We love this time of year, and not just because of the rain we've been getting! From all of us at SFLA, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season full of friends & family, delicious meals & special moments! See you in 2016!
Good news! The stage is set for a strong El Niño event this winter, but experts say it's not likely to erase California’s four-year drought. While there is no single factor that will determine when the drought ends, CLICK HEREfor a high-level look at factors NOAA and CDWR will be paying attention to.
PREPARING FOR WINTER A LANDSCAPE CHECKLIST
READY FOR RAIN?
TURN OFF IRRIGATION During the rainy season, many landscapes thrive on rainwater only. Turn off your irrigation and let your plants drink the rain - a source of water at a PH (6.5) that native plants prefer.
MULCH, MULCH, MULCH A 2-3 inch layer of mulch will help insulate top-soil and roots from cold temperatures, as well as prevent compaction and erosion from hard rains. Tired of raking? Use your leaves as a nutrient restoring and weed suppressing mulch layer, or even start a compost pile!
PRUNE TREES Now is a good time to prune away dead branches that could be dangerous to roofs and windows. Call an arborist to evaluate your trees and make sure they are ready for winter rains.
CLEAN THE GUTTERS AND CHECK SCREENS Make sure your gutter system and screens are free of storm drain system clogging silt and debris.
SLOW, SPREAD & SINK When it comes to storm water runoff, our best efforts are to try and prevent it. Provide ways to slow, spread and sink the flow from hardscapes and downspouts to help water infiltrate on property, reduce potential flooding and erosion, and keep from over-burdening our storm water system.
CAPTURE SYSTEMS Whether storing rainwater for irrigation or using rain barrels to capture and slowly release run-off, make sure your system is emptied of last season's rainwater, cleaned of algae and debris build-up, and ready to fill back up. Use a first flush diverter to keep polluted initial run-off out of your water storage.
LOOK FOR STANDING WATER Take note of where water may be building up. Consider options for moving water away from pathways, patios and structures that could be damaged by water infiltration, water freezing, or pose a slipping hazard.
TAKE A LOOK AROUND With cooler temperatures and seasonal rains, California natives come alive, putting on new growth and stretching their roots. Many even put on a colorful foliage and /or flower display, complimenting the end of the fall color show by many deciduous trees and shrubs. Slow down, breath in the cool, clean air, and enjoy the view!
HELP YOUR LAWN
FERTILIZE Encouraging root growth now will help your lawn bounce back in spring. Spread a thin layer of compost over your lawn, or look for organic fertilizers with phosphorus that break down slowly over time. Consider incorporating a bio-char like Cool Terra, to increase your lawn's water-absorption capacity.
AERATE If rainfall is pooling on your lawn, it's time to aerate compacted soil so that water, air and nutrients can cycle effectively. A garden fork can do the job on a small yard, but for larger lawns try a walk-behind aerator that pulls out 2½-to 3-inch-deep soil plugs, which will break down naturally by spring.
TAKE A BREAK FROM MOWING One last mow for the year will keep your lawn disease resistant. Don't mow too low - 2-3" inches of grass will help prevent soil compaction and sustain root growth.
QUIT YOUR LAWN - SHEET MULCH & "MOW NO MO'!" Considering removing your lawn? Sheet mulching now will give you a great landscape to plant into this spring. It's easy and inexpensive. Check out this guide from Bay Friendly.
THIS MONTH'S NATIVE PLANT HIGHLIGHT
Vitis californica 'Roger's Red' - A California Grape
California grape is a deciduous vine to 30'. Great at covering trellises and pergolas and bringing fruit into the landscape with its clusters of small edible grapes. Pollinators love the flowers. In nature, Vitis californica is found along streams and in seeps throughout much of central and northern California. It prefers regular moisture with adequate drainage and full sun. Roger's Red is a variety with spectacular crimson fall foliage.
SFLA IS OFFERING WATER SURVEYS!
We are happy to help you and your landscape through the drought with intelligent, water-conserving irrigation solutions.
A landscape water survey includes: an inspection of your current irrigation system for efficiency and leaks; a customized irrigation schedule that makes sense for your system, climate, soil and plant types; a personalized water budget for your landscape based on your needs and local municipal requirements; and specialized recommendations for your property and micro-climates.
Not only will smart water management reduce water waste, lower your water bills and save money - it also means healthier, longer lived plants, and a better return on your landscape investment.
Check with your water district for water survey rebates!
QWEL certified professionals have been trained on principals of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance, and irrigation system programming and operation.