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October Newsletter

I went for my first hike since it got hot and fire danger precluded me from enjoying one of my favorite pastimes. My hike took me to a relatively remote section of Chantry flats above the Sturtevant Falls. The area is beautiful with the trees turning colors as the season changes, the waterfalls, steams, pools with plant life surrounding them are breathtaking. The boulders, cliffs, rock walls have some areas that are nondescript and other areas of striking beauty providing lessons on how to simulate the best parts in nature. The recent rains, sunny skies, fresh morning air and re-emerging ferns growing on the slopes under the oak trees make you feel you are in paradise; right here in our own back yard.

Fall is a wonderful time of year; cooler but not cold weather, crisp air, fall color on many trees and of course Halloween. One of the benefits of living in Southern California is that we get to plant all year round though fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. Native plants should be planted in Fall or Winter.

The Gardeners have some extra work raking up all those leaves but the rewards are a brighter sunnier garden during the cooler months. It is a good time to touch up or re-seed that hard to grow shady lawn area.

If you are considering installing a new swimming pool before next summer I recommend that you start the process now. The planning, bidding and permit process can take considerable time.

Believe it or not we waste more water in the fall and winter than we do in the summer. In the summer the plants actually need a lot of water; in most situations, during fall and winter we only need to water established plants and grass once a week if we have no rain.

Mark Meahl (President Garden View Inc.)

Infinity Pools

An infinity edge pool (also named negative edge, zero edge, disappearing edge or vanishing edge pool) is a swimming pool which produces a visual effect of water extending to the horizon, vanishing, or extending to "infinity".

Simply stated an "infinity pool" is constructed by building a level overflow edge at water level on the pool and constructing a basin to catch the overflowing water and pumping it back to the pool.

Infinity pools require extensive architectural design. Since they are usually built in precarious locations (cliffs, mountain tops, beach front, etc.), sound structural engineering is paramount. The dramatic effect can dramatically change the whole property.

October Gardening Tips

Fall is Planting time; Planting in fall gets the roots established (they grow more in fall and winter) so in spring the plants are prepared for the surge of growth. Planting in fall saves water. This is the time to transplant bulbs and split perennials.

However, it's not a good time to fertilize deciduous fruit trees because it can encourage growth at the wrong time of year. Though many magazines and newspapers recommend fertilizing now which may be acceptable in other climate zones; it is not a good idea in our climate.

It is a good time to dig up and split overgrown perennials that grow in clumps such as Clivia (left), Iris, Agapanthus, Gingers, Daylilies, Bird of Paradise, etc.

Cut to 4", fertilize and put in snail bait.

BIRD OF PARADISE - Strelitzia reginae (left):
remove stems after flowers have faded. With some care you can split and plant new clumps.

IVY GERANIUM (right) responds well to some trimming this month. Feed with a balanced fertilizer. Continue to progressively prune on all types of Geranium. Cut back Geranium sanguin if you have not done it yet.

Set out soon, calendulas, pansies, Iceland poppies, and primroses could be blooming for the holidays. Also look for these in cell-packs or 4 inch pots; bedding begonias, candytuft, Chrysanthemum multicaule, C. paludosum, delphinium, dianthus, foxglove, lobelia, penstemon, phlox, snapdragon, stock, pansy and viola. Along the coast, include calceolaria, cineraria, nemesia, and schizanthus.

SANTA BARBARA DAISY - Erigeron karvinskianus (right):
Cut back and fertilize it after it finishes blooming. Garden View Crews usually do this twice a year. This is a great low growing creeping ground cover that is water wise.

COOL SEASON LAWNS (like Marathon or other hybrid fescues) can be cut shorter now. In the winter we usually fertilize cool season lawns with a complete fertilizer that includes some calcium nitrate for a quick green up since it takes so long in the winter for fertilizer to green up the grass. Though there are companies that fertilize lawns on a schedule at Garden View we think it is more appropriate to fertilize on an "as needed" basis when the grass is telling us it needs it.

