Fall is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, bulbs, perennials, grass seed and sod. Plants that are planted in the fall enjoy cooler temperatures and ideal growing conditions that allow roots ample time to get established in the surrounding soil. Plants and trees that provide color and interest in the month of November include camellias, nandinas and pyracanthas.
Do not prune azaleas, rhododendrons and other spring-flowering shrubs at this time, because they have already set their buds for next year’s blooms. If you think these shrubs must be pruned, however, you can do so, but you will sacrifice next spring’s flowers.
Make sure your tender plants are protected from frost. Mulching with compost or straw will help create a protective blanket over the root system. Covering the tops with burlap will greatly help the tenderest plants.
It’s also a good time to clean your garden tools. Wipe metal surfaces with an oily rag to prevent rusting.
• Editor’s Note: In last week’s column about preparing lawns and gardens for the winter months, it should have read that it’s best to water in the early morning hours.
• University of California Certified Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening questions Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at 953-6112. Questions for this column can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.