Tag Archives: winter

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!

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.