Warm season lawns (Bermuda, St Augustine, and Kikuya) will stay green longer into the winter if fertilized in October.

Overseeding of Bermuda can take place this month and next. We recommend a perennial rye grass for this because it germinates quickly and doesn't get slime mold like annual Rye grass does. Annual Rye grass uses more water; it is also much more difficult to mow.

St Augustine may survive overseeding though we do not recommend it. In shade the St Augustine may not grow back in spring. If overseeding is done dethatching of the St Augustine should be done first.

Garden View Crews will be overseeding this month and next on most Fescue (Marathon) lawns that have common Bermuda invading them. The crews usually seed the section that has the infestation only. It is very difficult to eliminate Bermuda infestations. There are chemicals that minimally help controlling it but once it is in your lawn the cost/ benefit in time, money and effort is usually not worth the energy to try and eliminate it. Sometimes we will spray the infested area with Round Up prior to reseeding. This helps keep the Bermuda in check but inevitably the Bermuda comes back anyways. In smaller infestations good horticultural practices to keep it in check is usually the best answer.

Impatiens are generally treated as warm season annuals in Southern California. Trimming Impatiens down to 3"-4" above the ground while the weather is still warm may help impatiens survive or look better during winter months. Impatiens will often survive through the winter in protected areas but even if they survive they usually become leggy and unattractive, showing a lot of stem and very little leaf and flower. The cold weather usually kills the layer of leaf on top of the already leggy plant, this exposes just bare stems. By trimming the impatiens before the cold winter hits the plant sends out a new flush of leaves that are more resistant to the cold and have more layers, so if one layer of leaves gets damaged from frost the next layer still looks acceptable. The trimming may make the impatiens unattractive for a short time but the longer life of the plant should make this short inconvenience worthwhile.

DO NOT FERTILIZE OR PRUNE (any more than necessary) frost-tender plants like bougainvillea, citrus, hibiscus, natal plum (right), and thevetia unless the plants look pale or yellowish. Doing so now would stimulate new growth too close to winter.

Train a central leader when angel's trumpet is young if you would like to grow it in tree form.

The Brugmansia Growers International advises: "The best time to trim your plant is in the fall. Always keep at least 6-10 nodes on the branches above the Y for flowers the following year. It is the branches that are above the Y which will produce next year's flowers."

You don't really need to prune angel's trumpet at all unless it is getting in the way.

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Water-Wise Tips
Planting with California Natives

It is the time of year to start planting California Native Plants. Most California Natives should be planted in Fall and Winter. Planting at other times is made complicated by the fact that native plants, like most plants, needs a fair amount of water to get established. Watering in the warmer months is not healthy for most native plants.

Most of us choose native plants because they conserve on water. Though most native plants do conserve water some are thirsty. So pick and place the right plants wisely. Native plants should be planted together and segregated from plants that need more water or summer water. Grouping plants of similar water needs together and providing isolated irrigation to them is one of the essentials of "Water Wise 101."

In the Dirt
with Julie Meahl

Julie Meahl Give a big sigh of relief! We have survived another long hot summer. We should cool down and get some rain.

Have you ever wondered, "why do some trees change their leaves to so many beautiful colors in the fall?" Well I'll keep it simple... Leaves change color in response to the amount of sunlight they receive. As summer turns to fall, day length shortens more and more until the winter. This causes the plant to begin its dormancy. The valuable resources found in the green leafy tissue of leaves begins to move into storage, and natural pigments become exposed. The oranges, reds, purples, and yellows are always in the leaf, and are only exposed when fall hits.

In the fall, colors fill the landscape, and give you a sense of seasonal change. Perhaps you think of football, Halloween, and pumpkins... Or you can smell wood burning in fireplaces, turkey and apple pies in the oven. No matter how you see or smell it, the season has changed. If you are looking for the fall color and sense of seasonal change in your landscape, I have a few suggestions.

