Landscape and garden plants are more than
an aesthetic addition to your property. Researchers
have found that a well-landscaped yard increases home
value by an average of 7.5%, and speeds resale by 5 to
6 weeks. Landscape investments can be recovered
between 100 - 200% in increased home value.
SMUD has quantified the cooling effects of shade trees, which can cut attic temperatures by up to
40 degrees and conserve energy used to cool homes
and buildings. In fact, shade trees are such an
effective means of conserving energy that SMUD actually
pays for programs to give trees to their customers in
the Sacramento area!
Other research has found that an average
front lawn has the cooling effect of 10 tons of air
conditioning, and that a single mature tree can remove 26 lbs.
of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.
While gardeners are most active in the
spring, fall is actually the ideal time of year for garden
and landscape work in most of California. The mild
weather and warm soil promote rapid root growth of
plants, setting the stage for the vigorous top growth that
follows in the spring.
Many flowers can be started in October
from seed or young starts purchased at your local nursery.
The table accompanying this article lists many of the
annual and perennial flowers you can choose from now.
Some of these will flower this winter, while others will
grow now and flower next spring and summer.
Annuals are plants which complete a lifecycle
in one growing season, giving a long season of color
before they are replaced. Sweet peas are an example.
Perennials will grow for several years, blooming again at the
same time each yearthough often for a shorter period
than annuals. Chrysanthemums are a familiar example.
Combining annual and perennial flowers gives the
most color impact over the longest season.
Be sure to shop early for spring-blooming
flower bulbs such as Daffodils, Freesias, Tulips, and more.
Many types spread freely in the garden, requiring
little care after planting, and bloom for years.
Cooler nights are bringing the end of the summer vegetable garden, and it is time to start
putting in winter vegetables. Our mild winters allow us to
grow edible plants all year. See the table for examples.
Many winter greens take very well to pots, so
a mix of salad vegetables can even be available to
those with limited gardening space. Leaf lettuces,
Oriental greens, leafy herbs, and gourmet greens like
radicchio and arugula make a good mix in a tub or barrel.
Fall is an especially important time for lawn care.
Lawns should be fed in October with any good
quality lawn fertilizer, and again in November with a
"winter-type" lawn fertilizer. Ask us for advice!
October through mid-November is the ideal time to reseed a thin lawn or install a new one.
Grass seed germinates quickly in the mild fall temperatures,
and both seed and sod make fast root growth.
Fall is also the very best time of the year
for planting shrubs, shade trees, evergreens, and
ground covers. Native and drought-tolerant plants
especially prefer fall planting. Again, the strong root growth in
fall gives the plants a head start compared with those
planted in the spring. The only exceptions would be
subtropical plants such as Citrus and Bougainvillea which might
be damaged in a frost.
The heat of August takes its toll on our plants
as well as on us! Cooler fall weather means it's time to
plant new flowers and vegetables for the winter, rejuvenate
our lawns, put in landscape trees and shrubs, trim back
the perennial border, and plan ahead for a beautiful,
productive garden next spring and summer.