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a gardener's (landscaper's/designer's) work is never done

Over the years, I have fielded countless questions regarding maintenance...what to do, when, and why.  These questions come from homeowners and their gardeners, commercial property owners and landscapers, and many others having trouble with their houseplants.  This section attempts to address some of the more significant concerns by promoting participation in gardening, virtually or amongst the plants.

This living document will continue to be edited with more content as time allows.  To find information, click on a month and more information will be provided.

Tend to Indoor Plants
Prune Roses
Explore Bare-Root Trees and Shrubs
Mail Order Dormant Species
Harvest Citrus and Winter Crops, such as Brassicas
Test Irrigation Lines for Leaks or Poor Performance
Care for Winter Annuals, such as Cyclamens
Slippery Pavement? Remove Undesirable Moss and Algae
Clean Bird Feeders and Tools
Remove Old Hellebore Leaves As New Ones Emerge


Snow or no snow, California's gardens and landscapes still need considerable care.

Prune Trees and Shrubs Before Spring Buds Emerge
Seek Out and Plant Native Species
Consider David Austin Roses Over Hybrid Teas
Divide Cymbidiums
Plant Bareroot Fruits and Veggies, such as Strawberries and Asparagus
Prune Winter Dormant Perennials


For no-snow areas, February is an opportunity for proactive weeding and planting.

Consider Helleborus, Camellias, and Rhododendrons for Winter Bloom
Consider a Herb Garden, and for Early Start Veggies and Flowers, Use a Cold Frame
Install or Reinvigorate Compost or Mulch
Continue to Repair, Replace, Upgrade, and Test Irrigation Where Needed
Start a Compost Bin to Keep Waste Onsite
Tune Up Lawnmowers by Sharpening Blades and Make Sure of Optimal Operation
Consider Adding Rain Sensors or a Weather Station to a Smart Irrigation System
Prepare Winter Dormant Veggie Planters with Fresh Soil and Compost
Lift and Divide Perennials While They are Still Dormant
Consider Moving Evergreens if Needed to Balance a Design
Deadhead Daffodils and Other Flowering Bulbs, but Allow the Foliage to Remain Attached to the Bulb
Prune Back Finished Early Blooming Shrubs Like Forsythia and Chaenomeles
Let "Good Weeds" Flower and Even Reseed (Project Specific)
Continue to Manage Weeds
Check for Slugs and Snails Looking for Tender New Plant Shoots


In March, many California landscapes shift from winter to spring in rapid succession.

Fertilize Citrus
Selectively Prune Species that Benefit from Compact Growth
Plant Dahlias When All Danger of Frost is Over
Add Summer Veggies to the Kitchen Garden
There is Still Some Time to Plant Natives
Prune Hardy Fuchsia, Buddleja, and Other Shrubs When All Danger of Frost is Over
Stake Perennials that Tend Toward Brittleness or Floppiness, such as Delphiniums or Peonies


Rewards of spring are immeasurable in California's gardens and landscapes.

Check for Birds Nests Before Pruning Hedges


The rush of color and change in the garden continues through May.

Continue Deadheading Spent Flowers to Promote More Blooms
Check for Insect Infestations that Could Cause Damage Over the Summer
Plant Summer Annuals to Replace Spring or Winter Annuals


A dynamic shift from spring to summer

Irrigation Schedules Should Run Early Mornings Not Late Afternoons or During the Day
Raise Lawnmower Blades for the Warm Season
Protect Sun-sensitive Plants, Such as Some Tropicals and Succulents
Deadhead Spent Flowers on Roses, Annuals and Perennials to Promote Seasonal Blooming
Watch for Poison Oak if Your Project is in the Suburban to Rural Margin
Trim Conifers and Other Evergreens to Maintain Form, such as Hedges and Topiaries
Seek Out "Best Management Practices" to Address Pest Infestations and Diseases
Target Hand Watering Missed by Supplemental Irrigation
Consider Using Grey Water for Supplemental Irrigation
Prune to Shape Deciduous Magnolias
Prune Early Summer Flowering Shrubs, such as Philadelphus and Weigela
Continue to Remove Unwanted Weeds
Remove Fruit Tree Suckers
See Any Monarchs?  Support Their Migrations by Planting Native (Not Tropical) Milkweeds
Deep Water Trees (Especially Non-Irrigated, Non-Native Species)
Cut Back Geraniums
Tie Up, Train, or Prune to Shape Growing Vines


July is not a month-long holiday in the California garden!

Continue Deadheading Pruning Profusive and Aggressive Vines and Climbers, such as Roses & Grapes
Keep Houseplants Well Hydrated
Deep Water In-Ground Rhododendrons, Camellias, and Non-Irrigated Trees
Selectively Retain Rose Hips for Birds or Cut Ornament
Check Fruit Trees if Branches Need Support Due to Fruit Development
Maintain Water Levels in Birdbaths and Water Features
Lightly Trim Conifer Hedges or Retain Growth for Winter Holiday Ornament


Before the day at the beach, remember plants and trees might need extra water, too.

Preorder for Winter/Spring Delivery Mail Order Plants, Including Bareroot Trees & Shrubs
Chill Tulip, Daffodil, Hyacinth Bulbs Until Winter Planting
Prepare for "Fire Season" by Keep Debris From Cluttering New Structures
Are Fall-Color Trees Already Turning?  It Might be a Sign of Drought Conditions


Moisture is still critical for arid regions. Sufficient rain is still months away.

Ensure Landscape is Well Hydrated Without Overwatering
Clean Up Debris Collecting in Corners Due to Wind
Resist Cutting Back Herbaceous Plants Unless There is a Fire Concern
After First Rains, Check Soil Moisture Content to Consider Irrigation Reductions
Allow Desirable Plants to Reseed, such as California Poppies


I hate to be a downer, but....

Consider Frost Protection for Tender Plants
Refrigerate Tulips for Winter Planting
Remove Drainage Dishes or Raise Pots to Avoid Sitting in Standing Water
Protect Ladybirds (Ladybugs) and Other Beneficial Insects
Ensure Climbing Vines are Secure Against Winter Winds 
Store Dahlias (Pending Regional Location)
Determine Which Leaf Debris Should be Removed While Leaving Some for Winter Insect Shelters
Install New Turf that Will Benefit from Winter Rains
Consider Planting Shrubs with Berries to Benefit Wildlife


Holidays and fall color at its peak

Consider Having a Certified Arborist Inspect Your Trees Before Winter Storms (Every 3-5 Years)
Keep Birdbaths and Water Features Clean and Free of Debris and Algae


Holidays galore, but some maintenance is still needed

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