devastating consequences and millions of dollars in insured losses are due to frozen gutters. San Jose (and the rest of Santa Clara County) is not exempt from damage to landscapes or structures from clogged gutters!

The long and short of it is – gutters need to heave a clear path in order for rain and snow to work their way through the system, and fallen leaves and other debris can cause substantial blockage in that system.

Let’s take a closer look at all the reasons rain gutters can be a threat to your home’s well-being.

 

1. Avoid unnecessary damages and costs

 

The first and most obvious issue with gutters filled with leaves, sticks, twigs, and other debris is simply a weight problem. When the debris gets wet, it absorbs the rain water like a sponge and becomes extremely heavy. This burden puts stress on the gutters and their hanging brackets, and can pull the gutters off the house. Gutters are costly enough to replace, not to mention any windows and landscaping they smash as they come crashing down.

Overflowing water from the gutters can also damage the paint and siding on a home, and create water marks down the side of the house. That pales in comparison with when the water get inside of a wall. Wet wood rots and loses its integrity, and this can go unseen behind the siding. Let’s not forget mold and mildew! Ew!

Consumer Reports says, “Check the entire gutter system seasonally for proper pitch and for clogs, corrosion, broken fasteners, and separation between connections and where gutters meet the fascia board,” the group advises.

 

2. Eliminate pests

 

Clogged gutters = standing water. Standing water = an unlimited invite to unwanted pests – such as mosquitos. Mosquitos love to use standing water as places to lay their eggs. Which can lead to bigger problems we face today: West Nile Virus and Zika Virus. The Centers for Disease control recommends that homeowners make sure to clean out their rain gutters to help prevent spread of disease. Even here in San Jose, we need to be diligent.

 

3. Water Conservation is STILL important, and your gutters play a part

 

Sometimes fall weather is still hot, and when our San Jose community may be looking at parched creek beds and brown or nonexistent grass, it’s easy to think rain gutters are not important right now. But this is actually the perfect time to inspect and clean them, or even better, have it done professionally.

Don’t fall for the “it’s bone dry” line of thinking – get ahead of the weather and save yourself a huge amount of time, money, and effort when those gutters are needed. If you are ever in doubt or need a hand on your property to help maintain the landscape, never hesitate to contact Bayscape Landscape Management! We service San Jose and surrounding cities!

Santa Clara County Holiday Events

The Ultimate Holiday Event Guide for Santa Clara County, CA

Even the Grinch would have a hard time staying cold-hearted this holiday season with the plethora of spirit-lifting events around Santa Clara County this month! So bundle up in that snowflake sweater and get ready for the warm fuzzies, which are sure to abound when you check out one of these holiday-themed events this month!

December 2015

Enjoy a “Fantasy of Lights” all month long, with this fantastic ode to all things twinkly. Prepaid tickets required nightly, at Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos. More information available at parkhere.org or by calling (408) 355-2201.

December 8, 2015

You’ve seen the mean Mr. Grinch, but have you seen his story in puppet form? Check out this holiday classic with a twist at the Northside Library as the Northside Puppet Company presents “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”

December 10-14, 2015

There are nativities, and then there is “Experience the Birth” – a 30-minute live performance retelling the birth of Jesus. Featuring “music, drama, lights, and exotic animals,” the journey through Bethlehem will take viewers from Joseph and Mary’s search for an inn to the three wise men searching for the King. Five performance nightly; free admission. Santa Clara Baptist Church, 3111 Benton Street, Santa Clara, website: http://bethlehemsc.com

December 12-13, 2015

The Santa Clara Players’ “The Christmas Mouse” will delve into the world of Mrs. Robinson and a Christmas Mouse, who – in the midst of searching for food for his family – ruins the woman’s prized gingerbread house. Life lessons abound in this feel-good holiday story! Dec. 12 at 3 and 7 p.m., Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. Free admission. 1505 Warburton Avenue, Santa Clara (408) 248-7993

December 13 

The annual Chanukah lighting at the Pacific Commons Shopping Center in Fremont is back for the third year, and this free event promises to be the best yet! Starting at 5 p.m., families can enjoy music, tasty foods (like jelly donuts, matzoh ball soup) and hot drinks, fun kid-friendly activities, free raffle prizes, and a giant menorah lighting. 5-6:30 p.m. Free admission. Pacific Commons Shopping Center, 43951 Boscell Rd., Freemont (510) 770-9798

December 13 and 20

The historical ranch house at Joseph D. Grant Park is festively decorated and open for holiday tours! Commune with nature, take a walk through history, and enjoy a free beverage and snack. Call (408) 274-6121 for further details.