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Prepare Your Garden for a Wet Winter

November 11, 2015
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GardenMeteorologists have recently stated that a Super El Nino is expected to hit all up and down the west coast come December and January. An El Nino typically means rain, and lots of it. This is wonderful news in terms of our drought situation, but there will be some negative impacts, especially since we are in such a long standing drought. If the coming El Nino plays out as it is expected to, we could see a lot of water ruining many of yards and gardens. But there are some great preventive measures home owners can take now to help for when the rains come.

The first concern to think of is how your garden and yard will go from hard packed and sometimes cracked dirt to a mud bath. This new mud can bring new weeds with it. All it takes is a small amount of rain for many weed seeds to germinate, and before you know it you have weed central outside your door. To help cut back on the amount of mud and weeds, a good thick layer of mulch is the best way to go. Wood chips are recommended as a great mulch material, though if you really want to keep weeds and mud out, a three layer approach of cardboard, newspaper or burlap and then woodchips can be worth the extra effort. If you have a lawn to prepare for winter this is also a perfect time to add in drought resistant plants among the mulch as a lawn replacement. If you do this now in the fall, by spring you will have a well-established garden. One other thing to consider is if you live along a hillside. If you don’t have many plants established where your property slopes, you could end up facing a mudslide in your home if a lot of rain comes our way. Plant shrubs and bushes now and it could help keep the mud at bay.

It is important to take your trees into consideration as well. We have let our trees go dry to save water, which is a good thing considering the drought, but the trees are suffering for it. If you have pine trees or redwoods, or any tree you truly love, now is the time to deep water them at least once every couple of weeks until the rain comes in. Doing so now will help keep the roots strong and established and as more water comes from rain, the ground and tree roots will be ready to absorb it more readily instead of having much of it wash away. If you have any sick or dead trees, it is recommended that you call in an arborist to help with the removal of any dead branches or trees before winter sets in. This could save you big money from possible insurance issues should a tree or large limb fall onto the roof or a neighbor’s home.

For those that have converted their yards and gardens with succulents and drought resistant plants, you will need to consider how an El Nino winter may affect them. On their own, most arid climate plants can deal with an excess of water, provided the water can drain away quickly. Check around your plants and add in a mix of perlite and small rocks at the base, mixing into the soil where you can. If possible or if you are planting any new plants this fall, plant them at the top of small mounds, the slopes will help drain water away. Watch for areas that puddle up as well. Too much of this and the eventual overflow of water could cover arid plants in too much silt. When the rain does come, if you see any of your drier climate plants getting mushy or doing poorly with the wet, you can cover them or even dig them up and keep them in pots under cover for the season.

Pruning is another essential step in preparing your plants for the wet of winter. Start by trimming back any dead limbs or branches on your perennial plants. You want to do this now in the fall before they go dormant for the winter. If you see the majority of the plant has died, you may be better off to uproot it and replace with another. Check with local resources or gardening tips on line about the types of plants you have and how pruning should be done. Some plants love it when you prune back to the ground, others do not. Plan ahead and you will help you plants make it through the winter.

Whether El Nino brings us a lot of rain or not, taking some steps to prepare your garden and yard for the winter will help you live with more ease and keep your yard looking great. When you are ready to sell or buy a home, me and my team are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820 or by email at realestate@cecily.com.

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