At Garden View Nursery we have:
Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) - A deciduous tree that grows at a rmoderate rate to 30-50 feet tall with an equal spread. It has good fall color for our mild climate. Leaves turn orange, red, and yellow. It is a good street, lawn, or patio tree.

Autumn Fantasy Maple (Acer x freemanii) - This is a fairly fast growing tree to 50 feet that has a dense oval shape with beautiful red fall color. This would be a great background tree and with deep water does not have invasive roots.

American Sweet Gum Rotundiloba (Liquidambar styraciflua) - This deciduous tree does not have the prickley seedpods. It grows fast to 60 feet and spreads to 20-25 feet. Fall color is yellow, red, burgundy, and pruple. These trees look great planted in groups. You should use root guards when planting.

Western Cottonwood (Populus freemontii) - A fast growing deciduous tree that grows 40-60 feet tall and 30 feet wide. These leaves turn bright lemon yellow and shimmer in the wind during fall. Definitely use root guards when planting.

Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba) - A deciduous tree that grows slowly to 40 feet. This tree is attractive in any season. In fall the light green leaves turn gold and hang on for a while then drop to make a golden carpet. At Garden View Nursery we have the "Autumn Gold" variety. These usually being male trees that do not produce smelly fruit.

PersimmonTree - This deciduous Japanese tree gives you fruit for fresh eating and baking. It grows 25-30 feet tall and as wide. This is one of the best ornamental fruit trees and it can also be used as a small shade tree. In fall the leaves turn yellow, orange, and red. After the leaves drop the orange fruit stays on the tree until they are picked. If not harvested, of course, they will drop.

In September's newsletter I talked about the Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia) tree being a wonderful landscape tree. This deciduous tree also has brilliant fall color.

Thank you Mother Nature! Now you're in the dirt!
(Julie Meahl is the Retail Manager and Vice President of Garden View, Inc.)

Blake's Landscape Maintenance Blog

BlakeMaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, I am so fed up with these water restrictions! Aside from giving me something to write about on this stupid "blog" it just makes my life far more difficult. I have got our crews maximizing their sprinklers' efficiency, programming their timers as effectively as possible and have them mowing at taller heights with mulching decks. This all goes without mention to the moisture sensors and weather based controllers that we have installed and now have to shut off because of these specific watering days.

Then we make it to the moment we have all been waiting for, fall! Yes! Finally getting out of all this hot weather and torment and... SLAM!! Now we have to cut watering back to once per week coming up Nov. 1st. Isn't that rich?? I am pretty sure I got sun burned on Christmas day two years ago tanning pool side...

Well, all bitching aside Garden View brings the watering schedule down to once per week on most properties for most of the winter anyway and all of the crews probably call me white boy for good reason. BUT there are a couple of exceptions where teamwork between you and your landscaper can be very helpful.

One area where once weekly watering simply won't cut it is in annual flower beds, particularly while the newly planted flowers are establishing. This leaves us with two options. The first is to have a willing homeowner take responsibility of hand watering the flowers on occasion during the legal hours. Once the flowers are established this assistance should only be required once or twice a week in conjunction with the one day we are allowed to run the sprinklers (Saturday in most areas). This can prove to be very helpful on some stress spots in the lawns as well.

The other idea is to start shying away from annual color and start planting some perennials in those annual beds. There are some great plants out there (some of our favorites are Geranium Sanguinium and Lantana; check 'em out!) that give a beautiful bloom for extended periods of time. But don't expect the year round vibrant color your annual beds provide.

Oh yeah, and you can always just live on the edge and cheat. I will program your timer but I'm not paying your ticket!

(Blake Meahl is the Operations Manager for Garden View's Maintenance Division.)

If you have any suggestions on articles you would like to see in our newsletter or suggestions for improvement please let us know.
-Tyler Meahl (Technical Manager and Special Projects Coordinator for Garden View Inc.)
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