Tuesday, March 26, 2013

5 Fantastic Small Trees for San Diego

Here are 5 wonderful trees for small spaces in San Diego.  These trees are great for patio areas and are usually smaller than 20 feet tall and wide.

Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’
Forest Pansy Redbud
A deciduous tree with pink flowers in the spring and foliage that changes from dark purple to green to yellow by the fall.

Lagerstroemia indica ‘Tuscarora’
Tuscarora Crape Myrtle
Another deciduous tree with bring pink flowers in the summer.  This drought tolerant tree loves the heat.

Arbutus unedo ‘Marina
Strawberry Tree
Edible fruit make this evergreen tree a winner with the birds.  The variety ‘Marina’ has pink flowers.

Prunus cerasifera ‘Purpurea’
Purple Leaf Plum Tree
A very tough tree for area with bad soil.  This deciduous tree thrives everywhere in San Diego County.
Hymensporum flavum
Sweetshade Tree
This tree is evergreen with nice summer flowers. It will slowly reach 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Photo - Raised Patio made from Country Manor Keystone Walls

This raised patio was constructed using Country Manor
Keystone retaining walls and topped with Stone Top Pavers.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in La Jolla

Photo - Dry Stream Bed

Dry stream beds are a great way to combine a
focal point in a Xeriscape garden with a
way to drain water away from the house.
This dry stream bed connects with a drain in the back
yard so that on rainy days the water in the backyard
flows down the stream bed and toward the street.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Lakeside

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Photo - Raised Vegetable Bed

This raised bed was made for Pavestone Keystone blocks,
available at Home Depot.  Raising a vegetable garden
allows for easier access to the plants as well as improving drainage.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Carlsbad

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Photo - Costco Weed Block

This month at Costco, you can buy an 880 square foot
roll of heavy duty weed block (aka landscape fabric) for
about $45.  That is half the price of most nurseries.
This is a good material to use on flat garden areas for preventing weeds.
Water and plant food will still pass through the material but the
weeds are suffocated.  After laying the weed block, cover with mulch.
Photo by Doug Kalal

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gardening Tip - How to plant a slope

After you have cleared the slope of the old plant material, the next step is to upgrade the irrigation system.  Drip irrigation is a good method for irrigating a slope that will have a relatively few amount of plants (1 per 20 sq ft).  The drawback to drip irrigation is that in some rural areas, the local critters (gophers, squirrels, raccoons) love to chew up the lines in search of water.  So I actually prefer using rotors for irrigating a slope.  MP Rotators by Hunter are an outstanding product for controlling water on a slope.  This product can be found at both Ewing Irrigation and Hydroscapes here in San Diego.
      Following the irrigation tune-up (or overhaul if needed), you next need to amend the soil.  Gro-Power and composted top soil are usually the best materials to use for fixing up the soil (although every slope is different).  See the earlier article in March about fixing soils.
     After you have put down your soil amendment, you need to lay jute netting up and down the slope (see photo).  Jute netting is a bio-degradable material (sometime referred to as erosion cloth) that serves 3 purposes and is critical to the success of slope planting.  Jute netting not only holds the soil amendments in place but after planting it holds the mulch in place around the new plants.  Finally jute netting helps to keep water from just running wildly down the slope.   One large roll usually measures 4’ x 225’ (900 sq ft).  Always lay the netting up and down the slope, never side to side and use the pins to secure it in place.
      Once the netting is in place, it’s time to plant the plants.  On each plant it is important to build a little berm on the downhill side of the plant.  This helps to hold the water in place around the new plant’s root ball.  Also when you place the plant in the ground don’t forget the Best-Pak (the slow release fertilizer I have mentioned in earlier articles).  Place the Best-Pak on the uphill side of the root ball then soak each plant with a hose.
     Next add some mulch and a pre-emergent herbicide like Preen to the slope to control the weeds.  Spread at least 2 inches of mulch over the entire slope (the depth of your thumb).  1 cubic yard of mulch will cover 150 sq ft feet to the depth of your thumb.
      Finally, carefully water the new plants again in order to wash the mulch and Preen off of the foliage.  Continue to soak each new plant over the next few weeks to help them get established.  The exact watering schedule depends on the plants and the time of year you have planted your slope.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Photo - Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)

This charming little native of Texas and Mexico is great
for both drought tolerant and hummingbird gardens.
Autumn Sage can reach 3 feet wide x 2 feet tall,
and comes in pink, red, white and salmon.
Photo by Doug Kalal, taken at a client's garden in Tierrasanta