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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.

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.