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


If we can focus on school in full swing, holiday decorations, parties, and the drone of pumpkin spice, we might forget that October is “fire season.” In truth, fire season is all year round now, but October has been especially concerning. It will still be one of the most challenging months in California: keeping the garden well-hydrated without overwatering is one example. This effort can be tricky to schedule; as the days grow shorter and plants slow their growth, not as much water will be needed. However, the drying winds and hot temperatures can easily desiccate foliage, so “water not overwater” means irrigation adjustments until rains have effectively saturated our soils.
Leaf clean-up continues, but not just on the ground. Some landscape companies offer gutter cleaning during the fall season, which is better to address before your project needs it. Gutters, swimming pools, and water features are essential to keep clean to avoid rotting debris and water imbalances. Check in with your municipality to see if they have yard clean-up days to pick up additional landscape debris that does not fit within your compost bin.
A layer of mulch to keep weeds from germinating is another good practice during this time of year, but the mulch should be well-composted and lightly moist, especially in fire-danger areas. These practices will keep weeds down and contribute nutrients to the soil, effectively fertilizing ornamental plants, typically without the need for supplemental fertilizers. Maintenance such as these practices can support natural soil health, reducing resource costs.

things to do

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

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